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Photo TR: Andy's 2015 Trip -- Un Viaje a México con TPR


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Loved that you guys visited some of the same places I remember from the 2013 tour.

Including the meal by the pyramids; the meal in town with the musicians serenading

you, along with that stained glass entry arch; culture, culture, culture! Mexico is a really

amazing country to visit, along with the parks as well.

 

Great TR, Andy! Thanks for getting it to us....eventually. Looking forward to more.

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I love Mexico, and I'm loving this report! Although my time spent in Mexico was in Sayulita, Mexico City is high on my "next to travel" list. The people and culture and food are easy to fall in love with.

 

I agree! I really enjoyed it and 2015 definitely won't be my last trip to Mexico.

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Day 3 -- Six Flags Mexico

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

 

Scorecard:

 

Batman: The Ride (x2)

Medusa Steel Coaster (x5)

Superman el Último Escape (x3)

Sky Screamer

Boomerang

Tsunami

Joker

Medusa Steel Coaster

-- Lunch --

The Dark Knight

Roller

Freaky Dolls

Medusa Steel Coaster (x3)

 

The Report:

 

It was an early morning out of the hotel, but we had early morning plans for our biggest park day of the trip. We reached our destination at Six Flags Mexico -- the largest amusement park, by both coaster count and visitor count, in all of Latin America. Originally opened in the early 80s as Reino Aventura, the park was sold into the Six Flags umbrella at around the turn of the millennium. The park is located in the southwestern section of Mexico City, about ten miles from downtown to the north, and just a few miles from the tallest mountain in the entire Federal District to the south.

 

We met our contact with the park's staff and probably confused a few of the rank-and-file employees as we shuffled in beside them through the back entrance. Nonetheless, we had some filming to do, and it was time to get started! Our first session was on Batman, though, uh, this probably isn't the Batman you're looking for. Once that was done, it was off to the highlight of the day, and one of the biggest highlights of the entire trip -- Medusa. We did five rides during our morning session on this outstanding RMC coaster. We then headed off to Superman for a few rides as the park was opening. Our final ride during filming was Sky Screamer, which had just opened in the weeks prior to our visit.

 

When that was all done, my small group split off to pick off the rest of the coaster credits. The pace was generally leisurely, thanks to the excellent VIP fast pass system -- an extremely inexpensive purchase for what's basically just a receipt that you show at the queue entrance. None of us needed to use up all of the VIP pass credits we'd been given, especially with crowds not being especially heavy on the day we visited, outside of a few major attractions when the passes did come in handy. Sure, there were numerous school groups at the park -- you couldn't walk 10 feet without running into one of them -- but it wasn't a huge issue in terms of lines. Sure, the kids were loud and having fun, but honestly I didn't see much of the debauchery I'd expect from an amusement park absolutely run over by the 10-14 year old age group like this one was! So, hey, good for them!

 

I ended the day with nine rides on Medusa, but I think most of others got ten. I actually had to skip one cycle just before lunch as I was fighting off a headache, but I was feeling good enough for three more rides near the end of the day. I did split off for some photography near the end, as I definitely wanted to try to capture some of the unique rides and interesting landscape at a park that not many enthusiasts get to visit. I probably would have tried a few of the park's flat rides if I'd been feeling a little better, but we had no shortage of things to do. Oh, and I had to get some churros on the way out, and I recall them being above-average for a corporate park! I mean, you'd hope so in Mexico, right?

 

I think we were at the park until 6PM or 7PM, but I didn't have my time zone settings right on my camera, so I'm just gonna guess and say it was 7PM. Close enough. Suffice to say, we had a great day and I didn't even run and hide from the group picture at the end!

 

Overall Impressions:

 

I think we all came away pretty happy with our day at Six Flags Mexico. People on the 2013 TPR trip were pretty happy with the park too, and that was before Medusa got the RMC treatment. In several ways, it stacks up very well against the rest of the Six Flags chain. Here are three:

 

1) The landscaping and design are way above average for Six Flags. In terms of feel and appearance, it's probably the second nicest Six Flags park I've been to, trailing only Great Adventure. That's not to say it doesn't have a couple rough spots, but there's a variety in architecture and scenery you don't get from the average corporate park in the US. And am I crazy for thinking that there's maybe not quite as much advertising as in the US parks?

 

2) If you like flat rides, this park's got a great collection of them, including several that are pretty rare. I'm not big on flats or spinny things, but with a little more time, there are a few I would have tried! Oh, and add in some of the other experiences too -- the laser tag, the haunt, the dolphin show, the reptile house, and other things. This is a well-rounded park.

 

3) Medusa. My coaster count has grown significantly since going to Mexico in 2015, and it's still easily in my top 10. It's huge to have a destination coaster like this, and I hope it continues to draw enthusiasts from around the world to check the place out -- not just the park, but Mexico City.

 

That sort of leads to what I think is the park's biggest weakness -- a lack of other top-tier thrill attractions. The rest of the coaster collection isn't terribly strong -- not a single B&M or Intamin, showing a desperate need for some modern steel. The park's made two big additions since our visit -- a Justice League dark ride in 2016, and one of the S&S Free Spin coasters for 2018. That's a good start. I hope they keep it going, because while I'd already like to return at some point, another good excuse wouldn't hurt.

