A Travellerspoint blog

Mango on a Stick

sunny 30 °C

We walked downtown this morning as we had to go to a travel agent to buy our bus tickets for our trip to Guanajuato on Monday. We like to walk on the Carratera as there is a bike lane provided for walkers and cyclists . . . no vehicles are allowed in this lane. We have used this successfully since we got here and it makes walking easy as it is well shaded and there are no cobblestones to trip on.

We are approaching a traffic light when I hear a horn blasting behind us and I turn and some uptight American asshole (I saw the license plate) wants us to get out of his way so he can beat the line up at the light. We ignored him and as he passed he flips us the bird and yells some nasties. It is hard to believe that anyone can be uptight here but there must be one or two everywhere.

We got our tickets and walked down to the lake to enjoy the sights and the cooling breezes. It is surprising how quiet it is there during the week . . . just a few of us gringos and how busy it gets on the weekend. This week is different though as Easter is the biggest holiday in Mexico and not only the churches are getting ready but vendors of every kind are getting set up now in the best places on the beach and in the square. We are really looking forward to all the festivities; we plan to follow one of the passion plays put on in the area . . . problem now is, which one?

We finished up the morning at the town square and enjoyed a coffee. When we first arrived in Ajijic we were surprised at how few smokers we encountered in the coffee houses but now there seems to be a lot. We moved tables twice just to get away from the second hand smoke. My thoughts on smokers would probably be that they are not dying off fast enough however that would make me an uptight asshole myself so I won't say anything about that.

While we are having coffee Nellie spots a vendor peeling mangoes and making flowers out of them so we wandered over to watch. He peels them and shapes them and sells them with some spices added. I bought one, first he squirts line juice on it then he sprinkles salt and puts a sweet sauce on as well. He follows that up with some hot sauce and a spice that makes the taste tart. It was delicious however it is messy to eat so when we came home I headed to the shower and Nellie did some laundry. lol

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Posted by cnmcgeehan 08:45 Archived in Mexico Comments (0)

Palm Sunday - Lake Chapala District

sunny 31 °C

Palm Sunday, the start of Holy Week or 'Semana Santa', will be marked all over Mexico's predominantly Catholic communities by traditional processions and pageants to bring the Easter story to life.

In this area all the communities of Ajijic, San Antonio and Chapala, and as well Jocotepec and San Juan Cosala will have their own versions of the Passion Play which will be carried on all thru the Easter weekend. The Passion Play takes you over 2000 years back in time for a dramatic portrayal of the life and death of Christ. All the main characters are portrayed by amateur actors and local townsfolk and everything takes place in the local church, town square and other such venues. Many of the actors play the same part year after year and strive to perfect their roles and costumes to be as authentic as possible with what we know of that period.

Palm Sunday’s procession depicts the leading of Jesus into the city of Jerusalem. He is supported by his disciples and many of the believers as he is being led to the city to be put on trial.

Today's processions in San Antonio and Ajijic will be held at different times from each other and Nellie has decided she must see both. She comes back from the San Antonio event with photos and excitement saying 'this is just awesome', 'you've got to see it'.

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So we wander into Ajijic after dinner to attend the festivities. Unfortunately, the build up by the long timers here of how elaborate the Ajijic procession will be disappoints . . . only slightly. Not that it's less than amazing: to see a live performance that the whole town gets involved in; to watch as the streets are covered with a layer of alfalfa; and that the town square is alive with crowds waiting in anticipation . . . just different and with a little less involvement by these town's folk than what Nellie witnessed earlier in the day in San Antonio. Pretty amazing event just the same!

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After the procession there is an 'Old Time Fair' held in the square where there were food booths and game tables setup all around the rim of the square and throngs of people milling about and socializing while the mass was carried on at the Church.

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At every celebration you must have the hollowed out egg shells that are now filled with confetti . . .
this little guy was beside us as we were waiting for the procession and smashed five eggs in a row on his own head, giggling all the while

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Posted by cnmcgeehan 08:45 Archived in Mexico Comments (0)

and Rambling Thoughts:

sunny 31 °C

There are a number of ways to get job security, you might become a tenured professor or you might join a union . . . or,

you might be a simple minded man who works at Birds of Paradise. Martine is the latter. He was hired a few years ago and his responsibilities are few and the expectations placed on him are even less. His favourite job seems to be standing around aiming a hose here and there and he is quite good at that. He does push a lawn mower now and then but he always returns to the hose.

