I am really grateful I didn’t continue on to the balneario recommended by the tourist office in Zacatecas as it is very far. And it is very commercial. And very close to the road. I do not stop to even explore it as I have yet again left the hot spring later than I planned.
By the time I soak in the hot spring this morning and chat with Sabino and Maria, fill my batteries with water, say my goodbyes to Celia and Jose, and prepare the truck for traveling, it is almost noon.
Even though Guadalajara is a little more than 100 miles away, it is mountain miles, although the road doesn’t really get terribly steep and curvy until less than 40 kilometers from that city.
About the same time the clear, sparkling mountain air turns heavy grey-brown, as if in the Los Angeles valley, turning me off to Guadalajara before I even enter the massive city.
Again, the center of Guadalajara reminds me of a single-storied New York City, without the height. Colorful, tiny shops with the roll-up metal doors line the streets as people hustle and bustle happily around, shoulder-to-shoulder.
I try to get my bearings, try to find an internet café or Caffenio, try to find a good place to park for the nite. I want to explore this downtown. I want to find the lesbian places.
In centro, the streets are very narrow, most of them one way, and I cannot find parking for my large truck, except very far away. I don’t have time to walk around, the sun is lowering rapidly.
I drive out of centro and see a small park on the side of the road. A man sits there, with a case that appears to be a lap top bag. I approach him and ask about Caffenio – he doesn’t know but he wants to help.
Too late, I see he is reading a pocket version of the new testament. Oy. He tells me to go to a plaza, near here. Two other womyn had told me about this plaza too but I couldn’t find it – but I’m obviously close.
I try to thank the man and leave but he is trying to put the new testament and some other propaganda papers he pulls out of his briefcase into my hands – not a laptop bag but a christo propaganda bag!
I tell him no thank you, he insists. I am jewish, not a christian. He smiles eagerly and amazed as he repeats I am jewish, and excitedly accompanies me to my truck.
He no longer tries to hand me the papers but he wants to accompany me around Guadalajara and show me where the plaza is.
I thank him firmly and tell him it’s not necessary. We wave good bye and I do find the plaza, which is really a giant mall – but no internet café.
However I am told where starbucks is at – not too far, so I head there. When I arrive, it is almost dark. It is located at the corner of a plaza where you have to pay to park, and the overhead clearance to go in is much too low for my truck.
I see a small street adjacent to the plaza that appears to be a neighborhood so I park there temporarily. My first goal is to locate an independent café if I can.
I struggle to ask in Spanish to blank faces if there’s a Caffenio close by. I am told there’s another starbucks with easier access but the directions are complex so I decide to stay.
This starbucks has a fancy bathroom – no hot water tho, tears – but toilet paper, a new and shiney upstairs and downstairs, and an enclosed porch area where smokers are ensconced. I want to complain – I want to sit in the breeze of the outside.
I post to my blog and catch up on email.