A Travellerspoint blog

Birds of Paradise Condo - Staff Appreciation Night

sunny 28 °C

We end this week with the Bird’s of Paradise annual Staff Appreciation dinner where condo owners have the opportunity to thank their employees for another good year.

The staff here is a hard working group of long term employees including 24 hour guards at the front gate, gardeners, maintenance and some housekeeping. Each employee is invited to bring their family (some bring their entire extended family including aunts, uncles, gramma’s etc. . . . a call for free food doesn’t go unnoticed) so the visitors this year total over 100. They are treated to a home cooked buffet dinner plus drinks, served by Bird’s members. They enjoy the pool, some arts and crafts for the kids, recognition awards are handed out.
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The dessert table is a big hit!! and the whole event winds up with a Piñata for the kids.

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Posted by cnmcgeehan 19:11 Archived in Mexico Comments (0)

Jocotepec . . . by bus

sunny 28 °C

It is becoming habit on a Thursday to leave the condo early while the cleaning crew are in. After enjoying breakfast out with one of our Bird’s neighbours, we hopped on the bus to Jocotepec which is at the west end of Lake Chapala. I really haven’t been on buses much since I learned to drive . . . just a few short years ago . . . so, I am re-learning the rules of bus riding. Like, you get up and offer your seat to an older lady or one with a baby. Surprise Surprise: here, young people get up and offer their seat to Me . . . sigh . . . it’s as sure a sign as it is back home when people hold a door open for me, or call me Sir . . . I am sliding down the other side of the mountain.

The ride takes us through the village San Juan Cosala, right along the lake. Everyone in town has a beautiful view, even many Mexicans who have not been crowded out by condos yet. We discuss plans to come back for a late lunch one day and possibly watch for the sunset.

Jocotepec, although larger than Ajijic and Chapala, is a sleepy but otherwise fairly typical Mexican town: dusty, concrete buildings, a beautiful town square in the centre, with a big old church across the street. The streets are regular width, not as much cobblestone here, and most notably . . not as colourful or picturesque as Ajijic. The town square is a place for everyone to gather, socialize, get a cool drink, etc. On this day as we sit and people watch, the square suddenly comes alive in the early afternoon with vendors, children laughing and playing, music . . . seems school is out.

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The best part of this town is down at the lake where they have perhaps the longest Malecon and park area we have seen on the lake so far. Along one side of the walking path is exercise equipment, chin up bars, resistance trainers and the like, making this a pretty special place to get in shape. There are two children’s water splash pools, one at either end of the Malecon; a skate board park; lots of BBQ pits and benches; a pond; and sculpture pieces spotted throughout.

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Today, the wind was blowing in across the lake and it just took the edge off the heat of the day. These Malecons are almost empty during the week but are typically crowded when families come to enjoy their time together with strolls along the lake, picnics, games and dancing all throughout the weekend; although most of the activities are on Sunday.

Posted by cnmcgeehan 19:11 Archived in Mexico Comments (0)

Day Trip to Guadalajara

sunny 27 °C

Guadalajara is the second largest city in Mexico and we had the opportunity to travel there with one of the old timers here, Doug Ransom. The benefit beside his company is that we had someone to explain the bus system to get there. From the bus terminal he walked with us to the Historic Centro area of the city and oriented us to the location of the Cathedrals and the “sigh” shopping area.

There are several cathedrals in the city and these grand ancient monuments to the Catholic faith are in use every day and all day long. We observed many people dropping in to pray or light a candle, their passion for God readily apparent.

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Another passion exists here, like in most cities . . . the shopping district, which is vast.
Ladies, you won’t believe it - a street just for shoe stores! In this shopping core, another street is women’s clothing; another just for jewellery; one for toys of all kinds, etc. Talk about organization!
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The area is also home to Guadalajara University and is the seat for the Jalisco state government.

We spent a lovely afternoon people watching and will likely make it back here to explore the city further.

