Tlaquepaque Mexico

Not To Be Missed – Strolling Independencia – Photos by Donna Day

We walked the streets of Tlaquepaque for a couple of days, and found real pleasure in simple experiences: I recommend buying an ice cream cone or a cold drink, finding a shady bench, and sitting back to watch the parade of people strolling along Independencia. This pedestrian walkway carves through the heart of Tlaquepaque, providing access to dozens of inviting restaurants, arts and crafts stores, galleries, bars, and specialty shops before passing alongside the lively plaza with its gardens, fountains and historic buildings.

On the Thursday night before Good Friday during the week of Santa Semana, it seemed the town’s entire populace was out and about, enjoying the balmy evening after the heat of the day.

This Mexican penchant for the evening promenade, which I have experienced in countless cities and towns, ranging in size from small pueblos like my own Sayulita up through the big cities of Puerto Vallarta, Guadalajara, and Mexico City, is one of the real attractions of Latino culture. Colorful, safe, friendly, and always interesting, the evening promenade reminds us that civil society is about interaction with other people—something that internetted, wired, and worried Americans, convinced that places like Mexico are dangerous and nothing else, too often forget. So get out there and take a stroll, amigos. You just might make some new friends.

In Tlaquepaque, everywhere, vendors sell all manner of street food, from sweet ices to savory, healthy fruits to roasted corn and peanuts, fresh garbanzo beans, sandwiches and other heavier stuff, much of it fried, that I couldn’t always identify or bring myself to sample. But on this particular day, and on all the days before Easter, many of the vendors set up tables stacked with empanadas, for the tradition is to eat empanadas containing fruits, fish, vegetables, sweets, just about anything but meat. Catholics give up meat for Lent–and suffer little deprivation, I would venture, with all these sweets to choose from.  A light, freshly-made pineapple empanada can be either appetizer or desert.

Dulces

Dulces - Donna Day

Sweets, or dulces, are a specialty in this part of Mexico, and more than one shop along Independencia sold nothing but sweet of all sorts. Other shops specialized in tequila, or leather, or fabrics, or, of course, artworks ranging from folk art primitives right up through the sophisticated, multimedia, aesthetically sharp commercial offerings of Sergio Bustamente.

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