 

The Attractions:

 

Medusa Steel Coaster: Wow. What a ride. Among RMC credits, Medusa's location in Mexico makes it among the most rare. That might have contributed unfairly to some lofty expectations, but it met them and then some. Everyone in the group was ready to put it in their top 10 (if not top 5) after just a couple rides. This was my first of the "small" RMC coasters, and I've since been on Storm Chaser, which even without the barrel roll would be the closest comparison. But while Storm Chaser is an outstanding ride, Medusa's got better pacing and a relentless sense of speed to go along with all the crazy elements. Videos don't do justice to how much intense airtime there is on the entrances and exits from all those raised turns. I have to say, I was skeptical about the barrel roll, but it's way more awesome than you'd expect. Add in one last detail -- the brief right-side-up moment at the top of the lift offers some great views into the heart of Mexico City. Be sure to watch

that Robb filmed on our visit, which includes a guest appearance by the author of this post!

 

Superman el Último Escape: Just being honest, but I was slightly disappointed by this one, and had a lesser opinion of it than the rest of the group. It's said to be one of the best Morgan hypercoasters, but honestly I'll take its little brother Steel Eel any day. Part of the problem is that all the turns on the first half of the layout -- including one that breaks up the first hill after the lift -- really kill any chance at airtime. At least the pre-lift section is kind of odd and fun! I'll also say that while it was far from the roughest coaster I've ever been on, something about it gave me some issues, and I spent most of the morning with a headache. That's just me -- I don't think anyone else had the same problem.

 

Batman: The Ride: Umm... if you're looking for a B&M clone, you're at the wrong Six Flags park. Yep, it's a fully themed inverted Batman coaster, but it's a Vekoma SLC. So, yeah, you know what you're getting out of these. The less said, the better. Fine, want one good thing? Batman and Superman both provide some great views to the higher terrain to the south and east, including -- way off in the distance -- two gigantic volcanoes, Popocatépetl and Iztaccihuatl. And I thought that was pretty awesome.

 

Joker: The rest of Gerstlauer's Tony Hawk clones are carrying out their lives in relative anonymity under the Pandemonium name, but Discovery Kingdom's moved to Mexico City and picked up some of the best theming I've seen on a Six Flags coaster! These are fun rides, but the props and tunnel on the coaster's circuit bring the experience to another level. I've got some pictures of the awesome funhouse queue in the report below as well!

 

The Dark Knight: The same mouse-in-a-box as all the others, but this one's dubbed in Spanish!

 

Boomerang: This isn't just any Vekoma boomerang. It's the first ever created Vekoma boomerang. It originally opened in 1984 at a small park in Puebla, Mexico. It moved to Mexico City later in the same decade. Guess what? It rides like it's the first ever Vekoma boomerang. One and done.

 

Tsunami: One of those gigantic-trained Tivoli family coasters, identical as best I can tell to Blackbeard's Harley Quinn Crazy Treasure Train at SFGAdv. Decent ride.

 

Roller: The final coaster of the park's eight -- at least as of our visit in 2015 -- is a Vekoma junior coaster. I like these, especially compared to kiddie/junior coasters by other manufacturers.

 

SkyScreamer: Medusa Steel Coaster opened in 2014, so the new hotness for our 2015 visit was SkyScreamer. Loved the views from this one, high above Mexico City! Probably my favorite views from any of the SkyScreamer or WindSeeker rides I've been on, just thanks to the interesting landscape, though Cedar Point's up there too.

 

Freaky Dolls: I normally skip haunts -- just not my thing -- but decided to go for this one. I don't remember being overly frightened, but it's tougher to be scared when the actors are yelling at you in a language you're only marginally familiar with!

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Pictures from Six Flags Mexico -- Part 1

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Arrival at the front gate of Six Flags Mexico! Though, I think this was just before we realized we were in the wrong place for our pre-park-opening meet-up! :-P

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Six Flags Mexico prices -- in pesos, of course.

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Starting the day off right with a coaster themed to a big-time DC superhero...

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...that's right, it's Batman, so it's time for some B&...

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...oh.

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Well, we got some filming done and were on our way. At least it looked nice! I think the track had just been painted!

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Yeah, this is what we came for. Medusa! Steel Coaster! Completely with creepy ride-sign!

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And the sign over the gift shop has glowing red eyes. Awesome.

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Here's a behind-the-scenes angle of Medusa from our walk through the employee entrance! Super secret.

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Some shots of Medusa from the queue. Sorry for the lack of a train in any of these pictures, but I was using a not-great phone camera and those just ended up blurred.

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More Medusa from the queue. To note -- Medusa does have a lock-your-stuff-up policy, which is why I didn't have my good camera with me at that moment.

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Medusa has lots of high corners like these, and every single one is packed with forces.

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The front of the Medusa station.

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Here's the climb up the lift, where you go to prepare to be flipped and dropped and so on.

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The brake run and shed for the other train.

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An empty station as we get ready for filming.

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The importance of securing that lap bar.

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Ah, the now-familiar RMC chariot, which I find to be quite comfortable.

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Our final coaster for filming was Superman el Último Escape (the last escape). The queue entrance is through a building that looks far more traditional in architectural design than you'd expect...

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...but the outdoor queue and station are a little more typical! Telefono, anyone?

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Superman's brake run! It kind of looks like the coaster just drops off a cliff to nowhere back there.

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We got our last rides in just as the regular guests were starting to arrive.

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Like I mentioned earlier, I was a little disappointed by Superman, mainly due to the first half having very little airtime.

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Queue theming: colorful lights!

