Lakeside - Ajijic, Chapala, Jocotepec

Thursday, November 6, 2014
Hot Sunny
Last night we stayed at Hotel de Mandoza

Awesomeness: Closeness to everything in Centro. The workers here are very respectful and always say good morning, etc.

We drove from Guadalarja to Ajijic, Jaliso, MX. It was a long drive out of the city to the country. It is also a really blurred line, not like suddenly you are out of the city. We watched for the airport to try and get a real handle on the length of time from the airport to Ajijic. We somehow missed the airport. There are lots of highways going off the main road between the two places plus a few little towns. As we got closer to Ajijic the plant life got more rich and more tropical looking. I do believe that Lakeside is in the sub-tropical zone for plant life. We both got excited about being back Lakeside in the town of Ajijic. It is so beautiful with its tree lined streets and flowering plants.

June's B&B won out as the place for us.

We had no idea where we would stay for the next few days. Ajijic is a touristy type town and we realized that finding a place would likely not be difficult. Ken had lined up some places on Air B&B. The first place was a in a marvelous, big home about two blocks from the Lake Chapala Society. We were escorted around this interesting home by one of its owners, June Coe from Oregon. We even got to go up to the mirador teaming with abundant plant life. When looking at or choosing a bedroom we came to the master. June said we could have it if we wanted. It was quite breath taking and absolutely huge. The south facing wall was made of glass windows and doors opening out to one of the exterior sitting rooms. The bathroom and walk-in closet were also huge. The bathroom had two sinks in separate areas of the L shaped room. In the corner was a enormous shower and then a separate tub. I forgot to mention, the bathroom also had two toilets. The bathroom also faced south and had the big windows as well. We agreed to stay for at least two nights then re- evaluate for the rest of November.

The new table from Mike and Charlene works great.

June: our first AirBnB host.

We moved on to Chapala where we went to look at some houses for rent by a lady who is a Fibre Artist from the New York area. She showed us the two places. They were clean and full of the necessities such as dishes, etc. If we had not seen June's place first we would have likely taken one of the places. At this particular area of Chapala we saw a distinct difference from Ajijic and I was not sure I would like Chapala. We also liked the idea of living in downtown Ajijic close to services, etc.

We ate supper at Ajijic Tango. As we sat in our spot close to the wall a lady came up for a close look at some are on the wall. A few minutes later a waiter came and took down the paintings. The woman had purchased the art, just the fast. Ajijic Tango was still very wonderful in both appearance and in food.

Friday, November 7, 2014
Warm Sunny
Last night we stayed at June's B&B in Ajijic, MX

Awesomeness: The giant, king sized bed was comfy. It was very cold when we went to bed but we warmed up in the night. We were the first people to sleep in the bed and the towels are new, too.

Today is our first full day in Ajijic. We decide to go for a walk to downtown Ajijic before going about our busy day. We go to El Cafe Grano for coffee. We've gone there before, that is were I got the picture of a wonderfully cute little Yorkshire Terrier from Victora, BC, Canada. This coffee shop was quite big considering the population. The coffee was so delicious. I'd say the coffee frappochino was better than the ones I have had in Starbucks. Oh, so delicious, with a ton of whipped cream on it.
We noticed, not that you could help it, the street had been torn up to likely replace some kind of pipes. We saw the workman, lots of them, replacing the cobblestone for the street. It was interesting to watch them work because there are no cobblestone streets in Canada. One guy would pick out a rock and give it to the worker beside him. That worker would place the rock on the road. There was also a mini crew of guys making cement. The road had decoration on it made out of interlocking blocks, as if the cobblestone was not enough. This is the road running in front of the main church in Ajijic.

We went back to June's B & B, not that you got any breakfast, but we found the place on Air B & B. We had a great deal of office/computer type of work to do this Friday. We worked on the computer for hours. I had a table and chair. The table was the metal, camping Cabela's table that my Sister and Brother-in-law had given us for Christmas. Ken sat in the bed. I would have thought that would be uncomfortable but he was fine.

We pulled ourselves away from our office duties to go eat a late, lunch or supper at Angelica's. I had homemade pasta and sauce. Ken had a Cesar salad. Something we forgot about is that often here in Mexico if you order Cesar salad you do not get cut up lettuce. You get whole Romaine lettuce leaves. It is definitely a place we would return to.

Back to our office/computer work. We worked very intently that day. Barely getting up to stretch or walk around. Finally we realized we would miss supper if we did not hurry and get going for supper. It was already dark. You have to be careful walking around at night in Ajijic because of the cobblestone streets. We realized there was little open where we could go eat. We went back to the room and ate granola. Ken had a Radio meeting at 8:00 our time. It was shortly after we the meeting we decided we had enough of typing up office type info and went to bed.

