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Saturday, July 31, 2021

Centro Magno

Aloha Everyone,

Centro Magno is one of the 5 modern shopping malls in Guadalajara located close to our hotel. In front of the Centro Magno is an enormous mammoth replica and Arcos Vallarta Guadalajara, a neo-classical archway built in 1942 to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Guadalajara is located nearby.

Perhaps it’s the location or its small size, with an exception of Starbucks on the ground floor, we estimated that only 60% of businesses were in operation. The 3rd floor food court, movie theaters were mostly closed. It was rather eerie for me to try to get my walking done while J.J. sat at Starbucks. Many areas of the mall were dimly lit and with so few people walking, I shortened my exercise time and suggested to J.J. for us to have an early lunch at Chili’s.

Big advantages of US franchise chains such as Olive Garden, Chili’s and Starbucks is that they generally follow the US standards of cleanliness including toilets for their patrons.

We are finding that more and more restaurants here do not have printed menus but instead one has to order using a QR code scanner.  Now even dining out is a lesson in mobile technology.

Aloha -- Cathi

Friday, July 30, 2021

Great Art Explained in Fifteen Minutes

Aloha Everyone,

James Payne, the creator of a YouTube program describes himself as, “A curator, galleriest and a passionate art lover. I am on a mission to demystify the art world and discover the stories behind the world’s greatest paintings and sculptures.” From Vincent Van Gogh’s The Starry Night to Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, Payne shares and explains his thoughts behind these great works of art.

As a student of art, I have studied under a number of successful and some not so successful devoted teachers. Their critic of these great art have influenced how I look at these paintings and sculptures.

Aloha -- Cathi

Thursday, July 29, 2021

Frieda Kahlo, Mexican Painter

Aloha Everyone,

Frieda Kahlo has been described by art historians and art lovers as the most well known Mexican female painter. Disabled at an early age, Kahlo’s physical and emotional disabilities greatly influenced her work.  

Married twice to Diego Rivera, a fellow Mexican artist 20 years her senior, their tumultuous love hate relationship also had influenced her work as did her constant battle with physical pain.  

Among 140-200 paintings Kahlo produced, 55 were self portrait. The Two Frieda chosen as the representative of Kahlo’ work in James Payne’s Great Art Explained in Fifteen Minutes is a powerful statement of the cultural symbol for Mexican nationalism and feminism.

Additional note of interest is that the 500 peso note currently in circulation features Frieda Kahlo and Diego Rivera back to back.

Aloha -- Cathi

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Challenges of 2020 Tokyo Olympic

Aloha Everyone,

  • Delayed by a year due to COVID-19 

  • No spectators allowed

  • August is the hottest and most humid month in Tokyo, competitions held outdoors affect athlete’s performance 

  • Developing weather patterns such as approaching typhoon, recent earthquakes in Alaska 

  • Controversy regarding athlete’s uniforms and exhibiting one’s body

  • Daily testing for COVID-19       

  •  Financial losses incurred by Japan

Ancient Olympic Games originated in Olympia, Greece during a religious festival honoring Zeus. Tradition of holding events every 4 years between August and September are still being followed. Olympic Games as a venue for international politics, to bring fame and potential financial gains to individuals and to their motherlands are nothing new. However this year, in the 2020 Tokyo Olympic, individual participants are using social media with their own following to assert their independence, to let the world hear their voices.

Aloha -- Cathi

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Happy Ending of Our Lavandería Search

Aloha Everyone,

We got our clean laundry back! After all our walking in search of a lavandería, one of the front desk staff who has been extremely helpful, offered to have our clothes picked up yesterday afternoon and had them returned this evening.

As an interesting footnote, J.J. and I are finding various ways of folding our socks. For this lavandería, each pairs are tightly pulled and stuffed into one side so when you pull them apart, they both are right side out. We were charged 200 pesos or about $10 inclusive of pick up and delivery.

To show our gratitude for her extra help, J.J. and I went back to the La Gran Plaza Fashion Mall and purchased a box of designer chocolates. The store clerk  showed no interest in making a sale. She only perked up when we agreed to pay $30 for her to prepare a gift box of chocolates, about half a kilo or 1.1 pounds.

Aloha -- Cathi

Monday, July 26, 2021

Plaza del Sol, Our Next Accommodation

Aloha Everyone,

This morning we took the Tapatio Bus Tour. Our main objective was to get to Plaza del Sol, one of the largest shopping malls in Zapopan, Jalisco. This is where the Guadalajara Expo Convention Center is located. The area has newer business class accommodations. J.J. and I identified a couple of possibilities.

Lunch at Sanborns where we remember food to be delicious, large portions at reasonable prices, but slow service were all true.  

Visiting both the Intercontinental and Staybridge, we selected Staybridge Suites because this hotel includes free self service laundry. The hotel also has a kitchenette in their rooms.

The two us decided not to subjugate ourselves to a long return bus ride. Instead, we took an air conditioned Uber arranged by our would-be hotel and returned to the Centro Historico in luxury.

Today’s outing inclusive of The Tapatio Bus Tour, lunch at Sanborns, Uber ride totaled 795 pesos or $39.75. A quick shower and change of clothes before we went out for a relaxing dinner at a small boutique hotel. This was an unexpected find. J.J. loved his seafood pasta and I thoroughly enjoyed my green salad. We will be returning there before we leave the Centro Historico area.

