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jerezano

Nov 21, 2007, 7:03 AM

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Aaguasclientes, the city and the state

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Hello all:

As a resident of Jerez, Zacatecas, I live close by to Aguascalientes. I have visited the city many times and I have also visited much of the state. So, here is my take on Aguascalientes.

First of all, the state of Aguascalientes is a very rich agricultural region which unfortunately Zacatecas lost during the régimen of Santa Ana. Very rich in comparison with Zacatecas. The agriculture part of the state's economy is very robust and prosperous.

Second: Aguascalientes city has always been an industrial city since it was for years the center of the railroad industry in México. They manufactured rail cars and engines, etc. Why? Because Aguascalientes is almost exactly in the geographic center of Mexico and because the rail networks centered there. As the years went by and the rails declined, Aguascalientes administrations were forward thinking and encouraged new industries. So the city has always been prosperous, and has had a sustained growth.

Aguascalientes is a large city, it is a growing city, its administration is still forward looking and encourages new industries, new universities, new residents, and new technology.

It has never been on the American circuit of tourists just because of its big city ambience. Nevertheless the European tourists seem to love it. One always encounter there at some of the more popular downtown restarants Germans, French, Spanish, English and sometimes Northern Tier Europeans, Swedish, Finnish. I have never visited Aguascalientes without meeting at least one European visitor.

As to attractions: Aguascalientes has a very active and high quality program of music, art, literature, and local customs all directed at its residents, not the tourist. It has some five or six universities. It has many bookstores. It has interesting markets. It has interesting colonial buildings. Its textile industry is famous in Méico. The main plaza is extremely attractive having been restored at great cost several years ago, putting a major parking area beneath it, replanting full-grown trees and renovating around the plaza many of the buildings. And it is a busy plaza. It is always occupied by something going on. The municipal palace is on the Plaza and contains some excellent murals. The tourist office is easy to find and in addition to the always available brochures on Playas, beach towns like Acapulco, PV, etc has, wonder of wonders, information about Aguascalientes and environs.

As to special events the Feria de San Marcos is famous all over Mexico. It is the one Fair that all Mexicans want to go to at least once. I attended one year for two or three days and had difficulty deciding which of the many events I would attend. Many of us do not like bull fights, but the MOST ELEGANT and interesting bull fight I have ever seen was during that Fair. Better than Mexico City, better than Guadalajara, better than any of the many I have seen in Zacatecas. Music festivals in Aguascalientes have also become famous throughout México.

The climate is Aguascalientes is equitable, much more temperate than here in Zacatecas. There are also many spas which are very popular and cheap.

So, I obviously like Aguascalientes despite the horrible traffic (which is very polite and accomodating--especially the taxi drivers and very unlike Guadalajara or Zacatecas) and the other big city problems such as occasional smog. Would I live there? No. I can't stand big cities. I prefer smaller ones.

So, are there many smaller towns around Aguascalientes where I could live comfortably near all the advantages of the big city? Yes.

I hope this helps the original posters with questions about Aguascalientes. I also hope this bypasses the unfortunate clash of opinions on the other thread. Like Jennifer, like Tony, I cannot see why other peoples opinions are not treated with respect. Enough preaching.

Adiós. jerezano



Bloviator

Nov 21, 2007, 7:56 AM

Post #2 of 11 (1673 views)

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Re: [jerezano] Aaguasclientes, the city and the state

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According to some Nissan people I spoke with, all Nissans sold in Mexico are produced in AC. Although, I did some research before visiting the city, I was not aware that it was as large as it is. It is interesting that it was the center or railroad transportation in the past and a major hub for that region.

It is interesting that there are numerous cities in Mexico that are quite prosperous. Those who consider Mexico 3rd World should visit some of them. Evidently AC is one of those prosperous cities with a thriving economy and a lot of interesting places to visit.

Like you, I prefer smaller towns and I feel more comfortable in them. Perhaps that is why my impressions in my very short visit were negative. As I'm planning to visit both Leon and the northern finger area of Jalisco in the fairly near future, perhaps I should try again to check out AC as part of either trip.

