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We are traveling in Mexico again this winter of 2012
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Sunday, March 7, 2010

Encounter with the Law and Shopping in Tonala

No pictures for this part of the post.
Today we got an early start to go to Tonala and to walk around and look at all the handicrafts that are sold there. On the way we had a couple of interesting experiences. First I managed to get us lost. Missed a couple of turns and ended up thoroughly turned around. Then the most interesting of the two things. To set the scene – the traffic and smog and motor exhaust on the road was terrible and we were talking about how to figure out where we were going so we put our windows up. They are usually down as the weather is so nice.
As The Driver finally figured out where we should go a motorcycle cop pulled up behind us and hit his siren - BLEEP! “Was that for us?”
We turned at the next Retorno to get headed in the right direction and the cop followed right behind us. BLEEP! BLEEP! and his lights came on. Oh, oh! He got in front of the lane of traffic to our right and motioned us to pull over. Neither of us could figure out what we had done. Surely weren’t speeding as we were trying to figure out where to go. Maybe a light had burned out or something? Blinker on and pulled over as soon as there was a safe place to do it. Put the window down and waited. Hands visible.
The policeman walked up to the window and asked to see Bill’s license. Bill already had it out of his wallet and held it up for the man to see. “Give me the license.” He spoke excellent English. Bill said, “No.” and held the license closer to the man. “Give it to me.” And “No.” continued for a few more times. Then the policeman said if Bill didn’t give him the license he would call a tow truck and have “This vehicle” towed away. OH BOY!! We still didn’t know what we’d done to be pulled over so Bill asked.
The police man asked to see the papers for the car. We dug them out and gave them to him. Registration and temporary import permit.
He asked, “Where do you live?”
“In Las Vegas, NV.”
“No, where do you live here in Guadalajara?”
“We are staying in a motorhome park on Mateos.”
“You don’t live here?”
“No, we live in Nevada.”
Well your tinted windows are illegal here in Mexico. (remember I said we had the windows up.)
“But they are legal in Nevada.”
“You’re not in Nevada – this is Mexico.”
“No one ever told us they were not legal in Mexico. I can’t take the tint off just to visit Mexico.”
Policeman thought a while and agreed – that would not be practical. ”Well they are illegal here in Mexico. So when you drive here you must keep your front windows rolled down. (I immediately put mine down and he kind of laughed.)
From then on all was fine. No problem over the license refusal and no ticket.
I must stress that at NO TIME was a bribe even hinted about – and I got the impression if we had offered him one we would then have been in trouble.
He was very professional and courteous. In fact he and Bill had a friendly talk about all the changes for the better that have been happening in Mexico the last few years and he gave us directions to get to where we were headed. Adding, “Keep your window down.”
He got back on his motorcycle, pulled up next to us and said, “I like the sign in your back window – to roll you over.” He gave a half wave and pulled back out into traffic.
Maybe he just liked the jeep and wanted to speak English for a while.
We kept the windows down the rest of the time we were driving around.
Will write about the fun we had in Tonala later - and with pictures and videos.

The visit to the streets of Tonala

With our windows rolled down and the policeman’s good directions we made it to Tonala. Words cannot describe the place. Years ago it was a tiny village that held a handicraft/farmers market one day a weeks. We visited it then taking a long taxi ride from Guadalajara. Well now you never leave the city to get there and the market is seven days a week. Everywhere you turn there is a stall or store selling something. You can get everything from the tackiest piece of painted plaster junk to exquisite paintings and furniture there. I took lots of pictures as it would be hard to explain. We walked miles – back and forth on the main street and up and down the side streets. Unbelievable how much stuff was for sale. The sidewalks were packed, mostly with Mexican nationals. The whole time we were there I only heard one group of English speaking customers.
Where to begin…..
Here is a poster that was there – declaring that Tonala is The Mexican Capital of Artists.

Kind of describes the place. First I think I share some of the street scenes to give an idea of the magnitude of the size and items for sale.
This is just one of the buildings.

Looking across the street at the vendors there.
Looking ahead of us down the street.
One of the many street side "restaurants."
Sanitation for restaurant. There is a bar of soap there on top of the jug. I guess whatever works. He also had a bottle of hand sanitizer.
How merchandise and children are moved around. Notice the boys to the left.

Here is a man selling all kinds of cold drinks. Bill bought a limeaid - ick

In this tiny store (actually it is a home) we were invited in to watch the man of the house make clay cups. He was working the clay by hand then pounding it flat with a piece of wood. Then he would mold it around a cup shaped form. Then bake it. Then paint it. We asked if we could take pictures. The wife said okay but the man was quick to say No.To get to his workshop in the back we had to walk past Grandma with the baby, through the kitchen and bedroom. All actually just one long narrow room. Amazing what they do with what they have.
Most of the stores on the main street were pretty nice. And almost all of them had really nice tile floors - that were shinny clean.
A very few of the things we saw for sale - I took over 145 photos so be glad I'm only sharing a few. These are knick knacks - a set of three ceramic mushrooms with twine around the stems and painted beans and seeds on the tops. Good idea.
The mosaic balls were interesting - saw a lot of this on many differnt items.
Just some metal work that was down one of the streets. The star shaped things are pretty.
Good idea for cool curtains. Just colored gauze with knots and decorations on the ends.
She was just sitting on the bench watching the world go by.

Not so much a fan of the painting as of the way it is done and the shape it has. The stretcher boards are curved.
This is another one with the same idea. Kind of interesting.

And what house could do with out one of these. The third from the right has a Mexican man sitting by a cactus painted in the bowl. Hum......don't think I would like that if I was Mexican.
Now these we really do like - wish we had a place for them. Kind of like what we saw and loved in Hidalgo last year.

Just a wooden screen - there were a lot of them along with all kinds of carved wooden furniture. And right by it coconuts for sale

And I couldn't leave these out - what everyone needs for their garden
I'll continue later. Will post before I lose it.

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