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In 1991 Billy and Akaisha Kaderli retired at the age of 38. Now, into their 3rd decade of this financially independent lifestyle, they invite you to take advantage of their wisdom and experience.

Arandas, Jalisco, Mexico

Billy and Akaisha Kaderli

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We have been traveling through the Golden Triangle of Tequila-making in the Mexican State of Jalisco. The finest tequilas in the world are produced here, and the countryside is filled with agave fields.

Golden Triangle of tequila making in Mexico's Highlands

Golden triangle of tequila-making

Coming from Jesus Maria, another beautiful location with high desert climate, we took a taxi to Arandas for 200Pesos, just under $11USD.

Joel took us straight to our hotel, and after settling in a bit, we went out to explore the city.

Church San Jose Obrero, Arandas, Jalisco, Mexico

Letters of the city's name spelled out

We have mentioned this many times, but the current fashion in Mexico is to have the city's name spelled out in large letters. In many of the towns, this is a tourist attraction to have your photo taken in front of the letters.

 

 

 

 

You will find full size, singular letters in Morelia, Chapala, Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan, Guadalajara airport, Comitan, El Fuerte, Tepatitlan, Jesus Maria, Atotonilco, and even the old, old town of Patzcuaro.

The above is one of the many churches in Arandas. It is San Jose Obrero.

San Jose Obrero church, Arandas, Jalisco, Mexico

San Jose Obrero Church

This church was begun in 1879 and is still under construction today!

Just as in the "olden days" when a large church was being built, those who started the construction were not alive when the building was finished. The back of this church still had rebar and was sectioned off to prevent accidents to passers by on the sidewalk.

In the beginning of construction of San Jose Obrero Church, the pastors of the church were responsible for raising funds for supplies and workers. I don't know who manages the fundraising for this project now, but the construction at the back looked a bit tired, as if nothing new had been added for a while. 

The amazing New Cathedral of the Imaculate Conception in Cuenca, Ecuador took over 100 years to build. It is truly stunning.

The Plaza in front of the Church San Jose Obrero, Arandas, Jalisco, Mexico

The Plaza in front of San Jose Obrero Church

Plazas in Mexico are places where people gather. Often there are musicians, vendors selling balloons or ice cream, and families come and sit on the wrought iron benches provided.

This is the view from the left side of a stage that is placed at the opposite of the Church. There is seating on both sides of the stage and I imagine there are bands, dancing, theatre productions and maybe civil announcements made here.

The gardens in plazas such as these are always manicured. There is a fountain closer to the Church.

It's a great place to hang out any time of day.

On late Saturday afternoon we saw an exquisite wedding party emptying out of the Church. The bride and her bridal party arrived on horseback, and after the ceremony,  there were lots of limousines and private upscale cars to take people to the reception.

Everyone was dressed To. The. Nines.

The largest bell in Mexico called La Campana, in Arandas, Jalisco, Mexico

The largest bell in Mexico - La Campana

A feature of the city of Arandas is the largest bell in Mexico, weighing 14,985 TONS!

The clapper in the center weighs 502 kilos.

Can you imagine?

A close-up of La Campana, the largest bell in Mexico, Arandas, Jalisco, Mexico

A close up of La Campana, the largest bell in Mexico

Considering the weight of  this bell, I can hardly conceive of moving it here. What truck can hold 15 thousand tons to deliver this bell to this location? Where did they make this thing? How did they maneuver it around to even put it on a vehicle to get it here? And how did they attach it to the structure?

Looking up into La Campana, the largest bell in Mexico, San Jose Obrero Church, Arandas, Jalisco, Mexico

Looking up into the bell

This is a nice shot of the bell with the Church in the background.

I'm unclear as to how the bell gets rung. We have seen bells all over Mexico being rung for special occasions like weddings, processions, or a special saint's day. Men throw their bodies into this very physical activity and it's a joyous thing to watch.

Ringing the tons of weight that this bell has? How many men do you think it might take?

Inside San Jose Obrero, Arandas, Jalisco, Mexico

Inside San Jose Obrero Church

Churches in the Colonial cities in Mexico are gorgeous. Lots of gold and marble and all of these archways pointing to the heavens.

I can almost hear the choirs singing, and the whispers in the confessionals.

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Billy and Akaisha, San Jose Obrero Church, Arandas, Mexico

Billy and Akaisha at the Plaza

We are standing at the Plaza, in front of the fountain with the Church and the mega-bell behind us.

It was Breast Cancer month when we were there, and so the mega-bell was lit up in pink lights as a reminder.

You can see balloons and bags of cotton candy in the right of the photo - various objects that vendors sell.

San Jose Obrero Church, Aranda, Jalisco, Mexico

A photo of Santa Maria de Guadalupe Church at Plaza Principal

This church was at a smaller plaza near our hotel, just a stone's throw away.

Plazas are just as busy at night as they are during the day. This happens to be a weekend crowd, but it's a great spot for tourists to gather and families to meet up together.

Saddle and leather store, Arandas, Jalisco, Mexico

Saddle and leather store

Arandas is in the Mexican Highlands and in many ways, it's cowboy country.

Leather saddles, belts, boots and hats are big items for sale here.

 

 

 

 

Notice the tooled leather of these saddles and the pounded silver decorations.

As I mentioned for a previous photo, a bridal party arrived at the church on horseback, probably using one of these saddles! The wedding gown trailed behind the bride and these gorgeous young women in their finery simply followed her horse's lead.

Selling roasted agave in Arandas, Jalisco, Mexico

Selling roasted agave to passers by

Agave fields are everywhere, and the roasted pina is a treat that many enjoy. Here this vendor is selling the sweet roasted stem parts of the agave, giving samples to entice the buyers.

closeup of roasted Agave in Arandas, Jalisco, Mexico

Roasted agave for sale

The agave that is part of the stem is very fibrous and one must pull the stem in between the teeth to scrape it off. The agave that is part of the heart is not fibrous at all, and the entire piece may be eaten easily.

If you look closely here, you can see the pieces that have the strings of fiber, and the other pieces that look like cooked pumpkin.

A coffee and tequila menu, Arandas, Jalisco, Mexico

Menu with coffee and tequila options

This is something we have never seen before - a coffee menu with tequila options. We saw this menu at a restaurant close to our hotel, Los Nietos, where we had several delightful meals.

Lots of coffee shops offer Bailey's and coffee, Irish coffee and flavored coffees, but we have never tried nor have we seen coffee with tequila before.

Um... maybe someday we'll try that.

Anything is possible when you are visiting Tequila Country!

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For more information, photos and stories about Mexico, click here

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About the Authors

 
Billy and Akaisha Kaderli are recognized retirement experts and internationally published authors on topics of finance, medical tourism and world travel. With the wealth of information they share on their award winning website RetireEarlyLifestyle.com, they have been helping people achieve their own retirement dreams since 1991. They wrote the popular books, The Adventurer’s Guide to Early Retirement and Your Retirement Dream IS Possible available on their website bookstore or on Amazon.com.

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