Martine married a simple and like minded lady a few years ago and they promptly had twin girls. As beautiful as they were they both had eye problems . . . both have extremely crossed eyes. By the generosity and caring of the owners’ group at the Birds condos the girls have received several surgeries which have almost corrected their impairment. Hard to believe, but the attachment to this family outweighs the negatives caused by Martines' work ethic. We are hoping for a happy ending.

We enjoy walking to the town of Chapala, about six km from here. We often go on Mondays because of the market held there; it is bigger and (in our opinion) better than the one in Ajijic. Translation: the market in Ajijic is mostly for gringos and the prices are considerably higher so we go for the exercise and the better deals. We enjoy this walk so much that sometimes we go just for lunch or to hang around the malecon there. There is more activity on this strip than anywhere else in the valley and we often go shopping . . . oops that's a bit of a stretch, Nellie goes shopping and I wait for her but at least the scenery is nice.

One afternoon we were sitting together and we were approached by five high school students and they asked if they could ask us some questions. Apparently they have a project for English class. We ask how many years they have been studying English and they tell us two years. Their spoken English is on par with my Spanish so it was lucky they had written down the questions in both languages. It seems they are most interested in our culture. There were no questions about our weather or about why seemingly reasonable humans would agree to live in such a climate. Instead they wanted to know what kind of music we liked, what kinds of traditional food we liked and what would constitute a cultural event. Their questions were based on the expectation that they would be talking to Americans but they settled for us because we were handy. Those are actually hard questions to answer as we tried to convey the idea that Canada was culturally affected by a vast melting pot of many nationalities, and at that moment we couldn’t answer what the cultural or typical foods of Canada would be.

The other day I was waiting downtown for Nellie as she was getting her nails done and I had a good laugh. This pickup truck was trying to park down the street from my vantage point and after a number of maneuvers a big gringo gets out of the passenger door. He starts barking orders to the driver sounding like a guy with a Hummer mentality but testy because he owns a Chevy. Anyway after a few more aborted attempts he tells the driver to get out and he will park the truck. I expected to see a teenager get out from the way this guy was yelling but unfortunately it was his wife. He hops in and slams the truck into gear and promptly scrapes the side of the truck against the too high curb. I almost pissed myself I was laughing so hard . . . he jumps out and upon noticing lots of people were watching, he meekly went saunters down the sidewalk with his poor wife trailing behind. I hope the rest of the day was better for her.

Posted by cnmcgeehan 08:45 Archived in Mexico Comments (0)

More Random Pics

sunny 31 °C

We've spent the better part of the past week relaxing, enjoying the company of several of the other tenants at the condo complex; we've been out to dinner a few times and enjoyed a play put on by The Lakeside Little Theatre (just down the hill from us); the other of the two local theatre groups. This time a play called 'Social Security'. Another good production with great humour!

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Some of what we see around our complex and during our long walks . . .

Birds near our patio . . . DSC_0265.jpgDSC_0259.jpgDSC_0625.jpg
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Waterfowl by the lake . . . DSC_0812.jpgDSC_0965.jpgDSC_0603.jpgDSC_0796.jpg
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Pelicans nearer Chapala . . . DSC_0792.jpgDSC_0787.jpgDSC_0794.jpg

Charlie's fav . . . IMG_0696.jpg

traffic jams in Ajijic . . . IMG_0695.jpgP4060113.jpg

Vendors along the Carratera . . .
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Posted by cnmcgeehan 08:45 Archived in Mexico Comments (0)

San Juan Cosala - Ladies Day at the Spa

sunny 31 °C

An easy bus ride down the road towards Jocotepec you will find The Spa Tlalocan at Hotel Balneario San Juan Cosala.

We decided to make a day of hanging out in warm geothermally fed pools. The relaxing mineral waters are wonderful.

Besides the large family pool, water slides and children's wading pools there is a full service spa. Here you can get manicures, pedicures, steam baths, facials, etc.

We decide to go for the hot mineral pools. There is a series of tubs starting with Cider Vinegar. You share the pool with up to seven or eight others and your time to relax and enjoy each one is monitored by the staff. From there you move on to Floral, then to ??? (can't remember the third one), to Coffee, to Oatmeal, and finally the warm Mud bath.

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A great afternoon spent with my sisters the day before they have to depart for the frozen tundra that we call home.

Posted by cnmcgeehan 08:45 Archived in Mexico Comments (0)

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