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Queue theming: the difference between "dated" and "vintage" is in the eye of the beholder.

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Oh, and I had to get a shot of this. Superman's on-ride photo location is ... next to a barbed-wire chain link fence at the edge of a parking lot. Nice.

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Here's the Six Flags Mexico park map, and as you can see, Superman is about 900 feet tall and travels halfway to Oaxaca.

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Not sure what the Hollywood theming is for, but here's Sky Screamer!

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Two excited TPR people!

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One excited TPR person -- and one very confused local.

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TPR takes flight.

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JJ Abrams tribute shot.

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Caesar liked it. As did I.

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Oh, what's that through the trees?

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It's ... the world's first-ever Vekoma boomerang!

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It rides ... like the world's first ever Vekoma boomerang!

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It loops! It twists!

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It cobra rolls! It kerchunks! It gives you a headache!

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Cloud porn.

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This ... is the face of terror.

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Oh, and one fun part about this particular boomerang? The world's slowest lift hill. It seriously takes 3-4 minutes to get the train up the initial lift.

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Moving on to The Joker!

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The Joker is themed to Batman villains, though none of these three in particular.

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First, we must navigate the elaborate funhouse queue.

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Should we enter the giant clown mouth? This seems like a bad idea.

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It's too late to turn back now!

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They went all out on this queue. You've got paint and signs on the walls, spinny things on the ground...

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...rollers, which are certainly not ADA compliant...

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...bubbly things you have to step over, and spinning poles...

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...and shifting floorboards, all capped off with a creepy clown mirror!

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Escape the fun house, and you'll finally make it to the station.

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Even the ride vehicles have been custom-painted.

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Would you like a Harley Quinn themed car...

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...or one themed to The Joker himself?

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Joker's lift hill and twisted track.

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Don't get caught in the tunnel of terror!

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I seriously don't understand why all the US-based Tony Hawk clones didn't get this treatment. It really makes the whole experience a lot of fun.

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Anyone missing some teeth?

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While we're on the Batman theme, how about a mouse-in-a-box? This one was supposed to go to Six Flags New England, but here it is in Mexico instead.

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One neat thing about this version of The Dark Knight is the extra railway theming outside the station.

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And the Gotham City Rail map is located outdoors! That meant the lighting was good enough for me to finally get a decent picture of one of these!

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Caesar, that shirt's a little too on-the-nose.

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On the inside? The pre-show is dubbed in Spanish! I believe the ride experience is basically the same as any of the others.

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On to the next coaster. This giant structure, which is basically just for show, houses Tsunami.

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Tsunami is one of those giant-long-train Tivoli coasters.

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Here's a picture with the train going by. Oh, and yeah, the weather was pretty fickle. Sunny in the morning, cloudy as heck by afternoon. I know, it's my fault.

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Tsunami track close-up! Tivoli was doing steel beam track before RMC made it all trendy!

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Roller is the park's final coaster -- a Vekoma junior coaster.

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It's basically a clone of many others, such as Spacely's Sprocket Rockets (SFGAm) or Roller Skater (Kentucky Kingdom). I think these are really good coasters for their intended age group.

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Well, what do we have here? This is Huracán, and Caesar and Nozzy are going to take their chances.

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What's Huracán? It's a Vekoma Waikiki Wave Super Flip. So it looks like a Huss Top Spin, but it's worse.

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I think this is where reality sets in that you're on an evil Vekoma terror machine and it's just getting started.

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So the thing with these Vekoma devices is that they don't just flip end-over-end like a Top Spin. The two arms move independently, so the gondola also tilts sideways.

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Personally, I think Top Spins are painful enough, and I have no doubt I'd be in trouble on one of these!

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This just looks like so much fun!

 

To watch.

 

From the sidelines.

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Are those smiles?

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Yep, they made it through. In one form or another.

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Let's head around the park and check out some of the other attractions. Here's Freaky Dolls, a year-round haunt that has gone through some different iterations.

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I think this took some sort of inspiration from Xochimico and its Island of the Dolls (Isla de las Muñecas).

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Terminator X is a laser tag game I didn't get to try out.

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Every park in Mexico is required by law* to have a dolphin show!

 

*probably

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Every park needs a carousel. Le Grande Carrousell is of the double-decker variety.

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Fiesta de las Tazas! Party of the cups!

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Piña Loca! Crazy pineapple!

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Another spinny flat ride, but this one's themed to giant smiling pineapples. It moves pretty quick, and the cars are somewhat tilted. I like pineapple. I would have probably liked to try this one just because it's so different.

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Rock n Roll is a Schwarzkopf Polyp with a 50s/60s theme -- classic car ride vehicles and the Grease soundtrack playing in the background.

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It's sort of like a scrambler, but with some vertical motion added in.

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Vuelo Alpino (alpine flight) is a standard wave swinger, and it's since been dwarfed by Sky Screamer.

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But, regardless, I think these guests are enjoying their ride.

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Rueda India (Indian wheel) is a Ferris wheel themed to ... Indians.

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The bonus for this Ferris wheel: the gondolas can be rotated. For photography's sake, this was probably the #1 thing I wanted to do but didn't get a chance to, as I was running short of time and didn't know how long the ride cycle would be.

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Around the, uh, well-themed wheel, you can find cows...

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...horses...

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...and giant Indian heads. Alright, sure, why not.

Edited by The Great Zo
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Pictures from Six Flags Mexico -- Part 2

 

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Kilahuea is an S&S triple combo tower.

