Trip to Guadalajara (Spanish School)

This is my first of many posts about my trip to Guadalajara Jalisco Mexico to learn Spanish. My, dear neighbor, with very good humor drove me to Mexicali where we stayed the night at the Colonial Hotel. This was a recommendation from another good neighbor and he was right on. The hotel was clean and comfortable and the price was very good.

My flight was very early in the morning and for some reason that escapes me now I thought it was going to a little plane and few passengers. Upon arriving at the airport I was surprised to see so many people there, at first I thought there might be other flights but no this was my fight all these people were getting on. After schlepping my bags around and getting a boarding pass that I didn’t think I needed (Yes, you do Julia) I finally get to the ID control were I was confronted by Mexican Immigration. Turns out they were as puzzled as I was as to why I didn’t have my new Resident Visa Card and after the three gentlemen gave me the once over and put up with my broken Spanish I was sent on my way to go through security. The same type of security in the states, but I didn’t have to take my shoes off and it was (thank goodness) quick, I had to use the bathroom. That was a neat trick with a a bag and a purse in cubby to small to change into my superwoman costume if I had too.

Once out of the bathroom I got a cup of coffee and wouldn’t you know it no sooner did I get settled in a chair with my coffee it was time to line up for boarding the plane and it wasn’t a little turbo prop either. I found out the ticket checkers and fight crew didn’t speak english so my immersion started off already 🙂 No problem, serious announcements were recorded in both English and Spanish and they were the usual directions of following the directions and pointing out the exits in case of the plane crashing sort of thing. The plane ride itself was boring and my tummy wanted food. I did buy a muffin and a drink when offered to keep the grumbling beast at bay. I was so bored I read the inflight magazine or at least the parts I could with my broken Spanish.

Upon arrival at Guadalajara Airport we were bused to the terminal and lined up, yes all of us at the wrong baggage claim area and an employee herded us to the correct one which of course was much further from the exit. I claimed my bags and was even checked by an employee to make sure I wasn’t taking the wrong bags. I schlepped three bags and a big purse towards the exit where I asked a man at a Taxi booth about my voucher for a Taxi and he knew nothing about it. So I dragged my bags and I outside found a safe place against the building and like a paper boy of old started waving my voucher in the air while calling out TAXI ! One of the men who I assume controls the Taxis came over and read the voucher and went and asked another man about the voucher who looked very disinterested. At this point I thought I was going to have to pay for a ride out of pocket when a Taxi driver had a chat with this man and directed me to a Taxi. Wouldn’t you know it I get a Taxi driver who hasn’t a clue about vouchers or where the hotel is, had to go get directions from other taxi drivers on how to get there. I’m getting a little concerned at this point until he came back to the Taxi all smiles. I asked him if everything was okay and he said Si. So what are you going to do but sit back and enjoy the ride ? Obviously we got to the hotel in good order so it was much ado about nothing.

The hotel is small and in the historic (Old) part of town near a cathedral, in case I feel the need for spiritual help passing a test I imagine. The desk clerk took me to my room which of course is on the second floor with two flights of stairs a goat would enjoy running up and down. I thought I was puffing a bit until I heard the (Young) clerk huffing and puffing more than I was and I have almost a half century on the the poor boy! He was still puffing when he left my room and I had recovered. That young man needs some exercise, just my opinion not a judgement, but sheesh when a 71 year old can out do you on your own turf something has to be improved. Nice kid we’ll get along just fine. I might even challenge him to a foot race later and see who goes the hospital first!

I got directions to a local restaurant and guess what ? Yup, more stairs, but the food is good and cheap too. Nice view of that Cathederal with a busy plaza in front. After lunch I went back to my room to try out the bed with a serious nap. The bed is comfy and I had a good nap. Being Sunday the city is sort of quiet, I brought earplugs just in case.

Here are some photos of the inside of the hotel;

I like the colors and plants the church bells are charming the streets are narrow and one way so getting there is a problem when driving, but not when walking. Tomorrow is a holiday and I’ll take a tour of the neighborhood.


Categories: Adventure, Holidays, learning Spanish, Mexican Restaurant, Spanish School, Uncategorized | Tags: | 1 Comment

Signed up for Spanish Immersion Class

I have, once again, committed myself to learn Spanish. I have signed up for a class in Guadalajara that is full immersion supposedly no english spoken. I just took a test for class placement and promptly failed it, so now I’m dropped down to a lower level. I’m supposed to receive another test in email and we’ll see how that goes. The plan I signed up for is a month long course at I. M. A. C.  a well known Spanish language school. I will be staying at a local inn four blocks from school in Guadalajara. My concerns are that I’ll be in over my head, in a class full of smart energetic college students or smart, sharp business professionals and I’ll be the only less than stellar student. I’ll write weekly posts on my experiences while at the school.