Saturday, November 8, 2014
Warm OverCast
Last night we stayed at June's B&B in Ajijic, Jalisco, M

Awesomeness: It was in an amazing home. It has a front entrance way full of plants and a mirador full of plants.

We went out to breakfast at the Sazon Restaurant up above the art gallery in the centre of Ajijic. We did not have a very good supper so decided a good breakfast of eggs of necessary. I had divorced eggs - fried eggs on a tortilla, on covered in green sauce, one covered in red sauce. There were chiliquellas in-between with more sauce and cheese, yum! Huevos Rancheros was Ken's breakfast choice with chirizo on the side. The great murals still graced the walls but the white walls that usually have art on them were empty. Must be between shows.

Sazon Restaurant above the Art Gallery

Then we had the task of trying to find a place for December in the Lakeside area. We found a few places at Lake Chapala Society, on their bulletin board to go look at. They all happened to be in San Antonio Tlay.Two were what we would call rustic, but really very rustic would be a better description. One place was really clean, you could smell the cleaning product that had been used. There was piles of construction materials laying around on the outside places. The guys showing us around were concerned about our safety on stairs and in area with small step ledges. One place had not been cleaned yet, scary. The guy showing us the places could speak limited English and were genuinely nice guys. The places were not for us.

The next place was also in San Antonio. It was owned by a guy from Boston and his wife who had been in this area for over ten years. He took a junky house and turned it into a great house with about three casitas. We really liked the available one, thinking it would be great to live in this lively little compound. The casita was extremely clean and a bit small. We decided against it.

We arrived at our friend Niki's around four o'clock. We got here, not barking from her dogs. We thought, oh we better wait a few minutes. Not long afterwards, there she was with Mesha and little Zorro. She let Mesha off her leash. She came running right for me. Puppy Zorro was very friendly, too. We spent the evening catching up. Niki made the most amazing smoked fish spread which we had on toast for supper. We got to sleep in the same room as last time. It was like visiting relatives, especially since we had just been here in February.

Huge insect!

Niki's friend had us over for wine. Our, down the street neighbor, actually.

Best use of a fireplace yet.

Sunday, November 9, 2014
Warm OverCast
Last night we stayed at Niki's home

We are in Ajijic right now, actually Riberas de Pilar. This being Sunday the Lake Chapala Society (LCS), in Ajijic proper, has Open Circle. They have a sandwich buffet with coffee. A speaker is announced in advance and so if it is a topic of interest you are welcome to go. We went but we kind of snuck back out after talking to a few people. We went to brunch at El Jardin Restaurant. Niki knows the owner and appears to be friends with him. He seems like he would be a very capable and competent manager. You get to eat outside under huge umbrellas in a garden atmosphere. It is a lovely place to eat and meet friends.

Monday, November 10, 2014
Warm OverCast
Last night we stayed at Niki's home

The three of us are going to the dentist. Niki is getting stitches out and Ken and I are getting our teeth cleaned by a dentist. It is so much cheaper here - 150 pesos per person, plus a dentist does the cleaning. That is less than $15. Canadian. Ken and I were both very happy with the service and the results. I saw one lady dentist holding the arm of a very elderly patient. She even assisted the lady into the vehicle that came to pick her up. Now that is service with a smile.

Back at Niki's we are amused by the two pooches. Niki takes Meesha for a run and we walk the puppy Zorro. He is very alpha and hard to control on lead. He is so adorable so I am afraid, especially with someone else's dog, to do much in the way of a correction. Niki has some kind of bike that she can lay back in, then Meesha pulls here and can get a good run.

This is the day I phoned my best buddy, Alix, back on Gabriola. I certainly miss her and wish we could see each other more often. It was a bitter sweet phone call.

Zorro seems to be fitting in quite well

Cutest pup ever!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014
Cool Raining
Last night we stayed at Niki's home
Awesomeness: The dogs are wonderful both Meesha and Zorro. Zorro sure likes to play.

In Canada today it is Remembrance Day. We remember those who have died in wars to protect our freedom. My great-uncle, Arvid Riesteen O'Neal died in World War I so I am remembering him as I do every year. This is not a holiday or a special day in Mexico.

Today is the last full day we spend at Niki's. Time seems to go fast when you are having fun. The three of us went to La Huerta Market. Niki wanted to purchase some tomatoes. The Market appeared very busy and it was difficult to find a parking spot. The market has lots of food - butter, veggies, fruit, veggie burgers, dips, clothing, jewellery, etc. It had expanded greatly since we were last there about two years ago. It might be the time of year because there are more people from NOB here this time of year.