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This and the one at Fiesta Texas are the only S&S towers I know of that aren't painted primarily white.

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Ruleta (roulette) is a trabant / wipeout type of ride.

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Bumper cars called Le Mans, which look like pretty typical bumper cars to me. Not every park can be Knoebels.

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Ah, the great and elusive Batalla Pirata. An attraction I literally could find /no/ information about before the trip, so I had no idea what it was -- other than the obvious "pirate battle" theme. And I tried, I really did!

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Well, disappointingly, Batalla Pirata is just a kids play area and foam-ball-shooting thing.

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But it's got a wicked skeleton pirate, who I think has survived plenty of battles himself...

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The kids area is, of course, themed mostly to Looney Tunes characters. This is one entrance...

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...and this is the other. This is honestly scary. I don't know why this needs to exist.

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Among other rides in the kids area, you've got your standard balloons...

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...and apparently we're at SeaWorld now.

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How about some of the other theming around the park? Well, here's an ode to a popular sport.

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Here's "photo shark" which I swear isn't related to Jaws at all please don't sue us Universal please.

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Some Looney Tunes characters on a cart.

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Local theming! El Ángel -- the Angel of Independence! One of Mexico City's most important landmarks makes a sized-down appearance at Six Flags. And no, this probably wouldn't fly at a park in the US!

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El Ángel, fountains, and a couple dozen of the several thousands of schoolkids in track suits.

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Buildings and landscaping at this really attractive park. This area of the park (the west end) is a little more traditional.

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The east end of the park is a little more eclectic in its theming, and it's not quite as cohesive, but it still has some nice spots.

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What does the park have to eat? Let's start with Fanta and popcorn!

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How about some crepes from France?

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Or maybe some Chinese cuisine from ... Germany? Hm.

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Of course, the anthropomorphic churro sheriff!

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And his partner, the churro ... regular guy?

 

The churros are good. Get them.

 

Oh, and I had a burger for lunch, which wasn't all that great. Skip that.

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Here's one thing I was sorely disappointed about. I love the "Golfito" (little golf) name for their mini golf course, but...

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...it looks like it's been run over by a pack of wild burros.

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If they ever get the golf course back up and operational, you'll have some great views of the world's first boomerang to distract you from that hole-in-one.

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We're a long, long way from Interstate 95. But hey, credit to Six Flags for putting the park name where the state name is usually supposed to go!

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This big stadium didn't see any action on the day we visited, but the clearing offers some views of the park's biggest coasters.

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Here's Superman. I had noted on Twitter after riding that it was a "floater air machine" but I think that's more in reference to the second half of the ride.

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Superman at the top of the lift.

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Superman makes the first drop!

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The first hill after the drop is only a half-airtime hill, before abruptly turning left and killing any airtime you might be getting.

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The first half of the ride is more turns than hills, and to me, it just doesn't stack up to the more straight-ahead approach of something like Steel Eel. The second half of Superman is more typical -- bunny hills on the return run, like Mamba or Steel Force.

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Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Coaster Justice.

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Well, as long as someone's enjoying it!

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Looking to the right, I see Batman and SkyScreamer in operation.

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Batman was only my second SLC, after Gauntlet at Magic Springs in Arkansas. Gauntlet wasn't awful. Batman was pretty bad.

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This would only be a warm-up for the three SLCs I rode (spoiler alert for a future trip report) in Europe in 2016. Two of the three were even worse than this one!

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Sky Screamer was still under construction during the lead-up to our trip in 2015, but they got it done in time!

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Cloud porn, part two.

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This is a mid-size Star Flyer, just over 240 feet in height -- identical to the models at SFOG and SFGAdv.

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Oh, and there's a splash boat. Because of course there's a splash boat.

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I don't ride splash boats. I take pictures of splash boats, because they're awesome to take pictures of!

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By the way, this splash boat is called "Splash" because of course it is.

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If you aren't wet enough getting off the ride, hop up on the bridge and take another wave to the face.

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OK, before I get back to the park talk, a little bit of geography! Six Flags Mexico sits at an elevation of about 8,000 feet above sea level -- that's pretty high! The mountain you see behind the boat is called Ajusco. It's a lava dome volcano at the southwestern edge of the Federal District and with an elevation of 12,894 feet, it's the highest point in all of Mexico City. Some day, on another visit, I hope to climb it.

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Now back to your regularly-scheduled splash boating!

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Terror and excitement!

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The before...

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...and the after.

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That wall of water comes up...

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...and comes back down on top of you...

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...and leaves not a person dry.

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The mist clears...

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...and everyone's laughing.

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Up the lift.

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Down the drop.

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The moment of impact!

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The splash kicks up.

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A wider view of the start of the splash.

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And yes, it's a large splash.

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Quite the wave, isn't it?

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Skloosh.*

 

* with apologies to Knoebels

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The splash boat at the end of the rainbow.

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The rainbow, again.

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Now you see them...

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...now you don't.

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Really liked the misty/rainbow effects I was getting from this angle!

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Yep, that's all for the splash boat! But we've got one last order of business.

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How about a few more rides on Medusa? With a station as empty as this, why not?

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This ride is awesome! Unanimously glowing reviews from our group.

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Here's some off-ride photographs of Medusa, starting with this one of the top of the lift.

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Medusa was originally built as a CCI wooden coaster, opened in 2000. RMC converted it for a 2014 opening. It was their third I-Box conversion, after New Texas Giant and Iron Rattler.

