Thursday, December 30, 2010

A Sidetrip to Tonola . . .

I promised you a lil' side trip to Tonala as we came home from San Miguel de Allende. Last time we got lost on our way thru southern Guadalajara, I was looking frantically for how to to get us back to the Interstate. And Roland was ,apparently, enjoying the scenery (notice a slight difference in our personalities?) Because as we neared Guadalajara, he inquired, "Want to take a jaunt back to Tonala?" I claimed we'd not been there, but as he turned off the Interstate and into the town of Tonola, he pointed out landmarks that even I recalled. We turned away from the central part of town and found a place to park along the plethora of ceramics shops there.

Where we'd stopped there were mainly large to giant sized pots. We just eyed them, much to big to take home in our RV, so we crossed the street where more small sized pieces lay in wait. In 'n out we poked thru various long, deep isles, as most of the shops were, enjoying the colorful Mexican patterns and variety.

Finally, I stumbled across some small pots (actually they were to hold collections of small things in the RV like keys, cell phones or change - sorry, it's the "organizer" in me) that would double as lovely potted plant vessels later on. With all my best haggling approach, I was unable to talk the vendor down from 30pecos to 25pecos ... well, until she said I could get the 25peco price if I bought 3 of them. Ok, guess who won? Yes, she sold three that day :)

As it was late afternoon, Roland stomach calls out more frequentlly than mine, and we begin looking for what would be our lunch-dinner. Opposite the direction of the car, we find a pleasant place which would accept Cody out in the back patio. Whoa - it was a green, sweeping yard, double the interior, with fountain, sculptures, this magnificent Saguro Cactus and even a cage of magnificently colored pheasants (which took the entire time we were there for us to get a translation for what kind of bird they were (on - get this - a "Blackberry"). And, I was happy to see, dangling just above our table, a pomegranate tree full of the beautifully ripe fruits that had so pleasured Roland on his Tlaquepaque entree. Anyway, the setting was better than the lunch . . . but a fun adventure.

Once we get back to the car, we're getting seat-belted in and arranged. As I'd mentioned, the shop where we parked had giant ceramic pieces, like the row of 5 foot "chimineas" lining the street. One of the workers had just walked around to do something behind that front row and then, in - slow - motion we watched of the the biggest specimens slowly tilt towards the street and then crash into pieces on the asphalt. It was like a weird movie scene as several other men came running out to pick up the pieces . . . and then, just carry on.

We have plans to return to Tonola the last Saturday before we start our way home. I've heard the most exquisite craftsmen will be on exhibit in the main town square and I'm excited to see the comparison and quality of more of the artists here, since ceramics are for what Tonola is known.

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