Again, I apologize to anyone who was offended by my negative impressions of AC. Unfortunately, they were what I observed and wrote about.


cdubee

Nov 21, 2007, 8:33 AM

Post #3 of 11 (1663 views)

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Re: [jerezano] Aaguasclientes, the city and the state

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Thanks so much for a very interesting essay from someone north of the border who loves Mexico and is always looking for some new details to learn. Now, how about some photographs? Christine


Glenn

Nov 21, 2007, 11:16 AM

Post #4 of 11 (1638 views)

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Re: [jerezano] Aaguasclientes, the city and the state

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Thank you for an outstanding post on AC. Like you, I also prefer smaller towns that are an easy drive to the city.
Debra


Oscar2

Nov 21, 2007, 11:23 AM

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Re: [jerezano] Aaguasclientes, the city and the state

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You came through again Jerezano, why, because your highlights were not only informative, experienced but better yet, you took the time needed to savor that which is beneath the surface. The long years you’ve been and spent in Mexico has spawned an acceptance and way of life framed by close ties, friends and more which lives and is now clearly part of you. This comes across, and easily seen from time to time.

My visit to Aguascalientes, was only for a week or so but within that week, we were very active and canvassed that city with the kind of interest and passion of one who liked, seen and felt great possibilities existed. With this outlook and sense of wanting to belong, we, as a natural tendency enjoy networking with people and the only way of doing this is start communicating with them and that we certainly did with gusto and it paid off.

During the time we were there vigorously looking for a new life, of course we spoke to nothing but the locals, obviously, but had a good time doing it. Each conversation, each question they answered opened up other windows of interest and before you knew it, after inviting a few of those we were interested in for a snack or dinner, some friendships and connections emerged.

To this day, Aguas has much more meaning and is special because we integrated and came up with special friends who were not only nice, warm and giving but also very pleasant to be around. One was a very successful builder in Aguas and because we took a liking to each other, he invited us a couple of times to his house for dinner with his family of 4 which included a good looking girl friend, (Alma meaning soul) his mother and 2 daughters.

Alma’s mother had a small business in town, made, and sold gorditas for a living and Alma, routinely helped her make this living. Alma was a lovely young woman of 24 with a 5-year-old child. Jorge, her other half, born in Aguas, at age 37 has a sense of character that has been well honed from very hard times in his youth where early on he was involved in a car accident which left him only physically crippled for many years.

I say only physically crippled because Jorge, a big man, through the years has outgrown his wheel chair, braces on his legs and now is very mobile and capable with only a cane. He has a quick smile, affable and smart, which helps make his building business so successful. He too, like me, came up from meager beginnings and hard times but business wise we prevailed and we both enjoyed swapping stories over icy cold Martini’s.

Alma and Jorge enjoyed showing us the town. We’d go to exclusive little finds like a Crepes Only little restaurant and pick from a large assortment of tantalizing, mouth watering crepes. Afterwards we’d hit the night club scene for a vigorous night out of cocktails and hot rock-n-roll dancing till the wee hours. Life was fun and good.

As mentioned in other posts, Jorge is an excellent builder and has a large company, which builds custom homes. Of course, Jorge is a proud person and at one of those times, we were with him he enjoyed taking us to see the five new gorgeous homes he was building simultaneously with very large and busy crews.



Needless to say, we hit it off well. In the interim, we met and had dinner and breakfast with others (another story) who we will see again when we get down there. What’s funny but yet intriguing and so alluring is that structures help but much more meaningful and important are those intangible things within a city that can be endearing. Reaching out to others sometimes holds the key.

I know, another rant……..Laugh

Christine, I have more photos but can only upload as attachments one at a time. Here’s another Aguas house.
Attachments: AnotherAGS House-1.jpg (75.5 KB)


Oscar2

Nov 21, 2007, 2:29 PM

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Re: [Glen & Debra] Aaguasclientes, the city and the state

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Debra, like you and others, I too like the small town or suburb type atmosphere and have lived in one for more years than I’d like to remember……
Of course, after so long, the natural draw for such dwellings become second nature. Fortunately, in some large cities like Guad and Aguas, there exist small little hamlets if you will, that have all the characteristics and infrastructure of just that.

This kind of up and coming atmosphere is now burgeoning on the extreme north side of Aguas. Shopping at attractive malls, Costco’s, Walmarts, hip, up to date restaurants and a variety of what big cities offer are now like on the North side of town, kind of away from most major traffic and industry, just like most other big cities.

