There are thousands of reasons to take a vacation and even more than that when deciding on places to go. Well on a recent trip I think I discovered a small piece of heaven. It’s called Ajijic, Mexico. A small city of 15,000 people, about 45 minutes by car from the airport in Guadalajara, and about 3 blocks from Lake Chapala. We decided to stay for the week at Casa del Sol, a very lovely bed and breakfast some 10 minutes walk from the center square in town. After taking the first day to rest from the flight and getting our bearings we ventured out and made our first friends a couple of streets over from our B&B.
For sure it was a sign of the relaxing trip we were hoping for. It takes a little getting used to the cobble stone streets, especially when it rains, but its just another feel of the culture and history of this historic Mexican area. Many of the shops feature the homemade styles of the area for every buying whim from pottery to blankets and so much more. (more…)
The New Year’s Day parade was fun. I went into town around nine in the morning. I thought the parade started in the morning but it didn’t start until two in the afternoon. The town was practically deserted in the morning until around noon and then it got crowded. There was more traffic here than I had ever seen. Traffic was at a standstill. Lots of people were waiting for the parade too.
I loved the bird float. That took a lot of work and time to make. Check out the detail of the wings. (more…)
I walked into town in Christmas Eve to be part of all the activities and take photos of the Crèches at the church. Surprise, surprise. Very little action was taking place in the plaza this year and there were only four live crèches. Last year the church yard was filled with crèches and the plaza was very busy. We have had weeks of excitement here, including parades and fireworks going off every evening. I have no explanation for the quiet Christmas Eve. I hope you enjoy what I managed to photograph. I apologize that my camera does not take good night photos.
Decorations inside and outside of the church were lovely. Inside of the church there were bouquets of live flowers all along on the tables. Outside were the crèches. Sawdust images on the ground, Christmas trees and many lights. It was very peaceful to walk around in the church yard. (more…)
Mexican Revolution Day was November 16th but the parade and other celebrations didn’t happen until the following weekend. On Monday, the legal holiday, many places of business were closed. But the celebrations didn’t begin until the parade on Friday the 20th. The Mexican Constitution dates back to 1917. When you think about it, that was not very long ago. Not even a hundred years. When people in my generation were growing up, in their 70s, their parents probably remembered living through it.
I love the above photo. The father and sons look so happy to be included in the parade. They do not look to me like Mexicans. The Mexicans are generally very inclusive people and they welcome outsiders. Can you imagine a president being in office for 35 years? I would call that a dictatorship. That was Porfirio Diaz. (more…)
The Day of the Dead is a big Holiday in Mexico. Some people say that Mexicans don’t celebrate Halloween. Tell that to the little girl in the photo below. She was all ready to go trick or treating in the evening. Just like in the United States, parents take their children out trick or treating to the expensive neighborhoods. I bought enough candy for a hundred children. Only five children knocked on my door. The same ones kept returning.
I live in a Mexican neighborhood with small homes. What they did in my street is to close it off to traffic, string up balloons and put out tables and chairs and have a party for everyone living on the street. My friend and I took out all our candy and gave it to the children. After we went back home, two young men knocked on my door and handed us two bowls of pazole. (more…)
The 2015 Globos Event was a huge success. It is one of my favorite events. I put two photos of our own globo at the beginning of this article because we at Access Lake Chapala are proud to participate in it and also proud that our globo was a lift off.
Both last year’s globo and this year’s globo made it into the air. That is a minor miracle as larger ones often do not make it. (more…)
Easter came early this year. The holidays started with the Globos celebration which is just before Ash Wednesday, through March 29th Palm Sunday, April 2nd Maundy (Holy) Thursday April 3rd Good Friday and finally April 5th which was Easter Sunday. But the Easter holiday continues for at least one more week. All beach towns and tourist towns in Mexico are packed to the gills during this time of the year. Since Ajijic is a tourist town, we were also very crowded. It is always a lot of fun with all the new people in town.
The restaurants are crowded. The malecon is crowded. The plaza is crowded and there are many different celebrations happening almost on a daily basis. Above is a photo of the Easter eggs that are sold in the plaza. Someone has taken the time to cut open the top and fill each one with confetti. Then the children throw the eggs at each other, dogs, and anything else that moves nearby. Keep your eyes open. You too may end up as a target. (more…)
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…)