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Medusa has airtime all over the place, even where you wouldn't expect it.

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Medusa was the first RMC with a barrel roll drop. Storm Chaser was the second, and Twisted Timbers will be the third.

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My one and only complaint about Medusa isn't with the ride -- it's the queue. Six Flags took the park's wacky shack and turned it into the queue for Medusa, which is honestly a really creative idea. The problem is that if you're trying to ride multiple times, walking through a twisted-up dizzying off-kilter wacky shack queue every time gets really tedious!

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I found a pretty good photo angle to get the top of the lift. Oh, and there's some coaster design skill on that train, but I'm not gonna say any more than that!

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Waiting for some wind...

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...there we go. Probably my favorite picture /from the entire Mexico trip/ right here.

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Medusa and the flagpole again.

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And on to the barrel roll drop for a killer ride!

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Yay for Six Flags Mexico! We had a really great day. And I hope I remembered enough about it to write a coherent review three years later!

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

BONUS PICTURES!

 

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Seen on the way back to our hotel. Would you trust Dico the clown with your children?

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Here's our dinner spot -- Agua y Sal (water and salt). I don't eat fish, but they had exactly one non-fish entree on their menu, and it was good!

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Speaking of our hotel -- the Hyatt Regency in Polanco -- here are a few pictures of the main lobby.

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It's, well, kind of swanky. Real swanky, not "Owensboro, Kentucky" swanky. ;)

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Honestly, probably too swanky for a scrub like me! But oh what a breakfast buffet!

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Pay no attention to the guy with the camera!

 

Coming up next, a flight west and a new day in a new city!

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Another great report! Six Flags Mexico is one of my favorites in the chain and Medusa is my favorite RMC. You captured the ambiance of the park really well. Sorry you didn't appreciate Superman as much. The ride is just as much about the positive forces in the swooping turnarounds as it is about airtime and that's not everyone's cup of hyper coaster tea I suppose.

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I've heard nothing but good things about Six Flags Mexico, with the exception of the Batman SLC.

 

LOL. I can think of a few other parks that would fit that description too. "Really great, just ignore that terrible Vekoma."

 

Great report. Occasionally we see stupid cheap flights pop up to Mexico City, so I'm sure I'll hit this place one day.

 

Do it! And early/mid spring is a really good time to go.

 

Another great report! Six Flags Mexico is one of my favorites in the chain and Medusa is my favorite RMC. You captured the ambiance of the park really well. Sorry you didn't appreciate Superman as much. The ride is just as much about the positive forces in the swooping turnarounds as it is about airtime and that's not everyone's cup of hyper coaster tea I suppose.

 

This is a really good point. Some people really like positive forces, but I'm not one of them. It's probably one reason why I305 doesn't rank as well for me as it does with other people. I really think the rest of the group from this trip enjoyed Superman a lot, I was just in the minority opinion on it thinking it was just OK.

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I've heard nothing but good things about Six Flags Mexico, with the exception of the Batman SLC.

 

When I rode it back in 2013 (first TPR tour), I couldn't believe how good it was! Of all the SLCs around the world that

I've ridden, this was (at that time) one of the better ones I had ridden! And that's a very tiny number, too.

 

What I said in my TR of the 2013 tour of it...

 

Then we were taken over to where the (shudders) SLC was, called Batman. And - surprise - it wasn't too bad, considering all the *&%@# SLCs I have ridden around the world.

 

Thanks for the re-visit, Andy!

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Great report. Occasionally we see stupid cheap flights pop up to Mexico City, so I'm sure I'll hit this place one day.

 

Do it! And early/mid spring is a really good time to go.

 

now that we no longer have the dog (sniff ).. . . I'm pretty sure that we could get a cheap direct flight from Austin airport to Mexico City.

 

my Spouse won't go out of North America, but he's been to Cancun and the Caribbean, so MC shouldn't be a hard sell.. .especially since we have 2018 Season Passes now. (and I've been several times, but not since ~1985)

 

hmmm. . . . . ok, this is on my Radar for a quick weekend trip now.

 

great report, even if 3 years after, still wonderful to see!

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great report, even if 3 years after, still wonderful to see!

 

Usually not too much changes in the theme park world in 3 years, so a delayed report is still gonna be mostly relevant.

 

Fantastic report! The park definitely looks up there with Fiesta Texas for the best looking Six Flags park and they also have one of my most sought after coasters in Medusa.

 

Good call on Fiesta Texas! Both parks have some similar theme elements, and yes, they're among the nicest looking parks in the chain.

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  • 2 weeks later...

With the first leg of the trip in Mexico City complete, our next adventure required a quick hop to the west to the capital of the state of Jalisco...

 

Day 4 -- Culture Day in Guadalajara

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

 

The Report

 

Departing from the Benito Juárez airport in Mexico City, we had a short flight to Guadalajara on AeroMexico, a Delta Airlines affiliate and the flag carrier airline of Mexico. The Guadalajara airport is just a short distance south of the city center, where we'd be staying for the next two nights.

 

Guadalajara's downtown has a much smaller and more homogenous feel than Mexico City, but it was no less interesting to explore. And that we did, on a few different occasions. Our first day in Guadalajara included a long walking (and eating) tour, led by a local tour guide. I went out that evening with a small group to see the city at night. We also explored a little more after our park day on the 26th -- for the sake of ease, I'll just mix those pictures in with the larger batch from the 25th.

