East of Guadalajara about 140 miles is the town of Leon. I will leave Jalisco State and enter Guanajuato State on the way.
This part of the country is getting more arid. My skin and hair are starting to feel dry. So much so that I buy some conditioner and soak my hair in it overnight. There are still crops but most of fields look noticeably dryer the further east we go.
Leon is a big town, and it’s really modern. There is a big stadium here, for futbol (soccer) games and other things. There are shopping malls, outlet malls, stores, hotels, convention centers and more. On the first night in town I notice how everyone seems to be wearing new shoes. And it’s noticeable because the rest of Mexico hasn’t been that way. Granted, most people on the beaches were wearing flip flops…but in most of the towns I’ve been to so far people have been wearing average shoes. Most women are in flats or average shoes and men are in average shoes too. Young girls wear skyscraper-high heels with platforms, even on cobblestones which makes my ankles hurt just thinking about it. But very few of them look brand new. Until Leon, that is. Leon is a shoe factory center for Mexico. There are also lots of leather goods manufacturers here – so there are new handbags and leather jackets all over town too.
I check into the hotel and walk across the road to check out places for dinner. We see a mall and decide that since we don’t see any restaurants on the main drag that there would at least be a food court in there, so mall dinner here I come. I step inside and a see a boot shop I want to check out. A friend I met on the road bought herself some of the cutest boots ever, by Cuadra, and I am excited to see their shop. Cuadra is just inside the mall’s front door and to the right. After walking by about 6 stores on the way to what I hope will be a great food court, I realize that all the shops are shoe shops, explaining the name, Plaza del Zapato/Shoe Plaza. Dozens of stores and they are all SHOES! Wow! In a former life, this would have been my idea of heaven.
No food court, as it turns out. So I go back outside and up the street past another two blocks of wall-to-wall shoe stores and purse shops, looking for a restaurant. Thankfully there is one at the end of the block, just in time before my willpower gave out!
The next day I head over to the mall to look at Cuadra and it turns out there are THREE Cuadra shops in that one mall. I don’t find anything I can’t live without, thank goodness. I don’t have room for heels on the bike (darn it!) and the prices aren’t good enough to tempt me into bothering with shipping them home to wait for me. Another day you beautiful ladies….another day. I will be back for you, or some of your relatives….pretty, pretty shoes.