Bridge in Quadalajara

Cathedral in Quadalajara

Garden in Quadalajara

In Quadalajara


Editor's Note: Jennifer Shire is a 19 year-old University of Regina Student attending this semester in Colima Mexico, this past weekend she and a bunch of her American and Canadian fellow students went on a trip to Quadalajara and on to San Miguel where Jennifer, a high school middle distance runner, figure skating instructor and all round athlete, decided to get involved in a "running of the Bulls". Her account of her adventures appears as it came in e-mail to her father. I have raided a few tourist web sites to give you some pictures of the area. The links on this site are the sources for the pictures.
San Miguel Allende's famous Cathedral

In San Miguel

Jennifer and the Bulls

Date: 09/28 5:17 PM
Received: 09/28 7:24 PM
From: Jen, pi0075@campus.col.itesm.mx
To: allan, allan@ftlcomm.com

Ok we left at 3:00 in the morning on Friday for
Guadalajara. When we got there I felt like we were in Canada because I needed a parka. It was so cold! Guadalarajara is actually a very beautiful city. I did see the bad part before, I guess those were the shanty towns. Our taxi driver took us the scenic route and we saw the really nice part of Guadalajara. It's probably the nicest city I have ever seen. We took a cab to this hotel called Fiesta Americana. Very nice, about 300 dollars a night. We met our tour bus there.

We had two bus drivers, one only had one eye and the other smelled like tequila. Our bus ride to
San Miguel was about six hours long, so our travelling time with stops and everything was about twelve hours. Our hotel in San Miguel was so nice. It was very Mexican, I loved it but it's about two-hundred a night too. If you take package deals like we did it's not as expensive. San Miguel is also very nice. It's build on a mini mountain and this huge famous cathedral in the downtown.

Friday night we went to a disco called the Mamamia. It was all right but they didn't play the greatest music.

The bulls on Saturday were supposed to be released at 12:00 so we went at 10:00. Everyone is supposed to wear white shirts, jeans and a red bandana. I bought one for ten pesos that said San Miguel '98 on it. Before the bulls were released they had the queen parade around for about thirty minutes and wasted our time because the bulls weren't released until 2:00. Where they ran was around the centro in a big square.

We were camped up where the bulls were being released on the steps of the cathedral. People are crazy. They brought the trucks out and they were only about fifty meters from us and I started to get a little worried. The men on the truck started throwing these red socks in the air. They had red powder in them and it got all over you. Then I starting looking around and I realized I was the only girl around. There was no way I could get out though. We were packed in there. In the paper the next day I read that there were 13,000 people. It was like being in the mosh pit at Edgefest again except ten times worse.

Me, Mark and Justin went running and the rest stayed on the steps. We were standing farther back to the edge of the street to begin with. It was terrible because all the people in the middle ran back there and squished us. They released 11 bulls in all and they evenually were in the square all at the same time. We decided to get closer because we couldn't even see them coming we were so squished. (Is mom breathing OK?) We went to the middle of the street and I saw that some of them were young and just steer size but others were so big. They started running in packs and then things got bad. Since I was closer now I could see people getting hurt and run over. They were running really close to us now and we had met these guys from Mexico City and they had done this before and were running out and touching them. The one guy took me with him and I hit one on the butt. Everyone cheers if you get to touch one and since I was the only girl everyone was kind of laughing and cheering for me to go again but once was enough and I'm not as stupid as Danny. (Danny is Jennifer's cousin who is a rodeo bull rider)

After, we went to the
bull fight. Everyone in the stadium was drunk or close to it and the opposite sides were screaming at each other. I know every Spanish swear word now. The matadors came out and crossed themselves. For each fight there is the main matador and then he has two or three others with him. After they play with the bull for a while, two men on horses come out with spears. They spear the bulls in the back a whole bunch of times. They treat the horses really bad because the matadors lead the bull to the them and they ram the horses. (Jamee would not like this at all). (Jamee is a Danny's wife and a rodeo barrel racer)