I also plan to spend a few weeks in Lake Chapala to get a feel for the place once again and see if it is a fit for me. I may look for a house to rent for the summer to look over the area at a more leisurely pace before committing to moving there. The weather is a big draw for me as it doesn’t have the cold winters like Baja has and it doesn’t have the hot humid summers that San Felipe has. Also San Felipe is close to the border and if I need anything up north or to visit family it is only a day’s drive. Also I have lots of friends in San Felipe and I would miss them dearly, there is a lot to consider between the two places before making a decision.

Today I spent a little personal time getting a manicure. Before I leave for Guadalajara I will get my hair and feet done so I’ll look and feel good for my new adventure. Here is a photo my me getting my nails done at my favorite shop in San Felipe.


Categories: Adventure, learning Spanish, Retiring to Mexico, San Felipe Baja MX, Spanish School, Uncategorized, Weather in San Felipe | Tags: | 4 Comments

I may have a new project


I was talking to a friend and she told me about a house for sale in town owned by a man who is not returning to Mexico except to visit and it was at a very reasonable price. I have been to see the house twice. It has some issues that need to be addressed. I’ll list the issues later first is the photos of the house. It is small, it has two bedrooms and other that has to be finished so three bedrooms and three baths, a small patio with a laundry room, the living room is a good size and has a fireplace. The garage holds two vehicles end to end and the garage roof can be used as a patio as it has a spiral staircase that is very sturdy. The kitchen comes equipped with stove and fridge. The stove is gas there is a gas hot water heater.


Living room

Living room

End of living room

End of living room

Hallway to bedrooms

Unfinished room

Unfinished room

View of the patio

View of the patio



View of the Sea of Cortez from the garage roof

View of the Sea of Cortez from the garage roof

Roof looks in good shape

Roof looks in good shape

View of the lighthouse from roof patio

View of the lighthouse from roof patio




View from the roof patio

View from the roof patio

Some of the issues are; Electrical wiring needs replacement, plumbing and toilets replaced, floor joists replaced in kitchen, floors leveled or replaced, unfinished room completed, patio redone, gas lines replaced, kitchen tiles replaced, AC installed. That’s the short list.  I am still in the “Thinking About It Stage”.

Categories: Adventure | Tags: , | 7 Comments

Home inspection

Today made the second day of the home inspection business. The first day was getting the electricity on and checked as well as the water. The electricity seems to be fine all plugs are wired correctly only one fan in the back bedroom doesn’t work, but I don’t like its looks anyway so it will be replaced and wired properly. The water turn off valve for the house leaks badly and needs to be replaced as does one toilet tank seal. All this is an easy fix.

Today we had the gas turned on and found that the water heater needs to be straightened so the flue will work correctly and that there are no racks in the oven, the oven looks clean which surprised me as the rest of the house looks grimy. I was most concerned when the heating/air-conditioning unit didn’t come on when we had electricity. The HVAC man checked it out and it is a problem with the cable going to the unit from the thermostat and or the thermostat. I’ll have that replaced once the house is officially mine.

So far nothing serious has been found to be wrong just little things that need repair. A bit of good news today while at the house there was a strong down-pour of rain for about fifteen minutes giving the roof and windows a good test and they passed the test. The small amount of damage to the back windows was mostly caused be condensation and not a water leak as I first thought.

I am eager to get going with cleaning up the place; such as removing the carpet it stinks like someone or some animal peed on it and with the humidity the odor is stronger. Once the interior of the house is painted and new floor coverings are installed it will smell a lot better.

