Settling in to GDL

As my wise friend Sally just said, “You have to be adaptable to do what you’re doing.” She’s so right! As you know, Guadalajara was our consolation prize after Morocco shut down and we really didn’t know what to expect. Our first few days left us wondering if we had made a good choice. We just couldn’t get a grip on the city or where the center of things was. The grocery store near us is meh and we wandered a bit into a neighborhood that didn’t feel great. Plus, we’re on US time, so we were working during the day, which didn’t leave a lot of time for exploring.

Then, we had brunch with Kenta and Doug and everything started to fall into place. The grocery store near them is much nicer and they gave us some ideas of where to explore. We are wanderers and without an idea of where to roam, we were a little out of sorts. Plus, we wrapped our brains around the idea that we live here, as temporary as it may be. We’re not really tourists, so it’s OK that we’re not in touristaville surrounded by overpriced souvenirs.

We’re beginning to realize what a livable city this is (especially if you have US $$$$$$). Uber to the nice grocery store? $3. Delicious breakfast across the street at Pata de Elefante? $20 for two with tip. Stroll in the evening after work? 70+ degrees and taco stands everywhere.

Doug also explained to us the eating habits of Guadalajarans (and Mexicans in general, I think). Desayuno gets you started in the morning with a decent-size meal. The main comida is around 2-3:30 or so. Cena, in the evening after 7, is a light meal. Since we were eating our main meal around lunch anyway and then having salad for dinner, we have shifted to this. So far, so good.

To top it off, as we strolled the neighborhood, we stumbled upon Pasaje Yoga a few minutes walk from our place and attended a class last night. The Vinyasa flow kicked our butts (headstand and handstands with splits? I think not), but everyone was friendly and the yogi even translated instructions into English for us. (Gracias, Martín!) I understood a bit, but English definitely helped. We’ll be going back for sure and all the body parts in Spanish will be cemented in my brain. I already have perro arriba y perro abajo down although I doubt Martín will have me doing headstands anytime soon (the death marches of Istanbul have given way to the yoga torture of Mexico!).

After a week, we are starting to understand how we can live comfortably here. Sally is right. What really helped us was the adaptability. We are realizing that the first week in a new place is unsettling. (Duh! sometimes we’re not so smart.) This time may have even been a bit rougher because we hadn’t spent months anticipating and dreaming. A secondary factor is our schedule. In all our other wanderings we had the days free and didn’t start working until mid-afternoon (except when I was taking French classes). We had to recalibrate our daily schedule and expectations.

Now if I could just stop saying s’il vous plaît instead of por favor!

I’m Struggling Here

I know it’s only Halloween (boo!), but I am already trying to figure out what to do for winter break. I’m probably traveling solo since Steven has a lot of work and won’t be able to get away. Part of me is thinking, “Yay, I haven’t traveled solo unless it was to visit a friend, for a few years.” The other part of me is thinking, “Boo! We just got married and we are spending Thanksgiving apart (that’s another story) so maybe I should stay home.”

I’ve been toying with heading to Big Bend National Park and maybe hanging out in Marfa for a day or two, but do I want to do it solo? I could head to a beach, but that just sounds blah, I’m not a lay on the beach person–although I may feel differently once we have a few below-freezing days. Maybe a yoga retreat? but those tend to be booked early and aren’t exactly budget vacations. I could go back to Mt. Peale Animal Sanctuary; however, flying to Grand Junction (the closest airport) isn’t cheap. Really, flying anywhere at winter break isn’t cheap.  Wah, wah, wah. I know I have nothing to complain about, but I love to dream of travel and my dreams are feeling a bit thin right now.

Updates to come in the next few weeks as I either come up with a brilliant plan or decide to stay home with my sweetie.



Lessons Learned

We’ve been home for almost a week now, and I’ve had some time to reflect. We travel well and had a great time. We also learned some things and thought about options not taken.

Hands down our best purchase were walking sticks. My old hips did not hurt one bit. I thought my arms would ache because they were sharing the burden, but they did not.

Your hiking boots are your best friends on the trail. Make sure they fit well and will take a beating.

We got Montem Ultra Strong Trekking Poles, at the recommendation of many reviews, including Wirecutter. They were $50, half the price of others we saw, and well worth it. The only issue we had was the loss of a rubber tip in the rocks on The Narrows hike. No big deal.

Steven upgraded my CamelBak, since mine was circa 1998 (for reals), and it really helped to have the back of the pack arch away from my body. The new-to-me way to secure the bladder kept me from muttering under my breath every time I had to remove it from the pack and it has a handy, soft pouch to keep glasses safe.

We planned a couple of 4-day stays so we could unpack and catch our breath. Moving every day can get tiring. We also worked it out so that our AirB&B had laundry mid-trip–perfect timing. It helps to buy tons of T-shirts, too.

Flexibility within the structure is our M.O., but that leads to some extra driving. We could have stayed closer to any of the parks, but we didn’t want to hem ourselves in and were willing to drive. The other problem with that was we didn’t think far enough in advance to get a permit for the Fiery Furnace in Arches. Oh well. There’s so much to do, we certainly didn’t lack for options. If you’re more of a rigid itinerary-maker, you might have had a shorter drive to Zion, but that’s a trade-off we are willing to make. It also allowed us the flexibility not to return a second day to the Grand Canyon, mostly because the drive was a little too harrowing for Steven.

For all you yogis out there: Taking a class on vacation is not only a great way to shift from driving, hiking, or whatever is scrunching your muscles, but it also gives you a lovely snapshot of the community in which your temporarily residing.

Santa Fe Trail

This picture is totally gratuitous, but I couldn’t resist because this woman is biking with a dog in her backpack!

After three days of driving, eating, and one too many beers, we decided yoga was in order. We went to Yoga Source, which has two studios. We went to the brand new one on Guadalupe and took an Iyengar class, which neither of us had done before. It was both energizing and really helped us stretch out our car-weary selves.

From there we headed to Santa Fe classic Cafe Pasqual’s for New Mexican breakfast (for me) and lunch (for Steven). I couldn’t decide between my all-time favorite huevos rancheros and the corn cakes, so I got a cake on the side with the eggs. I love the Santa Fe chile heat. Steven had a chicken sandwich with a New Mexican twist and apple-fennel salad plus some corn cake. You really can’t go wrong there.

Since we were in the plaza, we decided to walk around, but I hadn’t been in Santa Fe for _____ (I don’t want to say, it’s depressing) years and it is really really touristy in the plaza. We walked up and down a few blocks and then, since neither of us is really a shopper, we headed for Canyon Road and the galleries. But again, yeah, wimg_20180618_161640544.jpge’re really not buying anything sooooo, we decided on a hike. Unfortunately some of the wilderness areas are closed because of fire danger, so we went to the Dale Ball Trails. This encompasses a series of short trails in the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo that you can cobble together into as long and arduous a hike as you would like.The trail is well marked with maps at every fork, so you can make decisions about how far you want to go. It was hot and there is really no cover, but it felt great to stretch our legs and be on hills. Plus, we did get some beautiful views.

For dinner, we walked from our AirBnB to the Tune-Up Cafe for Savadoran inspired deliciousness on the outdoor patio.