Zamora, with its
current population of 128,000, was founded in 1574 and has a
classical ambiance to it, sort of like a mini
Oaxaca. At 1560 meters elevation,
it is located about 190 km southeast of Guadalajara, and about 115
km northwest of Uruapan. We counted fifteen churches in the town
plus the Cathedral, but was told there were many more, each one different
in size and architecture. This Church is located at the main square.
active, with lots of music and well tended plants, this plaza makes for a
welcoming feel. All Mexican towns have a Plaza and Zamora is no
exception. Usually they are the town's meeting place and the local
governments put on various displays and functions there. If you're
looking for a pleasant way to relax, you go to the center of town, sit and people-watch or perhaps have an ice cream.
colorful trinkets along side well-stocked stores in beautifully
maintained buildings. During holidays these town centers are
decorated and many times have music and live bands drawing large
audiences. The sales people take advantage of the crowds drawn to
the activities to hawk their wares. An enviable
location for businesses, restaurants
normally line the plaza square.
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Spanish architecture with pink stones against the whitewashed paint
is very attractive. We had lunch at a little shop looking out on this
fountain and the mellow atmosphere of the locals.
Corn grilled on
open coals like this is a common sight in Mexico and a favorite of
its people. It's a chewy type of corn, not quite like hominy. A
squeeze of lime, some salt and hot sauce and you have a tasty treat.
Sometimes it will be served with a grated cheese and butter mixture.
Mexican food is known to be very spicy which is mainly due to the
use of chili
peppers. Chili con Carne is a
staple and can be modified from any
traditional chili recipe.
Fruit stalls are
everywhere in Mexico too. Jicama, papayas, melons, limes,
pineapples, cucumbers with spicy salsa, and more are sold at these
stands for about 10 Pesos a serving. It's prudent to watch for a while
to see if vendors handle money with plastic bags over their hands
before chopping more fruit and serving the next customer. It's a
good value if sellers are clean.
bowl-type container on the left of the photo is an agua fresca -
a drink made with water and fresh fruit juices, an infusion of
leaves or flowers, or even a white, sweet beverage made from
pulverized rice and cinnamon. The one in the photo is made from red hibiscus flowers, sweetened with sugar and served
cold. It's a bit tart like cranberry juice and full of vitamin C.
The bags to the top right filled with fruit are 10 Peso portions of
watermelon and papaya. The bags in the center are filled with sugar
cane. One chews on the cane to enjoy the sweetness, and then you
spit out the stringy core.
As we mentioned
before, meeting at the lively Plaza is a Mexican way of life.
Fountains, gazebos, restaurants, stores, lots of plants and flowers,
wrought iron benches, music, ice cream vendors, balloons, toys...
It's a comfortable way to spend a few hours and join friends.
Mexican weather is suitable to this sort of open air living. In the
north we have closed-in malls where people gather to shop, walk and
eat, but it's not the same as this outdoor living.
Ok, the question here
is.... which one is Akaisha? Yikes!!
Getting ready for
Halloween and the Day of the Dead celebrations.
architecture in this charming city. Another one of the many different
looking churches in Zamora
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Zamora is famous
for the Our Lady of Guadalupe Unfinished Cathedral, or as
it's known locally, the Catedral Inconclusa. Begun in 1898, it will
stand at 105 meters tall when finished and will be the second
tallest church in Mexico. Making a vivid visual statement, the large plaza in front
for the faithful to gather is an assertion of the power and wealth
of the Catholic religion in Mexico.
But in just plain
English... this place is awesome!
We found out
about a free dance concert at Teatro Obrero right next door to the
Catedral Inconclusa. These ladies are waiting their turn to dance on
stage and are wearing the costumes of the period when the Spanish
were in charge of the city of Zamora, before the Mexican revolution.
This is a Mexican
Folklorico dance done with lots of stamping of feet and colorful
waving and swishing of the heavy dresses that the women wear. The dance is native
to the Jalisco State in Mexico.
This dance is
from Baja California Norte. Cowboy hats, beautiful women in skirts,
and a whole lotta thumping of their white boots. Clearly the
favorite of the audience for the evening. These guys and gals were
Breakfast at El Campanario the next day. A freshly cut fruit cup with
apple, strawberry, melon, papaya, pineapple, yogurt,
granola and almonds. Simply scrumptious, don't you think?
Rancheros and cappuccino for the two of us on the left, and some
of the best looking pancakes I have ever seen for Dennis in the
middle. Martha scored the fruit cup.
Rancheros in Mexico is a real delight and something hard for us
to pass up. Every flavor is authentic and mixes together
unforgettably. Also, in the center of the table was a basket
overflowing with fresh bread, butter and jam. 165 Pesos for our
Here, Senor Billy
speaks to his masses of fans below. Aaah, yes. Fantasies are sweet,
Perhaps the car
on the right is the future of General Motors, we're not sure.
However, for certain, the car on the right isn't as fast as the one
on the left, doesn't use as much fuel, and isn't as safe either.
But, um... it's an option.
It does, however,
have seat belts! I feel a lot more comfortable now...
we discovered this cooking school.
chefs-in-training heard that Billy was educated as a French chef and
had worked in France, they were eager to get advice and gain insight
into the business of restaurant ownership.
Later on in the
evening we returned to the plaza to find colorful and fun family
life. Big brother is dumping a confetti-stuffed eggshell over his sister and cousin's heads.
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Earlier in the
day, when Billy was having fun posing for a photo of himself shining our friend Dennis' shoes, a local man took note of the
humor. When he later saw us all in the plaza that evening, he
approached us and asked if we would like to see the Mayor's
government building used to be the town's prison, but it was
renovated into the offices we visited. Still, the rooms on the first
floor maintained that jail cell feeling. The upstairs was expansive
Here Billy is
right at home sitting in the seat of power. What was I saying
earlier about sweet fantasies? Note the photo of the gorgeous wife
and children on the table to the left. Not Billy's!
Honey? Wake uuup...
Extensive breakfast buffet
at Casa Carmelita. Outstanding assortment of fruits, desserts,
granola, nuts, yogurt, a full selection of fresh squeezed juices, eggs,
local chicken dishes, tamales, gorditas, quesadillas, frijoles,
regional Mexican cultural dishes, coffee and tea. 80 Pesos for one, 140
Pesos for two. Most certainly recommended.
Gated garden entrance with 4 floors of new condos for sale located
in central Zamora. With its handy placement in town, it still
maintained a quietness unusual for city living. A workable
opportunity for a home base in Mexico.
Choice of 900 sq.
foot homes or 1200 sq. foot for from $57,000 USD to $100,000 USD. Includes water,
trash pickup, gardener, and security.
Here you see the
kitchen and front room with a hallway to the 3 bedrooms, some with
balconies. Each condo had two bathrooms, a pantry and a utility
room. No furniture or appliances were provided, but they were brand
new with an open air feeling.
Here's an expansive view of
the mountains and churches from top of
the building. Below, there is off-street gated parking for
Here you see modern appliance
stores, well kept streets, and a good mix of small vendor
entrepreneurialism that keeps Mexicans alive. Street vendors are a
way of life here in Mexico and make up about 40% of the country's
walkways between shops are a visual delight. This could be a
boutique mall anywhere!
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Quite the clean
town, and modern too with cell phone stores, motorbikes, University
students and shoppers. With its casual and classical way, we were impressed with Zamora.
is colorful and festive. One reason is as good as another to have a party
and to celebrate. Balloons, streamers, cut paper decorations and
anything that sparkles! Don't forget the music! To be sure, they won't!