I think they spear them so many times to make the spot easier to put the stick things in later. Then they play with him more and the matadors stick the thinks with the blades in them in the bulls back two at a time. There's six in all. The bulls are bleeding really bad by this time. Now the matador starts doing tricks kind of like going on his knees and turning around and stuff. After he gets a sword and the crowd is silent and Mariachi start playing. He stands in front of th bull with the sword up and stares at him and then runs and drives it down in the bulls back. The bull dies a few minutes later and is dragged out by donkeys. The matador walks around the stadium then and people throw hats and roses at him. I didn't have my camera because I left it with this girl when I went running and she wasn't sitting with me, so I'll have to get pictures from someone else.

There were six bull fights. I can't believe they killed six bulls. I tried to explain to the Mexican man beside me that this would never happen in Canada. He said these bulls are born and raised for this. The first matador was the best. He kneeled down with his back to the bull and he bent down to look the bull in the eye about an inch away. Nothing happened to him ever. The others though who tried to kneel were bucked away by the bull. A man at the door gave me the poster from the fight. I got sun burned really bad on Saturday because I was in the sun during the hottest part of the day.

Saturday night me and four other girls and Mark went to the downtown to this disco that was supposed to be really good. Cover at all the bars Saturday night was 200 pesos about 40 dollars. We didn't go. We just went to the centro because it was a like a big party and there was lots of Mariachi. Krist and Mark went off in search of some beer and the rest of us stayed on this bench. I didn't think I would ever say this, but I really wish guys would leave me alone. All of us there were blonde and we get enough whistles and honks in Colima everyday, but that was nothing. I have never been so harassed in my life. We were a circus attraction. I was honestly looking around me for something to start beating them off with. Mark finally came back and we told him what happened. He went and sat on a bench farther away to see if it would happen again. We were approached by eighteen guys in twenty-six minutes. They were crude, obnoxious, drunk and really annoying. They really wouldn't have hurt us, but they all just wanted to meet and talk to the Blonde Barbie Girls. There honestly was a line of guys waiting to talk to us. So we ended up going home pretty early.

About 7:30 on Sun. morning we were awakened by screaming out in our hotel pool. We couldn't sleep anyway so me, Jenny, and Emily went out to the pool to swim before breakfast. There were about fifteen wasted guys in the pool. Two of them were ones from the night before.. They hadn't slept yet and they had just taken off their clothes and jumped in the pool. They were really funny. We went shopping later in the morning and mom and Auntie Linda would go nuts here. The really nice things are the furniture, but there is no way to get it back. I found a really nice candle set that would have been a good gift for Auntie Linda but I'm still getting them a hammock. The candles are all made in Guadalajara so we figure when we go that we'll go to the factory and get some there. We went to the cathedral to look around inside but they were having mass. I bought a beautiful rosary for Laura. After the service, indiginous dancers were dancing to a cross monument outside. We had to go back to the hotel though because our bus was leaving at 2:00.

Our bus didn't leave at 2:00. We were packed and waiting outside and I had a bad feeling in my stomach. I went in to the front desk and found out the bus left an hour ago. San Miguel is about 10 hours away from Colima and we missed our bus. Luckily the front dest manager was helpful and we found a bus to Guadalajara. When we got to Guadalajara we just caught the last bus to Colima. We got home last night around 1:30. I did not sleep well because it was raining really hard and Lika was barking because she's afraid of the thunder. Unknown to me, mom let her in. After a big crack, she managed to knock my door open and jump right on top of me at about 3:30 in the morning. This dog has a serious death wish. I screamed because I was sleeping and didn't know what had happened and woke everyone up.. Michelle thought this was real funny. Yah, ha ha ha.

My culrure teacher has friends that are archaeologists and he's going to ask if there's any room for some help. He's also asking his mom who runs a culture program if they need any help tutoring English. He's really nice, he was giving me information on the good archaeological schools here and sights that I should go see.

Love Jen