 

As with the Mexico City culture day post, it'll be easier to describe our adventures in the captions. So, here are a whole bunch of pictures of a pretty cool city!

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First, we depart from Terminal 2 at Mexico City's Benito Juárez International Airport.

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The concrete and pinhole designs make this place look older than it is. This terminal was opened in 2007.

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Should I have bought this Frozen "Mágico Invierno" coloring book for my flight?

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Here's our AeroMexico plane for the flight to Guadalajara. How was the flight? From a message to a friend: "The takeoff was kind of frighteningly rough and vibratey."

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Oh no, Guadalajara won't do.

 

...actually it will, but that line was /always/ gonna get dropped into this trip report, regardless.

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Here's our hotel for the next couple days -- the Holiday Inn in downtown Guadalajara.

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The main entrance to our hotel. Easy walking distance to everything in the center of the city.

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A nice hotel lobby!

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Sculpture!

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Guadalajara-inspired artwork!

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And now, our group heads out into the city for the first time.

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We started our day in Guadalajara with a guide from Guadalajara Food Tours, who took us around to several restaurants to sample dishes around the city. Our first stop was at La Rinconada.

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I don't have a picture of what we ate, but we started with dessert. I think it was some kind of flan. Guadalajara has several restaurants that look like this -- with the main dining area inside of spacious, well-decorated courtyard / atrium type areas. Sorry if I don't know the technical term for it!

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Stop #2 was at Las Famosas, serving up what can probably be described as one of Guadalajara's signature meals -- the Torta Ahogada.

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A look at the inside of Las Famosas, which opens up to the Paseo Degollado -- a tree-and-water-lined pedestrian walkway.

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We started with some strawberry horchata. I love horchata, and the pink version was pretty great!

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Then, the star of the show -- our tortas ahogadas. It's a submarine sandwich, filled with meat, and drowned in a pepper-based or tomato-based sauce. I thought it was very tasty, but have to be honest -- just about impossible to eat! It's kind of a mess. But that's ok, because this was all about trying some new things. Next time I'd probably just order it partially-dipped rather than totally submerged, even if that's probably a sacrilege to the locals.

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We exit Las Famosas, and head off to the next restaurant.

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Our third stop was Cafe Madrid, a coffee shop and traditional restaurant.

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Some cool art on the wall of Cafe Madrid!

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Here, we received pozole, a pork and hominy stew. Was the first time I'd had it, but not the last!

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Halfway through the tour, we took a walk along the street on the way to our next destination. I have to say -- the traffic in Guadalajara was much better behaved than in Mexico City. Like, to the point that I'd be comfortable driving there.

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We headed into the heart of Guadalajara, approaching perhaps the city's most impressive building -- the Catedral de Guadalajara.

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Guadalajara's cathedral was completed in 1618, though occasional earthquake damage has led to some of the structures to be re-built over the centuries since.

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The Cathedral sits on a block at the center of the city, and is surrounded on all four cardinal directions by plazas. The plaza immediately to the south, pictured here, is called the Plaza de Armas.

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Another look at the Plaza de Armas, which -- day or night -- was always filled with people when we visited.

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Adjacent to the Plaza de Armas to the east is the Palacio de Gobierno -- the seat of the state government, essentially a state capitol building for Jalisco.

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Hey, you've got a pigeon on your head.

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The Palacio de Gobierno would be a cool place to tour on another visit!

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Yes, this is a mode of transportation commonly seen around Guadalajara. Not sure if it's a touristy thing or a traditional thing, or maybe a combination of the two.

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Cloud porn, part infinity.

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So, before our next restaurant visit, we headed to the roof of a hotel adjacent to the Plaza de Armas for some aerial views. And oh, do I love my aerial views. The rest of the group was probably dumbfounded as I managed to snap off 164 pictures in 13 minutes. No, I'm not posting all of them here! But first, enjoy this panoramic view of the cathedral and the plaza.

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A look down at the Plaza de Armas. The kiosk / gazebo in the middle is apparently of Parisian origin.

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The Palacio de Gobierno on a nice March day.

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A flagpole, a balcony, a bell, and a clock.

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Closer view of the flagpole! The Palacio de Gobierno was completed in 1774.

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The balcony, which I can imagine being used for various ceremonial functions.

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The palace's clock has a hole in it. It's a bullet hole. There are various stories as to who might have shot it, but apparently it came from during the Mexican Revolution in the early 1900s!

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A view over some of the businesses to the south of the Plaza de Armas.

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A southbound view on Avenida 16 de Septiembre. What happened on the 16th of September? Just the little thing of Mexico's independence in 1810.

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Quite the mix of architectural styles, including the Templo de San Francisco de Asís, built in the late 1600s.

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Our group checks out the view over the cathedral.

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The cathedral! It's a very awesome building!

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The west face of the cathedral, which faces Plaza Guadalajara.

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A fountain at the center of Plaza Guadalajara.

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Domes on the cathedral.

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Stained glass.

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For whom the bell tolls.

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The entrance to the cathedral. I did go in at night, and it looked pretty awesome inside. No pictures, as requested.

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Behind the cathedral to the north, some interesting geography...

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...but I'll save that for a future trip report segment.

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Down on the plaza, a gathering of pigeons.

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Do the pigeons play with the kids, or do the kids play with the pigeons?

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Two horse-drawn carriages. The roof of the one on the right is, uh, interesting.