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Haven't seen these quite like this before . . thought they were priceless.
When the light turns green the crosswalk signal displays 50 seconds and the little man displayed above starts walking. The countdown continues and when it gets to around 20 seconds he's walking a little quicker . . by 10 seconds he's running lol . . .

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Posted by cnmcgeehan 19:10 Archived in Mexico Comments (0)

Stock up at the Market and Off to the Dentist We Go . .

sunny 27 °C

Walked to Chapala for the Monday market today, between 6 and 7 km and returned by bus with all our goods.
At the Chapala market today . . . 5 kilos juicing oranges = $5 pesos. What a bargain!

What can be better than fresh squeezed orange juice in the morning?
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How about all of this for just $120 pesos . . . about $10.00 Cdn (that’s including those 5 kilos oranges)
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I often believe that dentists in Canada are among the highest paid in the world. I don’t understand how a 20 minute root canal costs $1,000.00. My last dentist in Canada was an East Indian guy and a good dentist. He gave me a quote for some work I needed and it came to just over $3,000 and I balked. Sitting in his chair I made a decision that I would get the work done outside Canada and I told him I was going to travel to India and get the work done more cheaply. He started to warn me about hygienic conditions and I laughed at him. I asked if he was still practising there would I have worries going to his office or to the offices of any of his dental graduate ‘buddies’. He was indignant and replied ‘of course not’. I had my answer and my mind was made up, although I knew I would get the work done in Mexico as I have no current desire to visit India.

I chose a dentist here and went for an exam . . . it was just as thorough as anything I had done back home. The $3,000 job has begun and should be completed in three visits. Total cost will be $5,200 pesos - less than $450.00 Cdn. I plan to get my teeth cleaned before we leave . . . cost will be $12.00 Cdn. ‘Medical Tourism’ at its finest.

This is true of not just dental here; the entire medical system is good, efficient and reasonably priced. The lady in the condo next to ours has been suffering with back trouble. She went to the doctor at 9AM and he sent her directly go Guadalajara for an MRI and they got the results back by 5PM . . . THE SAME DAY. They put her on pain killers, muscle relaxant and a physio regimen to get some relief so she could continue her holiday. No doubt when she gets home she will wait a couple of months to see a specialist and then settle into an interminable waiting period before anything more is done for her.

Posted by cnmcgeehan 06:19 Archived in Mexico Comments (0)

5km Road Race

sunny 23 °C

I (Nellie) had inquired with our landlord about running groups in the area before coming down. I found out that Liz Veras (if you’ll remember, she picked us up from the Airport two weeks ago) is a runner herself and she invited me to a local run. This was to be a 5km run from just at the bottom of our hill to Chapala. Like a lot of things here in Mexico, there may be an intended start time for an event but . . . So on this day nobody really knew when it was to start, it was only suggested to me to be there early. So I head down the hill by 7:30am and on initial arrival don’t see anyone or any evidence of a run taking place. I decide to just go ahead and do my normal solo Sunday morning run. Then I see Liz and her husband across the street waving and looking around some more I notice there are a few others hanging out under a tree but with running gear on.

Eventually the race organizers show up just after 8:30 and we sign in, are given hand printed bibs, and gather at the start line. Turns out this is a bonafide run - they blocked the whole of the east bound lane for us. There were two police motorcycles leading us out and an ambulance at the rear. As long as you stayed between them you had the whole road available. Only as the group started spreading out with the speedsters in the lead did regular traffic manage to leap frog around us.

Although it wasn’t my best 5km time, I was totally surprised to learn that I was first among the females +39 category. I had intended to simply jog/walk back to San Antonio right after the race but now they wouldn’t let me leave. I had to stay to receive my award. So once the last runner was in they begin this whole ceremony with speeches and thank-you’s to everyone before announcing the first three male and female runners in each age category. As you may know, Mexicans are all for celebrations and so there is much cheering and congratulating for each announcement. Really neat experience and I come away with a trophy and an invitation to another run to be held in April. Needless to say, I didn’t get back to the condo till well after lunch.
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Posted by cnmcgeehan 06:19 Archived in Mexico Comments (0)

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