From Here to There and Everywhere

I time traveled. It was 15 years since I visited my family in Jalisco, Mexico. Then one day my cousin invited us to her daughter’s quinceañera. For those who are not familiar with Mexican culture, a quinceañera is a party and religious ceremony that is a right of passage for a young woman. Quince, meaning 15.

My sister, mother and I decided to grab a cheap flight and go for the weekend. It was a warm reunion. I cried when I saw my eldest female cousin. We were super close when we were young. And all those memories overwhelmed us. We talked about my quince, our love of Gloria Trevi, the sleepovers with her friends where we watched horror movies like Chucky and Nightmare on Elm Street. As for my cousin’s daughter’s quince, it was an over-the-top event that seemed more suitable for a wedding than a girl turning 15. But who am I to judge? Mexicans love to party, drink and dance until  the early hours of the morning.

The next morning, my sister and I jumped on a bus from El Salto (where my most of my family resides) to the Guadalajara city center. The bus ride, by the way, was pretty entertaining. We paid like four pesos and it took us about an hour on the rickety bus, squeezed between older women coming from church and a man who was hiding live chickens in a bag.

The first stop was for human fuel, of course. And we dashed into a small, but clean, dive that served the best tortas ahogadas, which is a Mexican hoagie. Jalisco, specifically Guadalajara, is famous for their tortas, and usually you can’t go wrong anywhere you decide to try. After the tortas, we walked to the cathedral, stopping occasionally to watch some street performers.

After checking out the cathedral we saw a long line at the Teatro Degollado. Turns out the Mexican tenor Javier Camarena was going to perform for the first time at the historic theater. My sister and I were not properly dressed for such an occasion (we were wearing cut off shorts, summer shirts and trainers, much to to the horror of our mother after we told her about our adventure) but we decided to go anyway because it was truly a once in a lifetime moment. We grew up with a deep appreciation for opera and classical music thanks to our dad who blasted his vinyls every Saturday morning. It was a spectacular performance in a spectacular venue.

There are truly so many beautiful places to go in Mexico. Is there danger? Yes, there can be. But if you are careful and go out during the day, you’ll be okay.

All photos taken by Liz Casanova and are subject to copyright protection.

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