Monday, April 28, 2008

Adios, Mexico!

Its my last day in Mexico after a truly amazing 3 months in the region.
I have been in Guadalajara since Sunday. Its a great city, although after Mexico City I have to say its hard to find any city that lives up to it. Cabelleros (cowboys) dominate here. I dont think I have seen so many mostaches, denim and cowboy hats and boots in a long time.
The highlight of my time in Guadalajara has to be my trip to Tequila yesterday, a small, VERY Mexican town, where siestas and fiestas still reign, and if youre not wearing a cowboy hat you are clearly not cool.
I took a local bus there, and saw a Canadian man that I had met a few days ago on the bus from San Miguel. He was heading to Tequila with a French Canadian woman, so I tagged along. I expected the town to be very touristy (i.e. drunk Gringos with giant sombreros and ponchos roaming the streets), but suprisingly we were the only foreigners there. Even the tour of the tequila farm was dominated by Mexicans.
The tour was well worth it- we took a bus about 10 minutes out of the town to a really beautiful ranch. It was surrounded by giant mango trees and a blue haze of agave (the cactus used to produce tequila), and all the buildings were made of solid stone or cement. The tequila making process is quite simple- basically at the centre of the agave is a baseball sized pineapple-looking ball, which are baked in giant ovens to extract the juice which is then fermented with yeast and aged in oak barrels.
Tequila is like champagne in that to be able to call the drink tequila it must be produced in Tequila (or a select few other municipalities in the region), and undergo strict criteria.
Of course we also had a tasting session, and were able to try gold, silver, reposado (aged) and aƱejo (very aged) tequilas. Tequila is similar to whiskey, and the good stuff is sipped slowly. I have to say it will be difficult to go back to the bad and expensive Jose Cuervo now!
After another tasting at the ranches beautiful restaurant, we headed back to the town to catch a glimpse of the fiesta, the 478th anniversary of the Saint of Tequila. Everyone in the town came out to celebrate this bizarre day.
Here is the promised video from Oaxaca City-
Tommorrow Im flying to Tijuana, and then taking a bus straight to San Diego to see Angela again.
Hasta la vista!

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