It was raining today. Not my favourite type of weather. Even though there was unpleasant weather we went out for lunch to Chili Verdes. It is a very little restaurant just off Colon, on Hidalgo. Niki know the waiter, Alex, who was very hospitable. I had two Chili Rellenos with rice and beans. What a treat! They appeared to be very genuinely Mexican (since I have heard from other that this is a great restaurante). We ran into Linda P who jointed us for lunch. She moved out of her home in Oklahoma just about the time we moved out of our house on Gabriola. She had the same kind of anguish and annoyances we had. It was good to talk about our weird moving experience with a person who went through also such a emotional time. With the great company and excellent food we had a very enjoyable lunch.

We are going to Leon, MX with Niki later on in the month. She will be attending a dog show. We stopped by at there friends place Chula Vista. Karen who is also an avid dog person. We got to meet her dog. The dog had his ears done and she was very concerned that all his bouncing around with the excitement of company would ruin them. Karen is joining us at the dog show.

Meesha and Zorro greeted us back at Niki's. It is such a wonderful experience to again have paws and slobber on you when you come home. Very heart warming. The power was out at Niki's when we arrived and it stayed out until dark. It was not much of an inconvenience until it did become dark. We managed to eat - banana bread and peanut butter. It is actually tastey. Once the power returned we watched Netflixs until we were too tired to stay up. I conked out first.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014
Warm OverCast
Mileage 531 158 km
Last night we stayed at Niki's Home

Awesomeness: It would be cool in the evenings in Niki's livingroom. She let me use the afagan her Mother had made to keep warm.

We had one last breakfast at Niki's. It was with mix feelings that we were leaving Niki's lovely home to move back to June's B&B. The room Niki had so generously allowed us to stay in was cozy warm at night with just the right amount of light and dark. It was a private room with our own ensuite bathroom. It was good to have her company around during the day and the company and companionship of her two dogs. She has her own life and we did not want to intrude for too long so we thought we should leave her to her own home. We helped clean up after our stay at Niki's which was for quite a few days. Then we were off to June's.

Once at June's we off loaded most of our beings into the big rooms we were renting until the end of November. We had to sort of rush of before much organization took place. Off to the lunch special at Ajijic Tangos. For fifty-five pesos they have a great deal of choice and the food is wonderfully prepared. There was a few of us waiting at the front door anxious to eat. We were the first ones there and the first ones seated. Likely a first for us at any restaurant.

Thursday, November 13, 2014
Warm OverCast
Last night we stayed at June's - Ajijic, Mx

Awesomeness: Both June and her friend Jan are great people to get to know. We discovered them last night when we went out for supper at the same restaurant we were at.

Today our big adventure was walking to Walmart and to The Breakfast Club. Does not sound too exciting does it? Well, we saw interesting things along the way.

We walked up to where the Thursday Tiangus was happening. We arrived there just as some vendors were taking down their marque tents. It was very interesting, a good mix of wares were being sold - fruit and vegatables, fish, jewellery, rugs, pottery, clothing and so much more. Two things that were of particular note to us since last time we were at this Tiangus. The street that house the market each week is made of cobblestone. The town has put interlocking brick down on the street to make it easier for buyers and sellers to walk on. The other thing is that the market appears to have spread out to some of the side streets and become bigger. I look forward to more thoroughly visiting the market when we are specifically focused on it and have more time.

We walked by many beautiful homes. We walked into La Floresta and noticed that they now have up and down moving gates for the roads to enter or exit this area by car. This is new. We walked by the horses tied up in the area, ready to be ridden. I was fortunate enough to be able to pet a young horse. He was a bit skittish but seemed to calm down and enjoy it. One wonderful treat was to see an Airedale Terrier. We have had two extremely well loved Airedales in the past. To see one of their kind was a joy to us. He was leery of us and barked, but we still enjoyed seeing him.

From Walmart we walked to San Antonio. It is a small town between Chapala and Ajijic. We walked to Adelita's Restaurant where The Breakfast Club is meeting this week (most weeks it does meet there, occasionally the group meets at other restaurents). Well, Niki met us there and that was wonderful. We also met two new people - Reita and Walter. They had bravely come to this social event by themselves. Separately they came and made themselves acquainted with us. Reita and I converse about all sorts of thing especially Mexico since she has lived here for like forty years or more. We actually discovered an interest coincidence. When she discovered I was from Gabriola Island she had a good friend from there. I did not know the woman that well but I had met here and her husband. My ex-sister-in-law had known both of these two people well and we were invited into their well appointed home. It is a small world is it not? The Breakfast Club has never let us down. We have always met interesting people who we would like to know better.

Lots of room at June's to hang out.

Breakfast at June's was a treat.

This is an area of beautiful homes.

We now choose to walk by our new barking friend in La Floresta.

Friday, November 14, 2014
Warm OverCast
Last night we stayed at June's - Ajijic, Mx

Awesomeness: Such great hot water. Something that does not seem abundant everywhere we go.

