The 37th Annual Mexican Chili Cook-Off was a great success. It started on Friday, February 27th and went through Sunday. It ended at five p.m. on Sunday, March 1st. It was held at the Tobolandia water park. This year the parade was very small. The Shriners were in it and the tour bus from Chapala. Instead of starting at six corners as it did on previous years, it started by the bank up on the Carretera. What was the reason for such a small parade? I was told that Lent was the reason. The priest at the six corners Catholic church did not like having a parade during lent. So it was cut back to just the Shriners and the tour bus. Usually Lent is after the Chili Cook-Off so it wasn’t a problem. But don’t worry, a small parade did not mean small pleasures for the Chili Cook-Off visitors. Tobolandia was jumping with excitement! Below is a photo of the Shriners as they arrived in the parking lot at Tobolandia.
The Chili Cook-Off is the biggest fund raising event of the year here. Proceeds from it go to eight local charities. I will list them later on in this article. Last year the Cook-Off raised 36,550 pesos for each of the charities. This year they are hoping for more. (more…)
This is my third year of writing about the Fat Tuesday parade. Unfortunately, I was too sick to get out of my house to see it. My friend Ramon took these photos for me with his wide angle lens. The lens gives an interesting perspective. Since I didn’t take these photos, I can’t comment much on them but I will give you some background information on the Fat Tuesday Parade. I hope next year I will not have to miss this parade. It is my favorite one of the year.
The Fat Tuesday parade is also called the Mardi Gras Parade. It is always the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday. Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent. The carnival season starts on Three Kings Day which is January sixth. It lasts until midnight before Ash Wednesday. Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of forty days of prayer, obligations, fasting and confessions. So you can see why Fat Tuesday is a huge blow out celebration. No more fun for forty days. This year Fat Tuesday was on February 17th. Mardi Gras Carnival literally means farewell to meat. Carne (Meat) Val (farewell.)
The Guadalajara zoo is at the edge of town, next to the Huentitan Canyon which is a natural park. The cost is sixty pesos up to two hundred pesos, depending on what you want to do there. If you want to go on everything that takes people around to see the animals, the cost is two hundred pesos. That includes the sky ride, the safari truck, the train, plus entrance to the aquarium. There may have been other things that we missed. I know we missed the snakes. Not too unhappy about that.
There are many statues at the zoo. Some of them are in water or have water shooting out of them. Some are with the animals. The zoo grounds are beautiful and clean. I have never been to another zoo that was as clean as this one and during the entire time we were there, I didn’t smell any animals. They are kept in large areas. Not so much like cages as natural areas, similar to where the various animals lived in the wild. None of the animals seemed crowded or enclosed. It was more like the people were in the caged off areas and the animals roamed free. The zoo opened in 1988 and is considered to be the most important zoo in Latin America. (more…)
This parade must be one of the the most liked by the Mexican children. It is their parade and they get to play the rebels, similar to the children in the United States who enjoy playing Cowboys and Indians. This first group of boys dressed like rebels, was an inspiration to the crowd. They showed so much enthusiasm! What fun!
The girls came along after the boys. Some of them had their baby dolls strapped on with their rebosos. Some were carrying baskets of pretend food. (more…)
The thirteenth annual Feria Maestros del Arte was held at the Chapala Yacht Club on November 14th, 15th, and 16th. It was from ten a.m. to five p.m. (Ten to four on Sunday) and the entrance fee was just fifty pesos. I went the first two days and had a wonderful time. There were many beautiful crafts from all over Mexico. I could only afford two small bowls. But for people who wanted to buy some of the more interesting things, there was a free van parked out front that would take them to the ATM machine in town and back again.
I picked up a map on my way in and saw that there were 74 tables. Some of the tables were co operatives of many different crafts people. Everything was professionally arranged and all the vendors were friendly and happy to pose for me. (more…)
Have you ever thought of having your own TTW dance? TTW stands for Thrill the World. It is easy. Apply through their website. Thrilltheworld.com. Fill out the forms. Pay the 25 dollar registration fee. Get a bunch of people together to practice the dance. Dress everyone up as Zombies and have the dance. Collect money for your favorite charity. This Michael Jackson TTW concept started in 2006. At that time the world record was set at 62 people. Since then it has expanded to countries all over the world. Last year 6,451 Zombies danced at 134 events in 6 continents. An estimated 68,000 dollars was raised, plus food and clothing.
The biggest zombie dances were in Redmond, WA with 256 people. Istanbul, Turkey with 221 people and Eugene, OR. with 213 people. Besides raising money for charity, the goal is to break the world’s record for the biggest event. Don’t think Ajijic will break that record. It was smaller this year than last year but it was still a lot of fun. Some of these women zombies still manage to make themselves beautiful. Now how do they do that? (more…)
Every year the Globo Event happens the weekend before the 16th of September Revolution Day festivities. It is the kickoff for an entire week of celebrations. These Globos are made out of very thin, slick and light paper. They are fragile and will burn or tear easily. Many of them do not make it into the air. Especially the larger ones because they bend down in the wind and then the fire below them burns them up. I put the ones made for Access Lake Chapala first since these are ours.
Most of the larger globos have advertisements on them and they were made by professionals. Sometimes they go up and sometimes they don’t but even if they burn up on the way, the advertisers still think they are a good investment. The ones that burn up get a lot of attention from the onlookers. The entire crowd moans at once. It is a lot of fun. (more…)
The festivities during the week before Revolution Day include many things in the Ajijic Plaza. Almost every evening something is going on. One of my favorite events is the Reboso Parade. It took place this year on Sept. 15th. It is a special time for the young girls and older women to shine. Rebosos are shawls and the Mexican women take great pride in their shawls. They have a parade around the plaza wearing their finest.
The plaza is very crowded for this event. In the photo below you can see a small part of the parade. The two women in front are carrying a large bread. I do not know the significance of that bread. Many of the women are also carrying fresh flowers and umbrellas. (more…)
Another Can Am Day celebration has rolled around. This is my third year of writing about it. If you are ever in the area at this time of the year, be sure to be part of it. It is always between the Canadian Independence day, July 1st, and the American Independence day, July 4th. This year it was held on July 2nd. It is held at the Lake Chapala Society.
The gate opened for Can Am Day at ten a.m. and closed at five p.m. It was busy all day long. I know, because I was there all day. We had one rain storm but it only lasted about an hour and then the sun came out again. (more…)
There is a new restaurant in town, at the end of Colon and across the street from the pier and malecon. Maria Isabel is the new name. It was opened by a couple recently retired from Guadalajara, Adriana and Leonardo Cornejo. Leonardo retired in September and they moved up to Ajijic. But Leonardo is a restless sort and not one to sit around. He started looking for things to do and within three months he opened up Maria Isabel Restaurant. Their son, also named Leonardo, is helping to run it.
The restaurant is easy to find. When you walk to the end of Colon, look to the left. It is overlooking the water. It is in the Old Posada. This is one of the oldest buildings in town. It was built in the 1500s. When you go to the restaurant, check out the back of their menu and you will see the history of the building. In 1530 it was a Grand Tequila Hacienda. (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…)