So, all-n-all I am more confident that this place can be made into a nice home once I get working on it. I did get to observe the neighborhood on a weekday morning and it is a quiet neighborhood just a few cars and small trucks passing by, the land drains fairly well and so far I’ve heard only one rooster, some horses and the train far off not using its horn at the crossing which is nice. I may like this place after I get it fixed up to my satisfaction. In a few weeks I’ll be trailer trash again maybe I should practice scratching in in-appropriate places and wiping my nose on my shirt-sleeve-nah, I’ll get by with the blank look on my face 🙂GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA



Categories: Adventure, Arizona House, repairs | Tags: , | 2 Comments

I got an infection in the kidneys and had to go to the doctor and get my blood tested an x-ray and urinalysis. The urinalysis came back that I had an infection in the kidneys; kidneys because of the lower back pain I suppose. I was on cipro for ten days I hope it worked I have to wait another three days to get another test to check if the infection is gone. I also found that my cholesterol has gone up to 165 not a good sign. I think I have reduced my Lipitor too much so I’m going back to my previous dosage and see what happens. My x-ray has given me some worry it seems that there is some damage do to my 27 years of smoking and even though I quit smoking in 1983 I still have evidence of the damage caused. Gives one pause to think this could be a problem in the future. More worrying than that is according to the x-ray my aorta is enlarged or aorta aneurism a swelling of the aorta that puts one at risk of a rupture and that is the end. The doctor didn’t seem to think mine was dangerous as I have my blood pressure under control at least the last time that it was checked. Needless to say this is giving me some worry and I plan to discuss this with my doctors when I see them next month in Tucson.

Saturday I felt well enough to do some social activities I went on an artists home tour. There are homes built on beaches south of town called the south campos. There are about six camps south of town they don’t have fresh water it has to be trucked in not unusual in Mexico. These camps are off the grid so they are on solar power. So solar is the source of electric power and some have back-up generators for those rare days the sun doesn’t shine strong enough to put enough electricity into the batteries they depend on to power the house lights and other electrical equipment. Their refrigeration is older Servel gas-powered refrigerators or RV fridges which work on both 120 ac and lp gas. The homeowners seemed to be doing fine with the arrangement and the homes, at least the ones I got to visit, were fabulous some extremely modern others like a hippy sort of thing out of the sixties, all quite imaginative.

The art was very good, very professional and well displayed. We got to see seven artist’s studios and their work it was quite an experience.

Tonight San Felipe is in the middle of a serious wind and sand storm. The winds are forty to sixty miles an hour and it is blowing sand and dust everywhere. The sand and dust are in my house as well as everyone else’s house leaving a layer of fine sand on every surface it will take hours to clean it all up. My biggest worry is my garden the wind is torturing my trees and plants just beating them up. I hope they survive. I have been outside bolstering the trees with more support from small ropes and even painter’s tape to keep the trees from being destroyed. The bushes are on their own-we’ll see how they fare in morning light. I had to go up to my roof garden and take down a chair as it was being thrown like a toy the noise would surely keep me awake all night if I didn’t bring it down from the roof.

I won’t have photos for a while as my camera broke, when I go north again I will buy another until then I’ll have to do without.


Categories: Adventure, beach, beach mexico, dust, Health, heart, Pete's Camp, San Felipe Baja MX, Weather in San Felipe | Leave a comment

Meeting with the construction man

I had a meeting this evening with the construction man and he and the owner where at the meeting and we had what I think is a fruitful meeting. The construction man’s name is Manuel Pacheco and he is going to pick me up here at the RV park tomorrow morning and we are going together to the lot to check things out and compare notes. Then to the camp office for a letter that we will take to the Mexican electric commission (CFE) to get a new meter installed; of course I pay for that. Then we will look at a truck for sale near the electric office then we take me back to the park. Mr. Pacheco seems to think he can have me in the lot in few days I think it will be a few weeks as the electric company may have a different schedule. We talked about sewer lines, electric lines, water tanks, water pumps and gravel. so who knows how long that will all take and I want a palapa built also so that all could take a while.

It will be interesting to see how all this comes together. I did get to see the restaurant at the camp in action this evening and they had some customers coming in for dinner and they looked like they had been there before and were looking forward to their dinners. I’ll try them out one day and see what they have that I can eat.

Many of the homes had lights around their gardens and walls this evening and one we could see a christmas tree all lit up and it looked very nice. Others had lights around their garden walls and under their palapas. I think the neighborhood looked better at night than the daytime. 😀

Camp restaurant and bar

Categories: Adventure, Casas | 4 Comments

I am in Deming NM

After a long visit in Tucson with family (some would say to long a visit) I am in Deming NM at an RV’rs Rally. So far I have only broken one rule; at least that is the only one anyone has noticed so far. I’m about to break one or two more as I am in an ornery mood this week. We have been divided up into groups and each group has to pull KP duty for a day. Ask me to do something I most likely will do it, tell me to do something and I most likely will not. I quit taking orders when I retired from government service and I quit pulling KP duty 38 years ago when I retired from the Army. So I guess I’m going to piss somebody off here pretty soon.

