Sunday, February 24, 2008

Adios from Mexico!!

This will be our last post from Mexico, sadly we are heading home tomorrow. We have truly enjoyed our 6 weeks here and are already planning our return trip. But before we take off for Mexico again, we will be taking the summer to sail at least one long trip and a few shorter ones! The first thing we need to do when we get back home is get the new canvas made for Splendid Mane. Not to mention we have to play catch up with our house renovations! The list is too long!
Hasta la vista!

Cactus Garden Ajijic February 24

We decided to take one last tour around Ajijic today and came across a little business that sells cactus. They had a really nice display garden and the pictures above are some of their nicest specimens........ xeriscape gardening at it's best. Beautiful!

New neighbors in the big casa

John and Marie (Murphy's mom and dad) have gone home to Ontario and now we have new neighbors. Don and Betsy are from Texas. This is a picture of their friends who live in Ajijic (on the horses) coming to visit on Tequila and Cervaza. Don and Betsy don't have a little dog though, so things are not quite as exciting around here now. We really miss little Murf!

Canadian bank in Mexico

This does not paint a very nice picture of one of Canada's largest banks in Mexico. The doors look like they could be easily kicked in and the woman sitting out front could probably use some of the billion$s the bank made last year instead of having to sit in front of their doors begging for money.

This one is for Becky......

She likes geckos...... isn't he cute?

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Total Eclipse of the moon February 20

9:58 pm CST

10:05 pm CST

After dinner, Jerry and I went for a walk around Barra and then decided to stop for a coffee. On our way back to our hotel room, we were surprised to see the moon, almost in a total eclipse, and we felt particularly lucky to have seen it. What a beautiful sight to see on a warm tropical clear night. We could hear somebody howling at the moon and lots of kids laughing and having a good time and pointing at the moon.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Mystery Flower

Does anyone know what the name of this flower is?

Sunset in Barra de Navidad

The sun is setting over the Pacific on February 19th...... Happy Birthday Stephen!

Abby relaxing in Barra February 20

Abby and Becky staked out their chairs before the sun had a chance to come around. So in the meantime, she was cold! Becky was up in the hotel room......... she had a minor run in with a bird that was flying overhead.

Isla Navidad February 20

Today Jerry and I took a car trip around the bay to Isla Navidad, which is where the big resort is from the last post. Isla Navidad is an island connected to the mainland by a sand bar. The only reason I call it an island is because it is made of rock and everywhere else is sand, sand, sand. On Isla Navidad is a very small town called Colimilla, close to the resort and I would imagine that most of the people who live there work at the resort. The above picture is taken looking back towards Barra de Navidad, with the resort in the foreground. The picture below is also looking at Barra, showing the bar and the beach where our hotel is.

Barra de Navidad February 19

This picture is taken from on top of the highest hotel in Barra de Navidad, looking towards a resort on the other side of the sand bar (that is B. de. N). Apparently it is a very expensive place to stay, we are going to try get over to see it later.

The locals playing a soccer game while the tide is out.

Return to Barra de Navidad February 18

We are back in Barra de Navidad, this time with Becky and Abby. We are having a great time, except it is a little cold if you can believe that!! On our way to the coast, we passed some beautiful scenery.... this is a cactus close to the road that had started blooming.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Lake Chapala February 16

Lake Chapala, Mexico's biggest lake, water level is the highest it has been in decades partly due to an exceptionally rainy season last year. Years ago this area was a childrens's playground but today it is under 4 or 5 feet of water. We have also heard of some homes along the water front that had their pools and tennis courts submerged because of the rise (although there is no sympathy for these people because they weren't suppose to build there in the first place).

There are many problems with Lake Chapala and it's water level and quality. It is polluted from untreated industrial and agricultural runoff causing the water hyacinth to take over and make it very difficult for fishermen to navigate around. It is home to the White Pelican and over 100 other migrating and water birds. But things are happening to help the lake. Groups and government are working to try to bring the health back and I am sure someday they will.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Mexican cherry tomatoes.

These are the smallest sweetest tomatoes I have ever tasted and they cannot be purchased anywhere. They are from a volunteer plant that is growing in the vacant lot next to our casita. We enjoyed them for dinner the other night.

You just never know... when in Mexico

Jerry and I heard a strange noise as we were getting dinner ready and looked out our front door to see a herd of cattle cruising by. I just got my camera out in time to get this picture. The next day the same group passed by our house again, followed by the cowboy on his horse and with his dogs. The cows seemed to know exactly where to go.

