Friday, August 04, 2006

Furniture Shopping Trip! Deedrie and I met up with Jan, Charlee and Terry, in Guadalajara for a crazy shopping trip. We arrived and were met by Luis, our personal driver and translator for the 5 days. Luis works exclusively for Casa de las Flores clients, and my favorite place B&B place to stay in Tlaquepaque. The B&B is an oasis escape among the dusty streets, stores and galleries. You can get more information at www.casadelasflores.com or email them at info@casadelasflores.com Ask for the “Friends of Nellie Rate” when booking.

Our arrival on Sunday night was an unexpected treat as we were able to partake in the town square festivities. All the families were out strolling, eating snacks from the street vendors and browsing through all the kiosks set up. We had a “corn cocktail” which was a cup of grilled white corn, shaved into a cup mixed with cheese, lime, salt. There were fresh made potato chips in bags topped with a variety of picantes and spices. We were especially intrigued with the french fries topped with fried wieners, and covered with hot sauce and mustard. This is a heart attack waiting to happen, or “poutine Mexican style”. There was sugar cane, roasted peanuts, fresh fruit, corn dogs, and of course any number of taco and tamale stands. A must are the hot Churros with sugar and carmel ... at 5 pesos each, there's no excuse to just eat one! We had a feast and were enthralled to be part of the community for about 10 pesos each. This is living!!

Even though we are staying in the middle of the city, the nights are long. The roosters were leading the jamboree all night long, and the dogs, goats and pigs all chimed in. What a racket! The myth that roosters start doing what roosters do when the sun comes up is a true urban legend. Let me assure you these guys started at 2:30 am and didn’t finish until 8 am. Oh dear god, its good I didn’t have a rifle.

Our shopping days would start with delicious home made breakfasts and then we would head out to furniture factories to become completely overwhelmed. There is very little on display, and you are only limited by your imagination. This can be very challenging coming from a society where decisions are bundled and marketed in glossing photos and set prices. Any of the artisans can make “anything you want, in whatever you want, in the color and size your want… for the best price”. There are no apples to compare to oranges, and after the first day, we were wishing for a Walmart. Ingrid from Touch of History was with us, and helped us adjust and work through the strenuous process of elimination to realize our homes were only 1400 sq feet and the beautiful pieces we were looking at were for humongous mansions. Here’s Ingrid between Deedrie and Jan, still happy!

We booked a 5 day trip, which would give us 3 full shopping days. Day 1 is always just to get acclimatized and understand what you are seeing and how it may fit together. Day 2 is a little clearer, but still no final decisions should be made until Day 3 unless you are either fed up or have found what you have been wanting your whole life. I wish I knew that secret!!

After a long day, we would seek haven at the B&B and have drinks and share stories with the other patrons and staff. We were lucky that the buckets of rain always came either in the early morning or late night when our walking was done. Here are pictures of Deedrie and us at the B&B in front of the fire sipping tequila. Imagine being in the middle of a tropical storm with no windows in the lobby, in front of a fire on August 1. Phoenix and Loreto … eat your heart out. We were happy to see the thunder and lightening as they kept the roosters and dogs quiet!

Thanks to Luis and Ingrid, as well as the very helpful shop clerks, we all managed to get a good idea of what we wanted and were ready to place an order. It’s tough to do until you actually have walls and know when your home is ready. Poor Jan will have to agonize for another 8 months before her home is finished and that gives her too many opportunities to change her mind. Yikes… imagine being her husband! Luckily, he doesn’t have to worry too much about her choice in other distractions as she fell in love with the first Mexican musician she saw… but he was stone cold.

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