We started the day off talking to Jan, one of the ladies who also lives here from Oregeon. She is an avid traveller and was recently in Patzecuro, Mexico enjoying the celebrations of Dia Los Muertes. That town or area has a renowned celebration of that festival. It is so interesting to talk to fellow travellers, especially those who enjoy Mexico.

Our first real order of business was getting laundry taken to the Lavenderia or laundry which is likely at least six blocks away. Once we arrived at the lavenderia we saw a house for rent sign and made arrangements to go see the home later in the day.
I had gotten up early enough to go out for coffee and know it would not interfere with my sleep. Off we went and on the way saw Niki and her dogs. We decided to go to Black and White because she was meeting Molly there. We not only met Molly but also Maureen and Paulie. Maureen heard of Gabriola Island because she summers in Qualicum. Paulie was originally from New York and you could tell by his accent. Him and his late wife has spent forty-five years in a town near Colima. He obviously loved his life there. It is such a nice way to meet knew people, just sitting down and talking about whatever. Going for coffee with friends old and new is such a great way to get your social fix for the day.

Ken walked me to the hairdresser up on the highway, across from Walmart.  We stop for a snack along the way.

Really good fish tacos.

He was not bored because he spent his time in a coffee shop with his computer and the internet. For me it was rather nerve racking to go to a different hairdresser. I had gone to my hairdresser for likely close to eight years. I felt so comfortable with her style. I did not realize how unnerving it would be to go to someone else. Lulu was very competent and did a great job. I was told I looked younger, so what is bad about that. She had worked in both Toronto and Victoria, Canada. I enjoyed talking with her, she had great English speaking skills.

Neither Ken nor I really wanted to go out for supper. We kind of had to cause we did not want to cook either. We did manage to go out and find a lovely meal. We went to a renowned burger place. Ken decided to try out the burgers to see if they were great and they were. I stuck to tried and true and had a veggie crepe. Delicious!

Saturday, November 15, 2014
Warm OverCast
Last night we stayed at June's

Awesomeness: So close to the El Jardin Restarant and all of downtown Ajijic. At supper we could wonder down to the square and eat Venduras el Vapor - steamed veggies with chili, lime and cheese.

Over to the El Jardin Restaurant we tromped, after getting up early. We met Niki and Stephen for breakfast. The most interesting thing about breakfast besides the company was what Stephen does each Saturday morning. He buys breakfast for two or three about ten or eleven year old boys. The boys were selling vegetables on the square in Ajijic. He even included a little guy today. The ninos seemed to really appreciate it and were very much bursting with smiles.

From there we drove in Stephen's big crew cab truck up along the carretara (main highway), up past many places we were familiar with on the west end of Ajijic. Then continuing on up the hill on the cobblestone lined street, up to Hal and Jerry's home in the Racquet Club. We were going on a hike up in the hills just north east of Jocotepec or north west of Ajijic. Hal and Jerry were a long time couple coming from Vancouver, Washington.

After leaving the Jocotepec by-pass we took Ctras la Los Trojes or highway 116 right to its end. Along the way we saw huge tracks of land covered in what looked like white plastic and it was plastic covering fields upon fields of berries, Driscoll's berries. You have like heard of them and purchased and ate them.

All of us engaged in delightful conversations with each other. The trail was mostly black dirt with lots of rocks. The trail looked as if it could have been a road at one time, at least part of the trail was a road. There were many wild flowers growing along the way including many yellow looking daisies and pink Cosmos. We were in a forest of low lying trees. Upon our return we discovered a small group of Mexican men using Machetes to take down the vegetation along the side of the road. A donkey was brought along to carry their pruning supplies. It looked happy, eating where it was parked.

We toured Jocotepec's town square and church yard. We walked passed markets. It is a very authentic town. We ate a restaurant which was decorated in Frida Kahlo pictures and memorabilia El Rincon de Frida Wow, good food. Lots of veggie options. Plus we found out about an Oriental Restaurant there with especially good Japanese food.

We all got out at Hal and Jerry's in the Racquet Club to see the art in their home. Wonderful, African art of wood and stone. Many masks and statuary graced their walls. They also have six rescue dogs. Yes, you read correctly - six marvellous dogs and most are medium to bigger breeds. The dogs were so happy to see them. Once little dog called Frida has curly hair on the top of her head. Must have been part Chinese Crested and part terrier. They love Pit Bulls and have had many. They home was such a treat to stroll through. We were even treated to a tour of Jerry's tour.

It was such a rich, fun day. Meeting and participating in our day with such friendly, enjoyable people such as Niki, Steve, Jerry and Hal was a real treat.

The hike to Sierra de San Juan Cosala

These signs are seen regularly around here.

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