My first trip outside of the United States was in 1980. I went to Guadalajara, Jalsico, Mexico. Prior to that, my only foreign adventure had been walking a few hundred feet across the border into Ciudad Juárez from Texas when I was a little kid.
That first real trip to Mexico in 1980 profoundly changed my life to this very day. I was so impressed with Guadalajara that I was practically peeing on myself the whole time I was there. From 1980 to the present, I have now been to Mexico over twenty times, I think, maybe more, I don't know. I feel like I got my footing on life there.
Anyway, below are some old scanned prints of some of the first people I met in Guadalajara. Some I have seen again over the years, some I haven't. I wanted to preserve the memories in this way.
Image #1: The Romero-Arias family and me. I stayed with this family while doing a summer Spanish-immersion course. They spoke no English, only a few words. They gave me a reasonable amount of time to start using Spanish, but I was rebelling against it, so one day they announced that I could no longer eat with them unless I asked for things in Spanish. That pissed me off, so I started taking a few meals at a nearby pizzeria where English was spoken. Then I realized I was being stupid, so I met their demand and started using the language for the first time. You can see me second from the right. I'm not that much taller than they are. There was a cement lip around the fountain that I was standing on. The girl on the far right, Gema, I saw again some 19 years later. She turned into a real fox. Seriously! You can tell from my smile that Guadalajara was working out for me by the time the picture was taken. I was pleased with life.
Image #2: Juan Carlos and the gringa. Juan Carlos was the youngest child of the family previously seen in the picture above. The gringa (the American girl), I don't remember her name. She hated me anyway, I think. I always wondered if she and Juan Carlos shacked up even though he was severely under age. 😆
Image #3: My first real friend in Mexico: Cesar. Looks cool driving the pickup. I like that big-ass tall gear shifter.
Image #4: Cesar in downtown Guadalajara.
Image #5: Me in downtown Guadalajara.
Image #6: Cesar's sisters in Manzanillo. So cute posing for the camera. I like the Gremlin car in the background.