El Tianguis de Tonalá
It is either Thursday or Saturday. You board a bus crowded with bleary-eyed day laborers and mothers whose hands are full of grocery bags and children's wrists. Abuelitas clutch their purses and stare out the window. Some brim with almost as much anticipation as you do. This is your first trip to el tianguis de Tonalá, an open-air market in a small town an hour's ride from Guadalajara, Mexico.
Tonalá is not glamorous, but it is rustically beautiful, full of dusty roads and Zapotec history. There you will find everything from typical Mexican folk art to colorful votive offerings to boot-leg DVDs and counterfeits toys. You can spend a day actively shopping or wandering aimlessly. There are literally hundreds of street vendors and open shops all competing for your attention. Bring a camera, an open mind, and an empty stomach. You'll never have better tacos or more choices for gifts to bring back home.