President Barack Obama flew south of the border to Guadalajara, Mexico, Sunday evening to meet with Mexico's President Felipe Calderon and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
Guadalajara is Mexico's second largest city with a population of around 3 million and I lived there for almost four years. I feel like it's my second home, after Chicago, and it is really a beautiful city with a rich colonial history and a thriving arts and culture scene.
Here are five fun facts about Guadalajara. On Monday, I will follow up with a more serious post on five substantive topics these three leaders should discuss at their summit of North American Leaders.
1) The building where the three leaders are meeting Sunday night is called the Instituto Cultural Cabañas. It's an amazing neo-classical building and was once an orphanage. Today it is a site for concerts and art openings. It also contains famous murals by Jose Clemente Orzoco, one of the fathers of Mexico's muralist movement.
2) Obama made history with his election as our first African-American president. Guadalajara is the site where Mexico first moved to abolish slavery; there were indigenous and African slaves in Mexico. The Government Palace in Guadalajara is where Padre Miguel Hidalgo proclaimed the abolition of slavery in Mexico in 1810. Inside the Hall of Deputies Orozco painted a mural to commemorate this historic act.
3) Guadalajara is located in the state of Jalisco, which is the
birthplace of tequila and mariachi music. The town of Tequila is about an
hour west of the city and Cocula, the birthplace of mariachi, is about
an hour southwest. Obama will be in Mexico less than 24 hours so he
probably won't have time to visit but hopefully he will get to hear and
taste some of Mexico's cultural heritage.
4) Guadalajara hosts the largest book festival in Latin America
called the Feria Internacional del Libro. The week-long festival of
literature, music and culture takes place every fall.
5) We know Obama is a White Sox fan. But maybe he might like the Chivas.
They are the city's soccer team and some argue they are the best team
in Latin America. Chivas literally translated means female goats.