I have been thinking about spending some or all of the winter in Mexico specificly San Felipe Baja MX it is only about 2.5 hours south of the border and is supposed to be a nice place on the Sea of Cortez with a long beach to walk with your dog and lots of other gringos who are hiding from the cold with a drink in one hand and taco in another. I’ve heard about it for several years and I thought I might just check it out for myself this year.

I have several items to have repaired on my RV and I want solar power installed before heading south to Mexico so right after the Rally is over or sooner if I am thrown out I’ll be heading back to Tucson to get this work done.

Just thinking about going to Mexico is getting me jazzed as it sounds like an adventure and I do like a little adventure it keeps the blood moving around and gets the little grey cells jumping in the brain too 🙂 Now to pull it all together and get there :0

Categories: Adventure, beach mexico, dogs at the beach, moving to Mexico, RV Baja | Leave a comment

Return to San Miguel

I have started the process of returning to San Miguel. I have registered for the course and have begun to look for accommodations, this time I am spending almost a month there so I can have additional time to take more tutoring to expand my knowledge of Spanish and maybe a side trip or two. I am excited about returning to San Miguel and especially Mexico!

I have no grasp of why Mexico excites me so much. Is it the sense of adventure, the process of learning new things, the foreignness of Mexico with the sights and sounds the rawness of living so close to the surface? I just know I get a thrill out of knowing I am returning to Mexico. Happy me, I have travel plans and more to learn, what joy 🙂

Categories: Adventure, learning Spanish, Mexico San Miguel, travel | Leave a comment

Where did we stay?

I searched the web for places to stay in Mexico specificly in Ajiijic, Chapala area. There is a trait of mine that you should know; sometimes I can be rather frugal (Cheap). So I was looking for an inexpensive place to stay. I found a B&B for a modest sum that served a full breakfast. Breakfast is one of my favorite meals of the day followed by lunch and supper 🙂 So I booked us a room sight unseen.My best friend, Samantha, went with me and she booked the flights to and from Mexico.

We arrived at the Guadalajara airport on time and with our baggage. This being a first for us as when we traveled before our bags went off on a trip of their own, another story to tell. We exchanged some dollars for pesos and as directed took our directions to the taxi booth and purchased our ride to the town of Ajiijic and the B&B.

The taxis at the airport I found out are unionized and there is a strict order of assigning a taxi to a customer. We were directed to our taxi where the driver loaded our bags and us into his vehicle. Then with our Spanish directions in hand he headed off to our destination, I thought. We were headed out of the road from the airport when the driver turned into what looked like an abandoned fast food place. This is where he handed in our ticket we had purchased, I imagine that this is some sort of accounting control of the union or government and we sped off.

Did I say sped off? I live in a very quiet rural area and it had been a long time since I rode in a foreign taxi. Holy Smokes hang on !! We weaved in and out of traffic and charged down the highway flitting in and out of lines of traffic with other vehicles doing the same thing coming at us! I just held on to the strap and hoped for the best, I couldn’t say anything; no Spanish words worth a damn would come to mind, the only English words were from a bumper sticker “Buckle UP,Shut Up, and Hold On”. Within a relatively short space of time we were in a small Mexican town and pulling up to a sign proclaiming that we had indeed arrived at our B&B. I tipped the driver and we dragged our bags inside the gate of establishment where for the next ten days would be our home away from home.

To our pleasure there was a courtyard with lots of shade trees and plants and within a moment we found our room and a note welcoming us to the B&B. We went to the office and soon were talking with the staff who are also real state agents. We went back to our room did a little unpacking and decided to find a place to eat and see little of the town before dark.

To our surprise it began to lightly rain as we walked about the village. We went into a restaurant and the waiter explained that all the seating was outdoors, in the rain! We looked sorrowful about sitting in the rain and the next thing you know he and others were moving chairs and tables into a room and we were seated with a menu and a cold beer. Great service, wonderful food and the atmosphere was wonderful as we ate, we listened to rain on the roof and watched it splash on the patio and fountain outside our own little dining room.

After dinner we slowly made our way back to our room, walking in the rain passing people on the tiny sidewalks and crossing cobble stoned streets. A nice start to our exploratory trip to Mexico.

The adventure has begun.

Categories: Adventure, B and B, BnB, Mexican Restaurant | Leave a comment

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