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A few more distant views looking out over Guadalajara. Here's one to the northwest.

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Church spires, apartment highrises, and distant mountains.

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Housing on the hill.

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The Hotel Riu Plaza is the tallest building in Guadalajara. It's located a few miles southwest of the center of the city.

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A view northeast, past the cathedral. Off in the distance...

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...Cerro de la Higuera is one of the taller hills / mountains surrounding Guadalajara.

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Another distant view over the plaza to the east of the cathedral.

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Yet another historic structure. They're pretty much everywhere.

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A really interesting building way off to the east. It's the temple / headquarters of the Luz del Mundo, a Christian denomination based in Guadalajara.

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Native plants line the walls of the hotel rooftop. Alright, time to head down!

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Next on the tour -- our fourth restaurant -- was La Antigua.

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La Antigua has a great location on the corner between the Plaza de Armas and Plaza Guadalajara.

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Is this not the cutest bread basket you've ever seen?

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We had some sort of orange drink! (I wish I remembered the details!)

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Then we had enchiladas! I guess these are kind of familiar.

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The view over Plaza Guadalajara from La Antigua.

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This is a cool fountain! At least, I think it would be if the water were turned on!

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Another view of the corner of the cathedral as we head out of La Antigua.

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And a view that shows the whole west side (front?) of the cathedral from across the plaza.

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Onward we progressed through the streets of the city...

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...to our next stop at La Fonda de San Miguel Arcángel.

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We head inside through an assortment of local art...

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...and Jesus, who told us to eat here!

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Another cool building with the restaurant space inside a courtyard. Oh, and that's our tour guide in the green shirt!

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At La Fonda, we got aztec soup -- which, again, is just way better in Mexico than anywhere I've had it in the states.

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Our final stop on the tour was at a divey-looking bar called La Mutualista, where those inclined tried some local tequila. I don't have any pictures from there, so here's our gift pack we received at the end of the tour. Great way to get an introduction to the city!

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Guadalajara Culture Day continued...

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And now, we continue to wander the city and see cool things! Here's a statue of Beatriz Hernandez, who had a role in the founding of Guadalajara.

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A statue of Jorge Matute Remus, an engineer who moved the Teléfonos de México building so a street could be widened. Yes, this statue is meant to show him /physically/ moving the building!

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The "four boys" fountain (Fuente de los Niños Miones) which is, well, interesting. Looks like it takes some inspiration from Belgium's famous "Manneken Pis" which is exactly what it sounds like.

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A bronze sculpture in the Plaza Fundadores displays the location where Guadalajara was founded in 1542.

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Looking up at some windows and architecture...

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...some that look classic and ornate...

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...and others that are luxurious.

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The Palacio de Justicia, home of the Jalisco state supreme court.

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A marker for Guadalajara's historic city center.

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A fountain on the Plaza Tapatía.

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This is near Las Famosas, and just a couple blocks east of the cathedral.

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The fountain has frogs!

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And pigeons that like the frogs!

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A look back the other way, in a rare shot that I think the glare actually enhances.

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Trees in Guadalajara.

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Walking around the city, you see your typical streetside vendors. Tacos are common.

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Pizza is also common.

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Chinese is less common, but this is a big city, so you can probably find whatever you want!

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But not this. I do not want this.

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Ooh, a personal request! No high school experience necessary! Sign me up! (Wait, what am I signing up for?)

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You know what, I thought this sign might have something to do with prostitution, but it turns out it just means Sanborns is hiring. So I'm going to share my new knowledge with everyone else here. You have been educated!

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I'm going to skip ahead here to a second day around Guadalajara on Thursday, March 26 -- after our theme park visit was done. We headed east from the center of the city and pass the Teatro Degollado, an important theater for the city.

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The theater was named after Santos Degollado, a politician and military leader.

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Another day, another horse-drawn carriage!

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Nozzy wants to go in the sketchy arcade. Should we follow?

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Yes we should!

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Check out the awesome games in the sketchy arcade!

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Should we peek at the view through the barred window?

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Most of Guadalajara looked very nice. We found one corner that didn't.

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Ah well, it's all part of the experience.

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And to be completely fair, recent images online show that this area is being re-developed and cleaned up! So, good for Guadalajara.

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Perhaps we could hang out at the internet cafe instead...

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...or we could head onward through some of the nicer parts of downtown!

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Some big words about Carlos V establishing Guadalajara and its coat of arms.

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A monument to the Guadalajara coat of arms. Looks like two lions and a tree!

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La Fuente de la Inmolación de Quetzalcóatl. The fountain of the immolation of Quetzalcóatl, a mesoamerican deity. Yay immolation!

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Sculpted by Victor Manuel Contreras.

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This fountain is at the center of the Plaza Tapatía. Tapatío/Tapatía are terms that refer to people from Guadalajara.

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Continuing east, our next destination is up ahead. But first, a few more fountains to get through.

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Including this one, which is doubling as a pool, though I'm not sure why.

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Check out this beautiful, clean water. Anyone up for a swim?

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Anyway, our next stop is the Hospicio Cabañas -- also known as the Instituto Cultural Cabañas.

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It's a UNESCO World Heritage Site!

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The Hospicio Cabañas complex was originally built as a hospital and orphanage in the late 1700s and early 1800s. It's one of the oldest and largest hospital complexes in the Americas. It was named after Juan Cruz Ruiz de Cabañas, who was a Catholic Bishop for Guadalajara beginning in 1795.

