Looking back at a Journey

A complex backdrop of diversity, polarity and generations of displacement, make the struggle for Independence a marking point in time for modern Mexico. It is not possible to consider the impact of Independence without considering the many struggles the Nation has faced subsequently.

Most certainly it is a place of great vitality, much development is taking place on many levels. From projects to help those in great need, to large scale development of the formal economy and built environment. If a place is about its people, then the changes are in line with the vitality and optimism of all those I met.

The blog

Starting with a pictorial overview of my trip, followed by some of the portraits.

Each day of the trip is then presented with comments, stories, maps and a few more pictures, in reverse order.

If you want chronological order, scroll to the bottom of the blog and work your way through, day by day.


Day 20:Tepehua Community Centre

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Tepehua is in the hills above Chapala, having been a rural community for so long the people their have had no access to schools, medical or dental help, even employment opportunities have not been available to them. This situation has held back Women in particular, however some time ago an organisation was established to help the people of the area. Please take the opportunity to follow the link and find out more Tepehua Community Center .

Of particular note is that the Center will soon have a prenatal and postnatal screening centre, death in childbirth or due to complications during pregnancy is a great problem in this area.

Their Web Site goes only a small way to give an idea of the impact they have, currently they have four hundred children from the area registered in school, there are a number of young people from the area currently attanding University, sponsored by generous donors and patrons.

The Women of the area have been given skills to make products and provided access to shops for their goods, they have also been taught financial budgeting and management skills. This has empowered many families in the area to begin construction of formal living spaces, something that until now has been beyond their possibilities.

Few pictures of the Center

Many local Women now act as volunteers at the Center, helping out in many ways.

Laura and Rubichela


Many expatriate Women volunteer their time at the Center, at their Shop or in other capacities, one of those is my Mum. For her, the project is about empowering Women in order they become more independent and better able to care for their children, whereby future generations will have dramatically improved life opportunities.

Arleen Foster













Day 19: Ixtlahuacan de los Membrillos

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Membrillo in English is Quince, the festival for the town begins on Saturday and unfortunately I will no longer be here to visit. I shall go to the town in the hope of seeing something of the preparations.

Iztlahuacan de Los Membrillos


Preparations well underway for celebrations. A Mural above the arches of the Municipal Palace hinted at a place nearby, Atequiza. This place was mentioned to me as a place to visit. Not only did Hidalgo visit the area, but much later Poririo Diaz had an Hacienda there. It is home to an important regional theatre as well as being the site of the first Tequila Distillery (not verified). I tried to get there via the back-roads and ended up at a track more than a road, it will have to wait for another visit. Came upon a place called Santa Cruz de la Soledad, from there headed back into Chapala. Stopped at the old railway station, now converted into a Cultural and Arts Centre.

Called in for a Seafood Coctail at El Pinguino, a favourite place of some of the Golfing Fraternity in the area.

El Pinguino



The train apparently ran between Chapala and Mexico City via Guadalajara. On the first part of the track, the train ran from Chapala, through Santa Cruz and Ixtlahuacan and on from there, linking to the main Guadalajara to Mexcico City. For an Academic view of how the Railways impacted on Mexico’s developement follow the link Mexican Railroads

A few pieces at the Chapala Culture and Arts Centre 

Driving around, I almost always fill the car up at the Petrol Station across the road, I usually go to the same attendant and have had several chats with him, I asked Eraclio if I could do a portrait of him. He wanted to be photographed by the pumps, He is a free man because of the struggle for Independence.

Eraclio Aguirre




Day 18: Potrerillo and Las Trojes

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Late morning set out to have a look at the first valley back from the lake, through Potrerillo and on to Las Trojes. Expected to find a massive Berry growing area, there are some extensive growing areas at the entrance to the valley, but as the road climbs the climate changes rapidly. It appears the area is a Maize growing and Cattle ranching area. We got as far as the road would take us, according to the maps there is a road to bring us out on the road between Ajijic and Guadalajara, however it is more of a track than an established road.

A few pictures from today’s trip


On the way back we stopped at Jocotepec, Mark had something to do there. I got talking to a policeman, he is from the State of Tabasco and worked in Jalisco for five years. Independence to him is a tradition. At first not wanting to be photographed, he eventually agreed, although not named here.

Policeman in Jocotepec




Day 17: Tlaquepaque and Guadalajara

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Was going to drive into San Pedro Tlaquepaque  (Tourist type info) on my own, called by Lake Chapala Society to see Mark before I set out. He needed a few things from Guadalajara, it made sense for him to come with me. He did part of the driving, made it possible for me to take photographs along part of the route.

Wandered around taking a few pictures of Tlaquepaque, got chatting to some people and managed to get some very interesting impressions from them of how they see Independence and what it means to them today. Reyes Guillermo Mora Garcia, Silvia Patricia Mora Garcia and her Husband Jose Antonio Murguia Gen, view Independence in terms of Utopia, an ideal, today we are part of a greater level of understanding because of our access to the Internet. We still live in a world where power and authority is in the hands of a relative few, yet our ability to communicate and share ideas with many others around the world increases our capability to act collectively. Guillermo mentioned that they are originally from Guadalajara, they are currently visiting their home city from the State of Morelos where they now live.

A little of San Pedro Tlaquepaque


Reyes Guillermo Mora Garcia, Silvia Patricia Mora Garcia, Jose Antonio Murguia Gen



Also happened upon a rather unobtrusive house, a legend on the entrance way mentions that Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla spent a night, there also the first policital plan for Independence of the Mexican Empire was consummated on the 13th of June 1821 Translation of Plan de Iguala.

Painted on wall at entrance to house


Also came across the gallery of one of my favourite Sculptors, Sergio Bustamante.


With little time to get everything done, Mark and I drove through the central part of Guadalajara, me taking pictures as we went.

A few pictures of Guadalajara drive-through