Last year, I drove my MINI Cooper S to Arizona’s closest beach, in Puerto Penasco (a.k.a. Rocky Point) in the state of Sonara, Mexico, which boarders Arizona, U.S.A. This year, I decide to go deeper into Mexico, and flew into Guadalajara (GDL) in the state of Jalisco.
I hadn’t expected my car jones to get stoked while I was there, but I was very pleasantly surprised by what I came across.
Most of the cars I saw while in the GDL were similar to the cars I see most people driving in Latin American countries across the Western Hemisphere. They’re subcompact to sub-subcompact equivalents of vehicles I’ve seen in the U.S.A. This is typically because the cost of acquisition is not only higher like the cost of fuel, but median income is comparatively lower.
Also, from a practical stand-point, cars need to match the roadways, the denser of a metropolis they’re in. Guadalajara is the second largest city in Mexico with about 1.5 million inhabitants. That’s just half-a-million shy of the entire population of the state of New Mexico (U.S.A.).
197? Porsche 911
I can across this beauty by accident. My buddy and I were off to have breakfast when I remembered I had left my passport, among other important things, back in the safe of the hotel I had just checked out of. How embarrassing.
In a panic, I stopped in my tracks and requested an Uber ride. Once a vehicle was scheduled, I caught my breath and began taking in my surroundings. That’s when it occurred to me that we were strolling through a very, relatively upscale neighborhood, close to the night-life district. Then, BAM, there she was, behind an iron fence, with on opaque dirt deflector bordering it.
It was in horrible looking condition, but there was no mistaking that quintessential silhouette, of the Porsche 911. My buddy suggested I ring the doorbell to ask owner to see if I could take a closer picture of the 911. I reminded my buddy that at least every other house we’d passed not only had a beware of dog sign (en español) but actually had the Cujo-esque barking, to back it up. I’ll take photo from behind a fence, for 400 Alex.
Alfa Romeo or Fiat Something
Across and down the street from the Porsche, I spied a little red darling that I thought at first was an Alfa Romeo but then that didn’t feel right. Then I thought maybe it was a Fiat. Not sure, but a beauty nonetheless, fully decked in rallying regalia.
Part of me thought, or maybe wished, that the owner was a participant in the La Carrera Panamericana. A race I hoped to at least see that once.
The more I think about those cars, the more I think I shouldn’t try to fit all things into a single car. Alas, that is a luxury indeed, and can be costly. However, that’s for a different post.
Tequila, in Tequila
I’m glad I waited until my visit to Tequila, to try tequila for the first time ever. Now I have a nice benchmark. The town of Tequila is about an hour by car northwest of Guadalajara; and thanks to the ride-share economy, you can even Uber it.
The town itself is quite something, especially on a summer Saturday, filled with local and tourist life alike. The first thing that surprised me was that the vast amount of tourists, were Mexican. The second thing that surprised me, don’t ask me why, was to see that blue agave (the variant of the agave plant tequila is derived from) actually has a bluish-gray tinge to it, especially visible from a distance.
My buddy and I toured two tequila distilleries. The first was the Sauza brand, and second was the more well known José Cuervo. Both are within short walking distance of each other. The Sauza distillery felt like a more intimate affair, while the more established José Cuervo had more pomp and circumstance around it.
At the end of the José Cuervo tour we passed by the trucks you see in the picture above, which I’m surprised weren’t part of the official tour. I asked the tour guide if I could take a photo, and he said, of course. He went on to explain that all those trucks were actually used in their time by the distillery, and had all been restored for display. Unfortunately, none were for sale. 🙂
1968 Mustang Bala (Bullitt)?
I saw this reasonable facsimile of a 1968 Mustang Bullitt (or bala, bullet in Spanish) on my last day in the GDL. I was taking a leisurely stroll under a warm, but comfortable, sunny late morning, to burn some chocolate pancakes. I had no illusions about finishing the stack of pancakes when they had been served, as delicious as they turned out to be.
I was on the opposite side of the street when I noticed the car’s rear backing the corner. Thinking it was just a very clean Chevy Nova, I almost continued walking on in the sunshine. But then the green struck me as familiar yet unique. Damn! It hit me. Bullitt! I deftly back-tracked and crossed the street to take in the masterpiece.
It was clean. Not like it has just been washed, but clean from never being in winter, and getting regular TLC. I didn’t get too close, just enough to get some photos, lest I draw the attention by being a black man looking at a nice car in an expensive looking neighborhood.
Once I was done with the photo, I continued my stroll until I settled down on a bench in a small park, to rest a bit. About twenty minutes later it was time to head to the airport, courtesy of a friendly-neighborhood, Uber driver.
I never expected to experience the vehicles I did, but sometimes one gets lucky strolling along the path less traveled.