Ajijic Plaza February 11

Wherever you go in Mexico, you are likely to see these streamers, strung across roads, inside houses, or in the plaza. They come in many shapes, colours and sizes. These are in the main plaza in Ajijic and I just couldn't resist taking a picture of their pretty colours as they flapped in the breeze.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Knock knock.... Who's there?

In San Migel... the Mexican version of our peep-hole to see who is knocking.

Bienvenido Guanajuato! February 9

Nothing could have prepared me for my first sight of Guanajuato as seen above. This town, population 141,000, is built on steep hillsides on top of subterranean tunnels that used to be the river that ran through the valley. The houses are crammed together so tightly that in most cases there is not enough room for a road, just an alley or stairway. The roads go underground, through the mountain and under the town. The really neat thing about this town is the way the home owners have painted their houses, making it very charming and picturesque. Below is a picture of part of the underground road and walkway.

Silver was discovered in Guanajuato by the Spanish in the late 1700's and one of the mines accounted for 2/3 of the world's silver production in the 1800's. There are still a few mines in production, and you can easily purchase silver jewelry in stores and the market or just from vendors on the street.

Dolores Hildalgo February 8

We drove out of San Migel, heading for another town called Dolores Hildalgo. Our plan was to possibly spend the night there, but after having a look around town we decided we would rather move on to Guanajuato and stay there, nothing against Dolores. This picture is of the landscape between Dolores and Guanajuato. It was very dry and desert like, cactus were everywhere, the land is just waiting for the rains to begin. It looks hot, but we enjoyed our little rest stop with a nice breeze coming up from the valley below. Just a few miles after this picture was taken we started to climb a little bit and the vegetation changed almost instantly to lots of pine and no cactus.

San Migel de Allende February 7

San Migel is about 6 hours from Ajijic towards Mexico City. It is a town known for it's colonial architecture and cobblestone streets (although we are finding most places have the cobblestone!). San Migel has a big population of foreigners from all over the world. We walked through the town, looking in the shops (expensive!) and taking in all the beautiful buildings. Below is the cathedral in the main plaza, built by the prisoners of war captured by the Spanish in the 1500's. It really is pink, the stone's natural colour!

Chapala February 6

We had some errands to do in Chapala, a town just a little east of Ajijic. Once we got there, we decided to do some exploring by foot so we headed up a set of stairs off the main road, down a dirt lane past dogs, chickens and more dogs, through a cobblestone alley way, up more stairs and finally found a paved road. The picture is of stairs leading up to the next row of houses. Take a close look and you will see the water supply pipes. I guess they don't really have to worry about frozen pipes!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Constitution Parade in Ajijic February 5

This is a short video I thought my blog friends might like to see. Jerry and I enjoyed watching one of the ways Mexican people celebrate their holidays. This video was near the beginning of the parade, right after these guys came floats and then horses and a single donkey!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Holiday in Mexico February 5

Today was the 91st anniversary of the Constitution of Mexico and Mexicans like to have any excuse to have a party! In Ajijic they had a parade with floats, horses, one donkey, and lots of people dressed up in costumes and masks. The people in the parade were throwing confetti, candy and white powder (which I think was flour or something similar) at the crowds. The narrow streets were jamed, there was barely room for the floats to go by.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Life in Jocotepec February 2

Today we drove to the little town of Jocotepec, about 20 minutes west of Ajijic. This little donkey was starting to give his rider some trouble, but finally got things straightened out and was on his way. Later we saw him carrying his load of fresh garbanzo beans.

Murf the Mexican Dog

Murf 'guarding' from the roof of our casita.

Ajijic Mountain walk February 1

While Jerry was busy buying and selling stocks, Murphy and I went for a walk early before the sun got too hot. Our little casita is at the base of the 'mountain', so it is only a short walk to the path leading to the top. We passed quite a few other hikers on the way up, they were already on their way down. We made it almost to the top, but decided to head back because it was getting hot. I didn't want to overdo it for Murphy's sake!

Tonala Market January 31

Thursdays and Sundays are market days in Tonala, a suburb of Guadalarja, so we decided to make an excursion from Ajijic to see what it was all about. Our neighbors, John and Marie, were happy to come along, John even offered to drive. How could we turn that down? Jerry was pretty happy that he finally was able to be a passenger instead of the driver (Jerry is driver on our rental car).
Tonala has a big outdoor shopping market where you can buy just about anything. Beautiful handmade crafts, silver, blown glass, ceramic and pottery. You could furnish and decorate your entire house here. People come from all over the country to shop here because of the quality and prices (unbeatable). We strolled around for a couple hours then met up with John and Marie for lunch.This is a picture of pottery before it has been glazed. These are mostly large pots and unbelievably they sell for $10.00 for a set of three!