This year’s Mardi Gras parade in Ajijic was on Tuesday March 4th. It started around eleven in the morning and went from Constitution to Ocampo to six corners and back to the Plaza. There was also a night parade. This was Fat Tuesday, the last day of the carnival season which always falls the day before Ash Wednesday, the first day of lent. Lent is the beginning of forty days of prayer, fasting and alms giving.
The ten days before the Mardi Gras parade were days of many parties and smaller parades. Every night I could hear the cohetes (fireworks) shooting off in my neighborhood and lots of music in the streets. Some of the previous parades were horse parades with a few men dressed like women in the front, throwing flour on the excited children, mostly boys. It is a bit too rough for the girls because the boys run quickly ahead of the parades to try to outrun the flour. Not likely. Every boy was always covered in flour. Great fun for them. (more…)
A Taste of Wellness Seminar and Workshop was held at the Monte Carlo hotel in Chapala on Saturday, February 22, 2014. It started at seven in the morning and lasted until four in the afternoon. This is the first in a series of seminars and workshops to be held in the future. The future dates have not been arranged yet.
The group leaders were Diane Bucaro, M.S.W. and Dr. Jim Jaramillo. Since this was the first workshop and not many people had heard about it, there were only seven of us plus the two leaders. But that made for an intimate group and a more informal atmosphere. We all had a chance to get our questions answered. The cost, including two meals and use of the pool and hot tub at the Monte Carlo, was only 300 pesos each. It was well worth that price.
If you have never been to the Monte Carlo, it is worthwhile to take a walk on their grounds. From the street it looks like nothing interesting. But, like many other places in Mexico, you enter to spectacular grounds. (For a minimal price, they will let people come in and use their pool and hot tub. Ask about it at the front desk.)
This workshop and seminar was sponsored by The Longevity Center in collaboration with Support Centers International (USA). Tom McClure was instrumental in all aspects of the development of it. His main interest is in helping people to get over bad eating and living habits and creating healthy ones. (more…)
The 36th Annual Mexican Chilli Cook-Off was held in Lake Chapala at the Tobolandia Water Park on February 14, 15, and 16th, 2014. I attended on the 15th and there was quite a crowd. I have never been to the Cook-Off when there was not a crowd. It is the biggest social event and fund raiser of the year. If you like great food, beautiful arts and crafts, meeting friends and making new friends, interesting entertainment, sensational photo opportunities, then you will love the Chili Cook-Off. Oh, yes, if you like chili, this is the place to try out the best in Ajijic.
On the second day there was a parade that started at six corners in Ajijic. I took some photos as it was coming into the Tobolandia grounds.
After a long drive from Ajijic Mexico and spending five nights in the first class hotel, the Westin, in Puerto Vallarta, we drove on to San Blas. My friends had invited us to spend a few days at their house. It was an easy drive. What a relief from the first part of our trip. The road was fairly new, no potholes. It was a free road. We drove through beautiful countryside that turned into jungle when we got closer to San Blas. There were mountains in the distance in varying shades of blue. This time, we only stopped to take photos. The car didn’t overheat. There was little traffic on the road.
As we were getting into the jungle and close to San Blas, we saw the Yaka trees. It is also known as Jack Fruit. I bought a small package. We took it as part of a housewarming gift for our friends but I am the only one who ate it. Yaka is something you either love or hate, no in between. The smell is so strong that many airplanes ban it. It mostly grows in the Far East. I ate a lot of it when I was in Thailand. There are many Yaka trees close to San Blas. (more…)
I took an eight day vacation with my friend Tammy from Lake Chapala to Puerto Vallarta and San Blas. We were told that the best way to drive was through the mountain towns (which is the “Libres Roads” instead of the “toll roads”). We left at sunrise and didn’t make it to Puerto Vallarta until eight hours later. I would not recommend going that way. It was over the mountains on a very bad road.
Potholes were everywhere. Our truck heated up and even got out of alignment. One new tire became bald on the sides. We weren’t sure we were going to make it.But the views were spectacular. We had plenty of opportunities to take photos as we sat along the roadside waiting for the truck to cool down. (more…)
Efren Gonzalez had an art auction at the Ajijic Plaza on Friday, January 3rd, 2014. It was at three thirty exactly. Efren said that he had converted to American time instead of Mexican time and he would be starting all his auctions at the advertised time, on the dot. Since he was a few minutes early, he waited awhile before starting. If you have never been to any of his auctions or talked with him, you will be surprised and delighted to get to know him. He is a very funny man. He puts on no airs. He readily admitted that he knows nothing about being an auctioneer. But his auctions are a delight to attend, even if you have no intention of buying anything. Efren might change your mind.
