My weekend trip to Guadalajara was quite interesting.
When I left work on Friday, I immediately went to the airport, took the flight and landed at Guadalajara after an hour flight from Monterrey. While waiting for my Uber cab to pick me up at the airport, the Uber driver and myself had great communication difficulty to locate my exact location, since the airport at Guadalajara is quite big. After a 15-minute struggle and me kept saying "Estoy en Oxxo" (Oxxo is a major convenient store chain in Mexico), I finally got picked up. Poor driver felt sorry about his delay and called his cousin to speak to me in English just to apologize. I must say Mexicans are quite nice people!
I met up with other expats from my company (Kirsty, Matias, Gunay, Oliver), and a local Mexican (Pablo) who also works in my company for dinner. We went to a giant shopping mall at the city called Andares for some great seafood pasta.
On the next day, rather than going to the city center, we decided to go on a train to a town called Tequila. Yes, this town is the origin of all Tequilas and almost the city production to most Tequilas produced in the world. As you can tell from this trip, the train is called the Tequila Express, which all you do is keep drinking tequila.
There are two train operators that take you to see the production of tequila, one is called Jose Cuervo Express and the other is called Tequila Express. These two take you to two different cities, but the idea is the same - you drink tequila non-stop.
Waiting at the train station ....
About to hop on the Jose Cuervo train!
My friend Oliver posing.
Besides the fact that this entire train is heavy Jose Cuervo brand-washing, I enjoyed the tequila shots and cocktails drink made in this trip. On my way to the town, Kirsty recommended me a drink called Paloma. Paloma is a tequila drink mixed with grape-fruit juice.
On our train ride to the town of Tequila, I was surprised to see the vast number of blue agave plants. Agave plants are the original source of tequila. The high concentration of fructose at the core of the plant is used to produce tequila. I was told by Pablo that one tequila plant can produce 4 bottles of tequila. While I saw hundreds and thousands of tequila plants, now I know why the spirit is called tequila.
Jose Cuervo is the founder of the giant tequila company. Cuervo in spanish means crow and that is why the city has many statues of crows, as seen below:
While trying to sober up from tequila drinks, we explored the town a bit and sat an eatery for lunch.
At the beginning of our tour, we had a tequila tasting session, almost like a wine-tasting session. We learned how to smell the tequila glass 3 times and to hold our breath while drinking the tequila. When you breathe out after drinking the shot, you'll realize that the drink doesn't burn!
On our second half of the tour, we learned about the production of tequila. We learned that the workers, called Jimadors, cut the blue agave plants three times in a span of a few years. Once the blue agave plants are riped, the workers will transport the agave plants (which look like pineapples) to a machine to be crushed.
The core of the plants will be squeezed out of the machine and then preserved inside a giant pot. Inside the giant pot, fermentation takes place by puting yeast in them. After the fermentation process, distillation begins (usually 2 - 3 times) to extract the alcohol. In the final stage, the tequila is put inside large barrels. Sometimes, the barrels will be charred to get that wooden flavour.
The average tequila are usually kept in a barrel for around 2 years. However, the really good premium ones are kept inside a barrel for 10-12 years.
At the end of the tour, we were treated with a show of a Jimador cutting a blue agave plant.
On our way back to Guadalajara, we were served with multiple tequila drinks, including shots and cocktails. I could tell you that on the ride, people were having a LOT OF FUN. One thing I can tell you for sure, I've never had that much tequila on one day in my life.
At night time, we went to a club for a few drinks and checked out the night life of Guadalajara. Around 2 am, we were approached by a group of locals asking for our whereabouts since we definitely look like we don't belong here. After 5 minutes of conversation, we were invited to the house of these newly-met strangers. It was a very interesting turn of events and we hopped on to their cars and went to the strangers' house! I clearly remember Kirsty saying that "we're doing exactly the opposite of what parents tell us not to do, and it is possible that we're being sent to a ditch". Anyway, it turns out that these are really friendly people (thank god) and we had a great time. Through them, I was able to learn more about the Mexican culture, how it is very different from the north and the south, and the Sinaloa culture.
We talked till 8:30 am that day.
On the next day, we went to a small town called Chapala (south of Guadalajara) and enjoyed some good relaxing time by the lake.