I have just gotten back from Mexico. The trip was a success, I had a wonderful time enjoyed my
stay got to explore around the Chapala, Aijic, Jocotopec side of Lake Chapala.
The good news is that Mexico is fun, nice people, good food, relaxing atmosphere, and very different than North of the Border. I got to see how the Gringos live there at the Lake and some live very well indeed. There are lots of pictures to post to show what it looks like in and around Lake Chapala and a little of Guadalajara.
It was nice to meet some of the local foreign residents living in the villages around the lake, there lots of foreigners living in the area some only seasonally and others on a more permanent basis.
Most of the residents looked happy, with a few grumps thrown in for good measure. Many locals shared information about the area willingly and their advice was very helpful.
I walked several hours a day in and around the villages trying to get to know the neighborhoods as best I could in a short time. There are areas that are more expensive and have wide streets and lovely homes, although one drawback of the style of home in Mexico are the walls that prevent casual observation of the homes. With persistence one can get an occasional glimpse of what is behind the walls and in some cases it is stunningly beautiful. The plainest of walls could conceal a beautiful home. The use of columns, arches, domes, copulas and tile was prevalent.
The use of bright colors was a welcome change from the the predictable color north of the border. After a while seeing an orange or purple house didn’t raise one’s eyebrow one bit, so encountering a deep red wall was not the least bit disturbing. The style of the less formal planned communities would best be described as eclectic. Businesses sharing the same block or even sharing walls were common place. This does not seem to cause much problem for either property owner and maybe having a mechanic next door is a good thing when you need your car fixed.
Speaking of cars there are plenty of cars both Mexican and foreign however there are those who live there and don’t own one or don’t use it much as most businesses are within walking distance and parking can be a problem in the older part of the villages.
During our visit the Mexican population was preparing for the Day of the Dead celebration. This is a time when the Mexican families remember their departed loved ones and celebrate their lives. In homes and businesses altars are erected in memory of the departed friends and relatives. The graves are tended and visited candles are lit and set around the grave, meals are shared and music is played even in the cemetery. There are special foods for the holiday, bread with skulls and candies shaped into skulls and decorated. There are decorative skeletons posed in various costumes displayed. This is not a particularly sad time as the Mexican people look upon death with a different point of view. Death to them, from what I have learned, is part of life and not to be thought of as macabre or scary. Hence seeing tiny chocolate coffins made just for the holiday seems to fit in, as does the local coffin maker on the plaza square, just stop by and get fitted for one (eh,eh your going to need it one day:).
This holiday is not a quiet holiday as is our memorial day in the north. This is a holiday that start weeks before with daily Masses at the local church preceded by lots of bell ringing and fireworks at 4 AM ! Depending on who is setting off the fireworks there could be one bang or a series of KABOOMS that set off the local car alarms that upset the local dogs who bark and howl at being blasted out of their sleep at such an early hour. The actual night of celebration there are even more fireworks set off at the local church lots of rockets and showers of sparks and color and a tremendous noise, all expected and enjoyed by the Mexicans and others.
This all fits in with the usual cacophony in the neighborhood; roosters crowing, dogs barking, music of all kinds and sounds of things being built and repaired. Mexico is not a quiet country, it is loud, boisterous, lively, joyous and did I say loud? There are moments of peace and quiet and then an avocado drops off a tree and crashes on the roof and falls to the metal table, one gets used to it and even anticipates it. Like hearing the gas delivery man going up and down the street hawking his gas with a recorded voice loudly proclaim BLAAA GAZZZZZ, BLAAAH, GAZZZZZ, eh, eh, it is all a part of the fabric of life in a Mexican town. If noise bothers you bring earplugs. I rather enjoyed all the sounds after a while.
I have pictures to post they are being edited and when the editing is completed I will add them to this post.