I had looked forward to my visit to Guadalajara's zoo, regarded by some as the best in Latin America. I was not disappointed. From the cab windows on my way there I saw ragged, graffiti scarred industrial areas. On my return trip one of the garage doors had been raised revealing a tiny shop dealing exclusively in boxing paraphernalia. Heavy bags were lined up like soldiers, row after row of boxing gloves filled a wall, A bored looking salesperson sat behind a desk looking out at the street
The zoo is an expansive and beautiful space with a park like feel. A water feature stands outside the entrance. Water runs down the length of a tall blue monolith cover with bas relief images of animal faces. Beyond the entrance a long flight of stairs leads down to the zoo. In the center of them water cascades into pools dominated by pillars, the same pale blue as the monolith out front, with statues of monkeys on them. At the bottom a plume of water erupts from the pond surrounding the small island where the flamingos are housed. One final monkey perches on a pale blue pedestal in the water.
I began with the ski lift type attraction called "Sky Zoo". I had read that it was the best way to get an overview of the zoo's layout. My feet grazed treetops as I glided over the grounds below. It was fairly early in the morning, I was one of just a handful of people there at that hour. It was quiet and tranquil. I gazed at the animals beneath me. The wolf ran in circles. It had worn dirt tracks into the grass of it's enclosure. The Bengal tiger lazed in the early morning sun. Ahead of me appeared the breathtaking vista of the river gorge, a national park, visible from the back of the zoo's grounds. Returning to the terminal I alighted, a little clumsily, and began my terra firma exploration.