Efren often has auctions at the Ajijic Plaza. He waits until he gets enough paintings and then puts up signs. At this auction, fifteen artists had donated paintings and sculptures. These are well known artists and also some of his students. The money raised goes to help support the Ballet Folklorico. (more…)
This is my favorite season of the year. Something is going on all the time. I can’t keep up with it all. Between the expat community and the Mexican community, there is no resting. There are parties almost every night. Last night as I was getting ready for bed, I heard the big fireworks going off. I have learned to tell the smaller cohetes (which just make a very loud noise) from the ones that burst in the sky with patterns of fire. You know, the kind we see north of the border. I went out into my yard so I could see them better. I was wondering why they were going off on the 21st. Then I remembered about the winter solstice. I don’t know if that was the reason or not but it was a very loud evening with lots of music and parties all over my neighborhood. There are more than forty holidays and festivals in Mexico. So you can understand why I can’t keep up with them all.
Much of the activities for the Mexican community revolve around the Catholic Churches. Above is a photo of the church in Chapala with the Christmas tree and a large Creche. These Creches can be seen all over town, both inside the stores and businesses and outside. On Christmas Eve, there are live ones at the church in Ajijic. I will show some of these later in this article. If I can get my camera to take some good night photos. (more…)
If you have never stopped in at Arden Casa De Muebles, then when you do, you are in for a treat. You can’t miss it. It is located in Riberas Del Pilar, between Ajijic and the town of Chapala, on the carretera, mountain side, as you drive towards Chapala from Ajijic. The address is 81 Hidalgo. It is a furniture, art and craft import store.
Once a month a new shipment comes in from Vietnam, India, Indonesia, Bali, or Thailand. Amazing and beautiful things. (more…)
The Ranch Illusion, located off the libramento, had a fund raising fiesta on Saturday Dec. 14th, 2013. It was for the Equine Therapy program. This ranch is also called the Pepe Martinez Equine Therapy Center (CET). Dr Pepe is in charge of the program. The event started at two in the afternoon and lasted until after midnight. I guess people were having too much fun to go home. The entrance fee was only 50 pesos. There were events going on all the time, and sometimes several different things at once. It was a fun day.
I went at four in the afternoon. I left before it got dark but my friend stayed longer. She said around three hundred people showed up at nine in the evening. Even in the parking lot, there were interesting things going on. People were riding their horses all over the grounds, including next to the tables where people were eating. (more…)
The time around the Day of the Dead is filled with interesting things to do and see. I have already written about the big celebration in the Ajijic plaza with the Zombie Thriller dance and parade, pumpkin carving contest and art and craft show. These life sized, actually larger than life sized, Catrina Dolls were also out on the Ajijic and Chapala plazas. They were created by the school children with help from local artists. Most of them were made out of recycled materials. They were a lot of fun to see and photograph. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.
Each Doll had a plaque with the doll’s name, yes they were named, and the school and artists who helped make it. One of the things that I enjoyed most was photographing people as they related to the dolls. Some of the dolls were named after famous people, such as Frida Kahlo. (more…)
Saturday, October 26th, was a big day for Ajijic. There were several things happening in the Ajijic Plaza and the entire area was packed with participants and curious onlookers. The Michael Jackson Thriller Dance was one event. This is a worldwide dance to raise money for different charities. In Ajijic, it is for the Local Red Cross. People dressed in the zombie makeup and costumes were mixed in with the crowds before the dance. The children loved this event.
The women in the photo above were part of the zombie dancers. They were posing for another photographer but I jumped in and took one too. They were too cute to resist. Cute? Maybe that isn’t the right word. (more…)
Tammy and I were on another adventure of the area east of Chapala. We stopped at El Gran Salon restaurant for a bite to eat but their electricity was out. In front of it are Tom Sumner, one of the three owners, and on the right, the musician Cesar Fabien. He plays and sings there. It just opened on July 22nd. They have Karaoke on Thursday nights. I was told that quite a crowd gathers for it. This restaurant is easy to find. It is on the main road that goes along the lake towards Mezcala, on the lake side. It is just a few miles outside of Chapala, before San Nicolas. Their hours are: one to eight in the evening from Monday through Friday. Tom is also the owner of the consignment store in Chapala just before the American Legion.
There are only three large restaurants in the area around San Nicolas and San Juan Tecomatlan. One is Cain’s Restaurant. ( I have shown you several photos of it in the previous article.) One is El Gran Salon and the other is an Italian place, Focaccia. All three of these are interesting and I encourage you to visit each one. They are very different from each other. (more…)