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Manuel Tolsá designed the building. The ornate dome is a frequently-used symbol for the city of Guadalajara.

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The inside of the chapel, underneath the dome.

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The chapel is full of art -- murals painted by José Clemente Orozco.

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At the center of the dome is a piece of art known as El Hombre de Fuego -- the Man of Fire.

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El Hombre de Fuego represents the submission of humans to machines. Heavy stuff.

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More art from Orozco, who is considered one of Mexico's greatest artists.

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The Instituto Cultural Cabañas is essentially an art museum and cultural institute, so much of the complex is now home to various other forms of art.

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Like glasswork...

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...and metal work...

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...and architectural renderings...

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...and poetry...

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...and map-making...

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...and photographs of sidewalk cracks being covered up by plastic tape.

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A huge tent and seating area were set up inside the main courtyard -- one of 23 courtyards within the Hospicio Cabañas complex.

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Here's the dome of the smaller chapel near the western end of the complex.

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Arches on the edge of the courtyard.

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A look back at the main chapel, the tallest part of the complex.

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A few other visitors relaxing in one of the complex's smaller courtyards.

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Well this is different.

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A green glow inside the small chapel.

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Sunlight through the windows.

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We also have red windows...

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...with blue, white, and yellow paint on the ceiling. Not as ornate as the other dome, but still kind of neat!

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In another courtyard, a piece of art to commemorate the 1968 Mexico City Summer Olympics.

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Outside the Hospicio Cabañas, we have a table. With feet. And eyes. And geometric shapes. Art is weird.

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Another old church -- the Templo San Juan de Dios.

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Nearby is the Plaza de los Mariachis, a touristy-looking spot that celebrates Guadalajara's history in Mariachi music.

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The plaza is heavily sponsored by Pepsi.

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A nearby restaurant is heavily sponsored by Coke. I smell a fight.

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Just some random street art. It's very colorful!

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Oh, and you can't walk five steps in Guadalajara without running into a dress store.

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Wedding dresses, costume dresses, quinceañera dresses, whatever. They are everywhere!

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Even more dresses showcased on a second-floor balcony.

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Gratuitous lens flare shot.

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Back on the street and about to head to dinner with the group.

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Chavas'n Charle's...

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...restaurant turistico familiar. Yep.

Edited by The Great Zo
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Guadalajara Culture Day continued... at night!

 

So, let's jump back to Wednesday, March 25. After sunset, we had a small group go out and do a little more exploring, and I used it as a chance to do some night photography of the city's landmarks.

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We'll start at the gazebo in the Plaza de Armas.

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Nearby, a magician entertains a group of small children, and Caesar.

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Across from the plaza, the Palacio de Gobierno -- with its bullet-holed clock -- glows in the orange light.

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To the north, the cathedral really shines in the dark.

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A view of the west side of the cathedral from Plaza Guadalajara.

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Looking up at the spires of the cathedral.

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Still wish the water was turned on, but here's the fountain in Plaza Guadalajara.

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North of Plaza Guadalajara is the Palacio Municipal de Guadalajara -- city hall.

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Several horses, who are better at parallel parking than I am.

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My favorite of all of Guadalajara's monuments -- the stunning Rotonda de los Jaliscienses Ilustres.

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This one's just north of the cathedral. Written along the top: Jalisco a sus hijos esclarecidos. It's a monument to the illustrious men and women from Jalisco -- and to their contributions to society.

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It's also really well lit, with multiple changing colors!

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The Rotonda and the cathedral, next door neighbors. At the bottom of the picture, you can also see the tops of some of the statues depicting the people who are honored.

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Across the street from the Rotonda, we walked into the Museo Regional de Guadalajara, another centuries-old building now used as a museum. We had no idea what was going on in there -- just kinda wandered in with the locals to check out the art.

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There were lots of artistic musical instruments...

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...as well as native pottery and decorations.

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The courtyard of the Museo Regional, which has a cannon, which is awesome.

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On the east side of the cathedral is the Plaza de la Liberación. On one side, you get a great view of the cathedral.

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On the other side, the main entrance to the Teatro Degollado. This plaza, like the Plaza de Armas, was very busy!

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Also, plenty of room to shoot off your light-up flying toy thing, or try to sell a few to the people passing by.

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With that, we stopped at a nearby Oxxo, grabbed some snacks, then headed back to our hotel. That was a really fun day (well, day and a half) in Guadalajara.

 

What's coming up next? This trip report is about to go off in a different direction, so you'll have to wait to find out...

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wow.. wonderful pictures, and brought back a crapton of memories for me. . as when I was much younger, one of the multiple trips to Mexico my family took was: Mexico City, Guadalajara, and Guanajuato.

 

we stayed in a resort in Guadalajara, but I clearly remember touring the city on a couple of days, and several of your pics are things I saw, and didn't recall until I saw you pic (and my brain went. . that looks familiar!).

 

thanks so much for sharing. Starting off my Friday with some great happy memories

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we stayed in a resort in Guadalajara, but I clearly remember touring the city on a couple of days, and several of your pics are things I saw, and didn't recall until I saw you pic (and my brain went. . that looks familiar!).

 

thanks so much for sharing. Starting off my Friday with some great happy memories

That's awesome! Jogging some old memories. Yep, several landmarks worth remembering, really nice place.

 

There's always room for a Steely Dan reference.

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