Aloha -- Cathi

Sunday, July 25, 2021

Artificially Creating Rainstorms

Aloha Everyone,

Climate change is a buzz phrase for politicians, scientists, researchers, students, journalists and for anyone who is looking to get media attention.

Is the earth getting catastrophically warm and eventually becomes inhabitable for humans? Strings of devastating fires this summer left Eastern Canada and the Pacific Northwest as well as sections of California unprepared and unprotected to endure the heat.

Here is an interesting article about scientists in the United Arab Emirates artificially making rain.

J.J. and I have first hand experiences on how mountain ranges surrounding Quito, Cuenca in Ecuador as well as here in Guadalajara are naturally creating rainfall.

Nearly every late afternoon in Guadalajara we see lightning and hear approaching thunderstorms. People are accustomed to bright sunny days suddenly turn into a rainy day. Citizens here also appreciate blessings from this enviable weather where productions of tropical fruits are plentiful and for most places, water is plentiful.

J.J. and I also recall one form of artificial rainfall in Singapore we saw in December 2019 where the two of us visited the Cloud Mountains in the Garden by the Sea complex.

These are extremely costly projects but remain hopeful that new methods of creating rainstorms would help mitigate worldwide drought conditions.

Aloha -- Cathi

Saturday, July 24, 2021

In Search of Lavandería

Aloha Everyone,

Our first attempt to look for a lavandería was three days ago. Recommendation and directions were from the tourism office.

The walk was a lot further than it was shown on our Google map. We stopped three times to ask for directions. When J.J. and I finally reached our destination, a woman peeked through an iron gate. After finding out that we were looking for her lavandería, she was nice and asked us to give her our clothes. We don’t usually take our clothes with us until we check out the premise. Never mind the building was falling apart but when we saw piles of clothes to be washed were strewn on the cement floor we rejected this lavandería!

When outside of our hotel, we have no access to WiFi. This morning following my handwritten direction, the two of us began our second search.

It started as a pleasant walk eventually leading us through a middle class neighborhood. Occasionally, we were treated to quick glances at beautiful gardens behind massive gates.

Finally, after receiving 5 different directions from helpful locals, we found Lavandería Lavatop. Two staff members who were there were friendly and helpful. J.J. and I told them that we will phone next week to have them pick up our clothes and deliver them back to our hotel the following day. We are trusting that this will happen as stated in their website advertisement.

Too much walking in the sun (76 degrees Fahrenheit), J.J. and I took a taxi back to the hotel to relax and replenish our energy for a late lunch.

Aloha -- Cathi

Friday, July 23, 2021

Looking for More Interesting Food

Aloha Everyone,

After a week in Guadalajara, J.J. and I are looking for more specialty food such as Greek, Mediterranean, Japanese, Thai, Vietnamese or Indian. There are many establishments claiming Chinese cuisine, but they are far from Chinese. Literally rice with soy sauce served with quasi Mexican dishes are being passed as Chinese :-/.

Taxi drivers here do not use their meters and prices range widely. If we thought drivers in Ecuador were rough, here they speed on bumpy roads trying to beat signal lights while evading pedestrians. Life is truly adventurous.

Today J.J. and I went to Galerías. One of the hotel staff mentioned this being nicer than La Gran Plaza Fashion Mall. We found this complex to be smaller, older and the building layout was confusing. It certainly was not a “walking friendly” place. The best we found was Italianni and we ended up more or less repeating the menu from our previous dining at Italianni at Le Gran Plaza.  

I changed our UberEats address to Guadalajara. Thus our restaurant search continues.

Aloha -- Cathi

Thursday, July 22, 2021

Week 1: Diverse Dining Experiences

Aloha Everyone, 

Our dining experience for Week 1 in Guadalajara are more mostly self-explanatory. A large mug of Chai I ordered as my lunch contained about a cup of dried fruits soaked in chilled water. My stomach experienced a mild revolution.

However, our lunch today in a bar/restaurant was the winner. The restaurant was empty except for a couple on the balcony whom we first saw from street level.

J.J. had one of his preferred dishes of shrimps. I asked for avocado appetizer. The food was okay but what was memorable was the singer/guitarist. To say he couldn’t play or sing is truly an understatement. The man was so unmusical that we felt really bad for him. He kept on serenading us and the two of us tried to finish our meals quickly.

Perhaps he couldn’t make it as a street musician. To my suggestion to giving him 10 pesos, J.J. upped it to 20. When when I approached to give him the money, the guitarist smiled and thanked me profusely. Unfortunately, this story has a sad ending. A person who appeared to be his manager quickly snatched the money even before the guitarist could slip it in his pocket.

Aloha -- Cathi

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

The University of Guadalajara Neighborhood

Aloha Everyone,

The University of Guadalajara neighborhood reminds us of many of university towns J.J. and I’ve visited. One finds infectious youthful energy. Shops, restaurants and eateries catering to the student population. They offer inexpensive but satisfying meals.

Compared to nearby squares where pedestrians respect social distancing, here people took up sidewalks and streets are not at all mindful of COVID-19 protocol. I quickly walked up and down to capture photos before JJ and I returned to one of our favorite restaurants in the area.

I finished eating all except pineapples on my fruits salad plate. J.J.’s pizza, he told me, was Italian inspired with Mexican taco sauce & toppings. He said it was still enjoyable.

Aloha -- Cathi