Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Ajijic and Chapala, Mexico - Part I

Not going to break this down into day by day, but just general impressions.  The overall feel for this entire trip was quiet and peace.  This area of Mexico could not be any more different from our usual stomping grounds in Cancun and Maya Riviera.

Ajijic is about 45 minutes out of Guadalajara - Mexico's second largest city with a population of 1.495 million in 2010.  It is a drive out of the city and up into the mountains -- reaching an altitude of 5,000 feet, which is high.  One needs to slow down a bit, hydrate and relax at this high place.

Lake Chapala is the largest fresh water lake in Mexico and is 50 mi from east to west and averages (7.8 miles from north to south, and covers an approximately 420 sq mi -- so that's a big lake.  The town is right up next to the lake.  There is a legend that the bromide vapors come up and that is what makes the air so perfect.  If I could have bottled it I would have.  It just feels good to breathe there.

We arrived at the hustle, bustle airport and our family we were pet sitting for came to pick us up.  It was wonderful to see two friendly faces with waving hands for us.  What super people Jim and Linda are.  They made us feel so at home and didn't have 50 rules for us -- just sort of assumed we'd be mature and responsible.  Their little girl dogs were the best.  Betty and Maggie (I called them Betty Boop and Maggie May) made our stay special in that we have no pets now and we thoroughly enjoyed them.  We took them down a cobblestone road several times a day to walk.  We encountered some nasty stickers that Betty got into; Betty also found some animal burrow and was digging to China to get that critter.  We saw a small herd of goats that walked a bit with John and I one day and there were also horses out in the area.  Their home is in West of Ajijic, so we were out in a little more rural area.  We heard many birds chirping each day, but especially loved the mocking birds that would do the "wolf whistle" each morning.  It was pretty magical.

John, Jim and Linda
Having margaritas at La Belle Vida
which was in the hills and had a beautiful
view of Lake Chapala

Lovely backyard of homeowners

Our first two nights we stayed in the Casita on the property.  A fully functional place, with a nice bed, bathroom with shower and full kitchen.  We had a TV and were able to use Jim's computer.  We learned the routine and info we needed and shared meals with Jim and Linda.  On Monday, they left for their beach trip.  We got to meet their maid, Margarita, along with Diego, their gardener - very nice folks.  We moved into the master bedroom for the time homeowners were gone.  We were so content staying at the house that we only made one trip to Chapala.  This is very, very unusual for me since I'm a go, let's go person.  Maybe I'm slowing down?

Our Chapala trip was fun since we met a new CS friend, Deborah, walked around, shopped a little and had the best lunch that consisted of chips and salsa, nachos, molcajete with beef, chicken & shrimp, fresh tortillas and free margaritas.  All this for $22.00 for the 3 of us, including tip.

Don't find this around in the U.S.
too much anymore, and with a leather saddle.

John and Deborah
Best meal we had down there.

Beautiful church downtown

More later...............