Gringo in Guadalajara

The Gratuitous Graffiti

Graffiti is the type of problem that can overwhelm a city.  When there is too much of it, it's an endless task to get rid of it all.  If there is none of it, it's easy...the city simply comes out and takes down the new instance of graffiti the next day.  Guadalajara suffers from a terrible graffiti problem.  It is everywhere --- in nice neighborhoods and not-so-nice, in the suburbs and downtown.  It is a shame because it makes a very pretty city look quite ugly.  After a while you don't notice it so much, but it still adds to an overall impression.

This lovely old house is in one of the trendiest and most picturesque neighborhoods in Guadalajara.

Of course, there is some very pretty graffiti around as well...the kind that leans more toward mural than defacement.  This type of graffiti is colorful and cool.  But there are other heartbreaking examples.  For instance, at the Panteon Mezquitan cemetery in Centro GDL there is an beautiful mural painted by an unknown artist which spans two city blocks.  Unfortunately, much of the bottom of the mural has been defaced by ugly graffiti.  In some cases, churches are even victims of graffiti.  Church officials paint messages on their side walls telling the world that "God asks you not to graffiti their house of worship."  Indeed, when the Diety needs to be invoked you know a problem has gotten out of hand.

One begins to visually ignore graffiti after residing here for awhile.

The graffiti tends to make one look at the beauty of Guadalajara with blinders on.  There are lovely pockets of beauty in GDL but while one is gazing at a fantastic mural or an elegant church, one often must turn away from the graffiti-covered building sitting just next door.