Pulgas Panda Norte and Sur on this northern part of the city are A-typical of this environment. Some of the lovely homes shown in the photos were from Pulgas Panda, Lomas Del Campestre, Club Campestre de Aguasclientes and I can just go on and on. Northern communities with the kind of small town but clean attractive living are what I too looked for because yes, this is what I am also accustomed to.

If and when you make your visit get a Guia Roji map of Ciudad de Aguascalientes at Oxxo’s and while your there request the small weekly magazines of all the latest home sales of the city plus ask which is the most popular city newspaper with home rentals and sales. These are invaluable tools. With these in hand, sit there at Oxxo’s tables over a beverage or nice cup of coffee and review what you have. Call around to various real estate people listed in these periodicals and tell them what you are interested in and they will be more than happy to accommodate, especially if you’re American. Get a cell phone where you can make calls within Mexico. This forum has a myriad of cell phone ideas.

In another post, I will sojourn into the beauty of the land at the very south end of Aguas, where green pastoral vistas, with mountainous backdrops is a place I too have reminisced about building a very nice home on. Photo included.

(This post was edited by Oscar2 on Nov 21, 2007, 3:37 PM)
Attachments: Aguas Lots for sale-1.jpg (77.8 KB)


Jane.Wilkinson


Nov 21, 2007, 3:57 PM

Post #7 of 11 (1567 views)

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Re: [jerezano] Aaguasclientes, the city and the state

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I thought I'd put in a plug for Aguascalientes and points north. We enjoyed Aguascalientes during our short visit. We saw nary a Gringo in Aguascalientes, but many Japanese, owing to the enormous Nissan complex on the edge of the city. The city also has many textile mills and is an agricultural center, making it quite prosperous. Its colonial Centro is not as impressive as some of the other cities we have visited, but it appeared to be doing the utmost with what it has. Most appealing was the extensive network of pedestrian-only streets leading to a newer architecturally pleasing area that serves as the locus of Mexico’s largest commercial exposition. The fair takes place in April and the preparatory work was feverish.

On leaving Aguascalientes, we drove north to a place called Real de Asientos, a newly designated "Pueblo Mágico." We have previously visited at least 2/3rds of the 30 or so towns that are so designated, including Taxco, Pátzcuaro, Bernal, San Cristobal de las Casas, San Miguel de Allende, Alamos and Real de Catorce. Real de Asientos was founded in 1548 and its source of wealth, not surprisingly, was mining. What we discovered was a town not quite up to the standards of the other Pueblos Magicos. However, it easily made up for that with its overwhelming friendliness and enthusiasm and it became the highlight of our 2007 visit to Mexico.

Our first stop was just short of the town at an ex-convent whose side yard had been converted to a family park. A group was preparing a picnic in the park and several women were dressed in traditional costumes. We assumed it had to do with the day being some sort of holiday. We were surprised when someone came over and asked us to join them for a "breakfast," featuring Chichimecan rabbit. We could hardly refuse. They sat us down at a picnic table and delivered big clay pots full of, yes, Chichimecan rabbit (rabbit stewed in a hot salsa), frijoles quebrados (broken beans), a regional bean dish, atole, (a traditional sweet drink made with toasted cornmeal, milk and sugar) a type of cornbread, a big flour biscuit that people in turn break pieces off of, and tamales. It was all new to us and quite tasty. It turned out that the group, headed by the town's ebullient mayor, was at the park to make a video promoting the town. However, the camera crew failed to show up, so they saw us and decided we should be their guests since they had so much food. We had a wonderful time and then we proceeded into town, with the mayor advising us to not miss seeing the tunnels under the town.

In the village, we asked policeman for directions to the tunnels. He not only gave us directions, but also radioed over to make sure there would be a guide waiting for us. This fellow was very gregarious and loved to chat. He also took us into the non-nondescript municipal building to show off the historical murals inside and a life-size tin Mariachi ensemble.

We next went to a room behind the church that serves as the main entrance to the tunnels. We turned the dogs over to the care of the friendly receptionist, who didn't mind us tying them to a chair in her office and joined a tour group being formed. “Laura,” our tour guide for both the tunnels and the church’s art treasures, was very knowledgeable but spoke rapidly so I only caught about half of what she said. About eight friendly people comprised our tour group and they even invited us to join them for lunch. We demurred, however, since we were still very full from the Chichimecan rabbit breakfast. Laura then voluntarily gave us a private tour of the rest of the church. She expected me to translate everything for my husband, so I gamely did my best.

