20 October 2014

19 October 2014

The Book of Life

I wanted to see this film because Mexico. The plot isn't the best, but that was good because my Spanish is only up to a simple plot.  I also wanted to watch it in Spanish with a Mexican audience even though it's aimed at an American audience. So we went last night and I really liked it.

You read and hear so much that's negative about Mexico, but this is a beautiful, colorful, and creative look at one of the many positive parts of the country and I hope lots of Americans see it.


The Pilgrimage

Sunday morning was dark (obviously) and rainy (unfortunately) before dawn, so we skipped going back to the Cathedral (also because a million people, literally) and drove to about the halfway point of the pilgrimage and watched everyone streaming by when we were a little more awake.  We happened to be near the church along the route where the car for the Virgin stops briefly.

A lot of these photos from the Romeria are of danzas. Some groups walk, some dance the entire way, some carry drums along, others roll them, some wear very elaborate clothing.  A ethnomusicologist friend of ours told us after last year's Romeria that these groups are mestizos using dancing created after the Spanish conquest that were specifically designed to be part of Catholic worship in Mexico.

Most of the route is along Camacho which is a divided road.  People walked along one side the danzas and other groups were on the other side, with the Virgin following them at the end.  When we were watching near the Basilica last year, we only saw the danzas coming in.  The walkers went in a different way.

A huge number of people participate in this.  We had people streaming by completely filling a 6-lane highway, for two hours.  Then there are all the people watching, the city employees from both Guadalajara and Zapopan, volunteers helping to make everything run smoothly, people who work for the churches, and vendors galore.  I can easily believe that 1 million people are involved in some way (I've seen crazy high estimates of 2-3 million people, but that seems unbelievable.  But one million I can believe).

I think we lucked out in how we saw this even both years.  I liked going to the Basilica and being on that end very much, and I'd probably recommend that option for people going just once, but I loved going to the Cathedral the night before when it wasn't so crowded (and you have to get there really early and hope you find parking).  Watching along the route was good too because I felt like we were part of it a little more.

Also, I liked the man handing out oranges to everyone.








18 October 2014

16 October 2014

Romeria 2014

It's probably going to take me a week to get through these photos.

Our Romeria watching started on Saturday night when we went down to the Cathedral at around 9 PM.  There were lots of people but it wasn't insanely crowded.  The line to get in the Cathedral was long so we didn't try to go in, but we talked to people and took photos.  Lots of people were planning on walking in the morning, and some told us they were going to walk during the night when it wasn't so crowded.

Also, lots of food.  Including steamed vegetables.  I've never seen steamed vegetables as street food at something like this.









15 October 2014

Majd

The current Lego design.



14 October 2014

We drive by a wall that just got some new art.  Here's a photo of the painting in progress and one of the finished art.





Romeria Logistics

The Romeria or Fiesta of the Virgin of Zapopan is on October 12 and goes from the Cathedral in Guadalajara to the Basilica of Zapopan.  A long procession goes ahead of the image of the Virgin of Zapopan and a huge number of people in the area participate.  It seems that the conventional wisdom among expats is to just avoid the area because of the crowds and traffic, but I think the Romeria is well worth going to.  Here are a few ideas for attending.  See here for photos and more explanations.

The main pilgrimage begins early on the morning of October 12.  We never were committed enough to get up in time to see the beginning of the procession at the Cathedral, but you'd need to get there around 5 AM to see everything.  This would be one of the most crowded times. Instead, we went to the Cathedral on the night of the 11th to see all the preparations and to talk to people who were participating in any way.  I wanted to see what was going on there and the night before worked out really well.  There were still a lot of people, but it was possible to find park and to see what was going on.

A huge number of people walk from the Cathedral to the Basilica.  They go north on Alcade, then northwest on Camacho.  The dancers and other groups are on one side of the divided road and most of the regular walkers are on the other side.  We arrived at the intersection with Castillo at about 8 AM when the procession had been going for a while, but it's so long that there was still plenty to see.  I liked watching along the route this year. It was easy to find parking.

The church of San Ignacio de Loyola is along the route and is apparently the only place where the car carrying the image stops for a few minutes, so that can be an interesting place to watch from, but it's obviously more crowded.

The first people begin arriving at the Basilica around 9ish.  We watched from there last year, near the arch.  We didn't see the pilgrims from there because they had split off before, but we were right at the end where the danzas finished.  We also could see the image when it arrived.  We arrived at 8:30 last year and that was plenty early for the Basilica.  So unless you want to get up really early, I'd recommend either watching somewhere along the route or going to the Basilica.

After the image arrives, the area around the Basilica is full of people and they do Mass outdoors.  There are many, many people around the Basilica all day, and it's busy the next day too with people coming to see the image and danzas everywhere.  We went last night (October 13), the day after, and there were still long lines to get into the Basilica and plenty to see.  My husband thought it was one of the best times to see the danzas.

Last year we went on the morning of the 14th when it was a little quieter and easier to get into the Basilica.  They were beginning to take down the barricades and things were settling down.

This truly is a huge and wonderful event.  If you're in Guadalajara in mid-October, be sure to see some of it.

13 October 2014

Tequila Volcano

We climbed the Tequila volcano again a couple of weeks ago. This time we went up the other side.

If you're climbing the spine, take the right fork when the road splits. It's easier to get there from that side.  If you're going up to see the view and enjoy the volcano, take the left fork.  It's significantly prettier on that side.

We rounded up a group of people to go with us this time.  One couple carried a baby up and not everyone was in the best shape, but no one had trouble.  Our six-year-old was fine. I wouldn't want to take toddlers or preschoolers up though, or at least not more than one.





10 October 2014

Opinions

I disagree with this article about Ebola and I agree with Obama.  We do know how to fight Ebola.  The question is when the wealthy countries of the world will finally get scared enough to commit the necessary resources to make it possible to fight it. It's too bad we missed the opportunity to stop it when it was much less of a problem in western Africa and that we're getting distracted by possible cases outside Africa that won't cause major problems.

English and French are the only world languages.  Mandarin, Spanish, Russian, and Arabic are major regional languages and are only useful in small parts of the world.  You can talk to lots of people in those areas, but once you get out of them, they're not so useful.

Also, Mandarin, Russian, and Arabic are extremely unlikely to become world languages because few people outside their regions learn them as second languages and they don't use the Latin alphabet which is a major disadvantage.  Learn any or all of these if you want to, but don't try to tell me that anything besides English and, to a lesser extent, French are world languages.

I do care about the numbering of conference sessions, and no, I didn't just notice this recently (and I get tired of the argument that people are only getting upset because someone points out the problem). Now that we have a comparable meeting for women, I especially can't understand why it isn't counted as a session when the official meeting for men is.

I've been reading about Saudi, of course.  There's a lot to say there, but here's one thing I need to say.  Some people have suggested that women and men should have separate floors around the Ka'aba because of the potential for sexual assault.  Leaving aside the giant problem of women having to worry about sexual assault during the Hajj, I am very irritated by the argument that women should be placed further from the Ka'aba for their protection.  If men are the ones behaving badly enough to make separation necessary, then let the women have the preferred floors.  If this this not acceptable, then do something to fix the men's behavior.  The worst solution to the problem is to isolate the women who have done nothing wrong.

Too often it seems that we end up isolating and demeaning in the name of protection.
It was a lovely, rainy night last weekend at the Basilica.


I am fully aware this picture looks crooked, but I slapped a grid on it and it isn't.