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Monday, March 14, 2011

Some Interesting Sights from Guadalajara

Monday a.m. - beautiful day in Mazatlan
(in the interest of trying to hurrry up loading time I have not made most of the pictures large size - but you can make them bigger by double clicking on them.)
I’m starting this Monday morning but it is actually about Friday in Guadalajara.
Bill was still looking for a special kind of leather and he also wanted the paint/dye to color it. He called some of the phone numbers he found on the web but they we all out of business or didn’t answer. So he went up to the office to see if there were any listed in the phone book. It just so happened the manager of the RV park used to live in an area where there are many tanneries. They called one and he had exactly what Bill was looking for. So Bill came back with a little map drawn on a piece of paper. “This is where we need to go,” he said as he presented me with the paper. Fired up Streets and Trips and started looking for the place. We found it and even figured out how to get there. Again the area was right near downtown Guadalajara. When we got here we figured we must be in the right neighborhood. These are hides lying on the ground drying.
We found the place we were looking for and the owner, Ramon, was only to happy to help Bill with what he needed. The hides he was buying were very irregular in size and had small holes throughout the hide. Ramon explained he had a machine that measured only the area of actual leather, not the holes or irregular parts. So he showed us how it worked. This is the machine with a piece of hide going through.
Close up of machine
You can barely see the tiny sensors underneath the measure the leather. If there is no leather it doesn’t measure it.
If you take a piece of paper and cut a hole out of the center and put the paper through the machine it only measures what is left of the paper not the missing piece. The machine is “very old.” He told Bill that it is left on all the time and every once in awhile they will hear it go “zipppp” when something like a roach or mouse goes into it by mistake. ICK!
A table piled high with skins – some not colored some already dyed blue, yellow or red. Bill got the uncolored ones.
Next Ramon took us to a shop around the corner that sells all the necessary chemicals, dyes etc for finishing the skins. This is Ramon, in red shirt, owner of shop and The Driver. The owner of the shop has a degree in Chemical Engineering.
We were there for quite a long time as Bill got instructions on how to paint/dye the leather and picked out what he needed. Both men were so helpful and were willing to take all the time necessary to make sure Bill understood what he needed to do once he got home and started on his projects.
My cousin asked what Bill was going to be doing and I found it very hard to explain so I’m including a couple pictures of items that were made using this process. (Bill did not do these - are are for sale in galleries) From time to time I’ve included other pictures of this leather work.
all molded leather
While I was waiting for The Driver I saw some very interesting things in the neighborhood. This was one of many pickups delivering hides to the various tanneries nearby. Kind of disconcerting the first time I saw so many pig? skins piled in the back of a truck. Did not smell good either.

right from the slaughter house I guess
Then I head the most gosh awful noise coming down the street. Cannot describe it. Loud, loud clanging sound. It would stop and start anc continued to get closer.Turned out to be the garbage men. Two guys with big “cow bells” were ring them. 
see the bell hanging from his belt
They were walking in front of a modern garbage truck.
As they rang their bells the people would bring their garbage out and give it to the men, along with a tip of course. It was explained to us that the garbage cannot be left out on the curb because there are too many stray dogs and they tear into and scatter it. Then the home or business owner gets a fine for garbage being scattered out front. This method works much better.
Also watched the mail man deliver mail. Along came a young guy on his bicycle with an open basket on front. He’d stop at each house – didn’t see him stop at any businesses – and either put the mail in a receptacle or hand it to someone from the house. His uniform consisted of a faded red and green shirt that had an official emblem and wording on the front.

When I mentioned this to Jeff he said their mail carrier in Ajijic has a motor scooter and if there is no mail box he just throws the mail over the gate into the yard.
Once we finished our business there we went downtown and parked and walked around some more. Watched these guys unload a pickup full of produce for a Chinese restaurant. What made it interesting was the truck was stopped on a very narrow one way street and traffic was backed up for a couple of blocks. And believe me people here let you know when they are impatient. Lots of horns blowing.
We stopped to eat lunch at one of the outdoor restaurants in the plaza in front of the Cathedral. While sitting there we saw a strange sight – well not really strange – more something one wouldn’t think of. A clown came along and sat down to have his shoes shined. His big, black bulbous toe shoes. Never though about that before.
A couple of views from downtown. In the past years I’ve post many pictures of downtown. A nice fountain

The front of the Teatro Degollado.

And we watched the horses and carriages go by. Much to my delight and surprise The Driver stopped this one and we took a sightseeing ride.

Our driver
One street he took us down was lined with stores selling formal gowns and wedding dresses – block after block of them.
Then he took us past one of the older wealthy residential sections. Many of the homes have been beautifully restored.
Some of them have not.
A quick shot of us going by reflected in a window.

The horse didn’t seem to mind the traffic at all. The carriage driver has a piercing whistle he would blow if someone got in his way.

The end of our ride. The horse is 14 years old and has been pulling a carriage for about ten years. We asked the driver and he said it only takes a couple of months to get a horse used to the traffic and noises of downtown.
I asked why there wasn’t any horse poop in the streets so we were given a lesson in horse diapers. This contraption fits up under the horse’s tail and has a slide with a pouch at the bottom that catches the poop. The poop has to be disposed of in a special trash container.
He told us that years ago his kid used to follow him on a tricycle and scoop the poop up. Much better system now. And if you don’t do everything you are supposed to do there are big fines.
Stood and watched this man for a while. He is recementing the stones in the church where small pieces of cement have fallen out.
Walking back to the car we passed this group of people sitting out in a closed off street knitting and crocheting. Men and women alike. The whole area was full of shops selling yarn, thread, sequins, ribbons and such.
The altitude was getting to us by then so home we went to relax the rest of the evening. When we got home and I opened my e-mail I discovered the letter from my cousin about leaving him my clothes instead of his - so we knew what we would be doing on Saturday - going to Ajijic again.  Next post Ajijic and Chapala.

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