When we returned to fetch los perros, we found a group of people crowded into the receptionist's office, all intently gazing at Pancho and Milo (and visa versa, I would imagine). Back on the square, a boy approached me and said "hola Pancho Villa" to Pancho. I said, "oh, you know Pancho already?" He said he did, because he heard his barking from the receptionist's office and had gone to investigate. Our new friend (Juan, age 13) then offered to be our guide over to the Templo Guadalupe and the old cemetery and lovely succulent garden behind it. It turned out that the only way you could enter the cemetery and garden was to knock on the church annex door and ask the sexton to unlock it, which Juan did. He then proceeded to give us an informed tour of the interior, and also took us to a small park and pointed out other historical buildings. Although we felt like visiting royalty, we finally left, mainly because we were getting very tired. We drove on to Zacatecas.

Zacatecas, in my opinion, is one of the most beautiful cities in Mexico, but somewhat off the beaten path for tourists. There were as many European tourists there as North Americans, I think. At 8000 feet and very hilly, it takes some acclimating. Its silver wealth was once among the greatest in Mexico and much of that was left behind in the form of fabulous buildings in a large, faithfully maintained colonial center. I’m not certain what drives its economy, but it appears to be doing well. (I read, however, that more people from the state of Zacatecas live in Los Angeles than in Zacatecas). It must get quite a few visitors because it has a number of first-class hotels. The most spectacular is the Quinta Real, which transformed an old bullring, set against an 18th century aqueduct, into a luxury hotel. The city also has some very good art museums, thanks in part to donors who amassed great collections with their mining wealth. Zacatecas is one of the chilliest Mexican cities. Although it was in the 70’s and sunny during the day, it got very cold at night. (This was in late March).

You can see our photos of these places (as well as others in Mexico), at http://bestofmex.shutterfly.com/action/
Click on the 2007 photos (with "Generalissimo Chihauhau" on the cover), and the Aguascalientes and Real de Asientos photos will appear first. Zacatecas starts with photo #97. I've lots of photos from all over Mexico this site-scroll down at the web address above.

Jane Wilkinson
aka Gringodog


bournemouth

Nov 21, 2007, 5:08 PM

Post #8 of 11 (1546 views)

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Re: [Jane.Wilkinson] Aaguasclientes, the city and the state

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Jane - what a lovely, informative post - thank you. We've been intrigued by the Pueblos Magicos too and plan to visit more of them.


Glenn

Nov 21, 2007, 5:14 PM

Post #9 of 11 (1545 views)

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Re: [Jane.Wilkinson] Aaguasclientes, the city and the state

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What wonderful posts and stories. How can we ever explore all of these places? Jane, you talked of some towns being Pueblo Magico. Would you please tell me what this means? Since you mentioned SMA as one I thought maybe it meant towns with the look of Mexico in years past. I don't much like the American looking houses. I much prefer the Mexican looking ones--arches, tiles, outdoor living areas, walled lots, lots of colors, etc. Love Michael's house in Patzcuaro. We're hoping to rent someplace in the highlands so we can drive back after our 2 weeks of vacation and have lots of time to explore. We have 3 dogs and that will probably be a problem.
I love reading all your posts and appreciate all the towns you mention. I'm making a list to Google and hopefully visit all of them we can this summer


Jane.Wilkinson


Nov 21, 2007, 6:06 PM

Post #10 of 11 (1527 views)

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Re: [Glen & Debra] Aguascalientes and Pueblos Magicos

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According to the Secretary of Tourism’s web site, (roughly translated): A Pueblo Mágico is a place with symbolic attributes, legends, history, significant facts, normalcy (?)(cotidianidad), which emanates cultural magic and creates an opportunity for tourism. A list of the towns, from Wikiepedia in Spanish, is below.

Go to or http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pueblo_m%C3%A1gico or http://www.visitmexico.com/ for links to these towns. (Or just Google “pueblos magicos mexico)

· Mexcaltitán,Nayarit, 2001.
· Huasca de Ocampo, Hidalgo, 2001.
· Real de Catorce, San Luis Potosí, 2001.
· Tepoztlán, Morelos, 2002.
· Taxco, Guerrero, 2002.
· Tepotzotlán, Estado de México, 2002.
· Tapalpa, Jalisco, 2002.
· Comala, Colima, 2002.
· Pátzcuaro, Michoacán, 2002.
· Dolores Hidalgo, Guanajuato, 2002.
· San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, 2002.
· Cuetzalan, Puebla, 2002.
· Izamal, Yucatán, 2002.
· Tequila, Jalisco, 2003.
· San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, 2003.
· Real del Monte, Hidalgo, 2004.
· Parras de la Fuente, Coahuila, 2004.
· Valle de Bravo, Estado de México, 2005.
· Mazamitla, Jalisco, 2005.
· Álamos, Sonora, 2005.
· Tlalpujahua,Michoacán, 2005.
· Cosalá, Sinaloa, 2005.
· Bernal, Querétaro, 2005.
· Coatepec, Veracruz, 2006.
· Papantla, Veracruz, 2006.
· Real de Asientos, Aguascalientes, 2006.
· Cuitzeo, Michoacán, 2006.
· Santiago, Nuevo León, 2006.
· Todos Santos,Baja California Sur, 2006.
· Bacalar, Quintana Roo, 2006.
· Jerez de García Salinas, Zacatecas, 2007.
· Huamantla, Tlaxcala, 2007.
· Mier, Tamaulipas, 2007.


Ganadero

Nov 22, 2007, 2:27 AM

Post #11 of 11 (1485 views)

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Re: [jerezano] Aaguasclientes, the city and the state

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Jerezano, your post reminds me of the time we spent living and working in the beautiful and progressive http://www.wate.com/.../story.asp?S=7214859 city/state of Aguascalientes. Although I am more comfortable in Jalostotitlan or Jerez, I really felt at home there. We had the best of both worlds, working in the agricultural sector and living in a new development on the west side of town near the splendid Universidad Autonoma de Aguascalientes campus http://www.uaa.mx/ (where I have nieces/nephews studying) and the new country club http://www.campestreags.com/, which we are considering for relocation. We enjoyed the amenities the north side offers, yet were close to el Centro. Some of my fondest memories are of cold winter nights where we would put on our coats and gloves for a walk around downtown taking in the ambience and Christmas light displays on the government buildings, then retreating from the freezing temperatures into Sanborns impeccably restored colonial restaurant for hot cocoa.

Another area of the state I enjoy exploring and camping is the Sierra Fria http://sierrafria.org/, a mountain range with peaks of 10,000' blanketed by pine forests with hidden waterfalls, log cabins, mountain lions, trophy deer and the worlds largest wild Turkeys http://www.rancholacienega.com/. The Sierra Fria is the only area in the state that routinely recieves snow in the winter.

On the way to the Sierra Fria is Presa Jocoque http://xocoqui.com/gallery/index.html, a jewel of a lake set in a serene canyon that is a weekend recreation destination. At Club de Ski, you can sip a cerveza under the palapa and watch the Wakeboarders tear it up or try your luck sport fishing. There are also wonderful weekend homes situated on the lake, some of which are for rent.

Back in the city, my observations were that the Hidrocalidos were a politically and culturally conservative lot, yet progressive in the way they managed civic affairs and business. Hidrocalidos were also courteous drivers, but I saw countless drivers with 'placas de DF' blow through stop lights and drive with the same disregard for human life as they did in DF.

Last year following a day trip to Zacatecas, my nieces boyfriend who works in management for Necaxa Rayos http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Necaxa, Primera Division de Mexico, Group III invited us to a game in the skybox at Estadio Victoria. We had fun even though the Rayos lost to Veracruz in a torrential downpour, but the thing that struck me again was the pride that Hidrocalidos have in their city/state. From the state of the art Estadio Victoria to the mounted policeman, pride in the city/state was always evident. The streets, parks, balnearios, haciendas, government buildings, plazas and other public places are free of refuse and there is an order to the place that I have not seen in many places in Mexico.

Thanks Jerezano for giving well deserved kudos to Aguascalientes.

Ganadero

Ganadero

"Always drink upstream from the herd"
 
 
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