Monday, August 14, 2017

Afternoon thoughts

Here are a few photos from the Laguna Food Court yesterday, Sunday.  I had been watching the terrible events in Charlottesville for too many hours and needed to get away from my i pad. When my friend Loretta called and invited me to go to the movie theater and watch Churchill, I quickly said yes.

It was an interesting movie, at least it wasn't filled with violence. Then I took the bus to the Laguna Mall for something to eat. Here are a few photos from there.




Sundays are always crowded at the food court. The Mexicans love this place. Very few expats. Maybe we like what is different from what we are used to being around. This area is like being in the United States.



The two photos above are of the new Indian Curry Restaurant that recently opened.





This time I decided to try the Italian restaurant. It is more expensive than the other ones but the lemon chicken photo looked good. It was the best lemon chicken I have ever had and that is one of my favorite meals.  Unfortunately, when I asked for a glass of water they only offered me a small bottle of water for 18 pesos. I feel that water should be free, just like air. And if a restaurant refuses to let me have some water from their large jugs, I just don't go back.

 So now I have a dilemma, do I go back to eat the best lemon chicken I have ever had or do I boycott it because they refused to give me a glass of water?  Maybe next time, If I decide to eat there again, I will take my own water. But it is the principal of the thing that bothers me. Also, if I were to buy their water, the lunch would cost almost twice what the other restaurants there charge.  Do I like lemon chicken enough to go against my principals and to pay twice the price for lunch? Or do I forget about one of my favorite foods, cooked perfectly?  

 At least I got away from the computer and worrying what is happening to the United States these days. Feels like we have just regressed a hundred years. My boycott of buying small bottles of water means nothing in the face of all the problems up there. I am glad to be living in Mexico. Of course there are other problems here but at least in my town there are no riots.   For now. 

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Morning Thoughts

It rained this morning and came into my bedroom a bit before I woke up and shut the door. I leave it open for Chico and Olive but they were sound asleep at the time. I like to hear the rain at night and even the sound of thunder. Since I don't have a car, it limits me during the day. I don't like walking on the slippery cobblestones and not knowing when it is going to rain again. I have broken my ankle once. Don't want to experience that again.

I have been living here over ten years now and I have never liked the rainy season. But at least it was always the slow season. Peaceful. No more. There seems to be no slow season now. Great for the restaurant owners, shop keepers and real estate agents. Not so great for trying to cross the busy Carretera or if you are looking for a rental.  Especially if you are looking for a cheap rental. Also, it isn't much fun going to the Wednesday market anymore. Too crowded. I rarely even hear Spanish unless I have my window open in my Mexican neighborhood. Everyone in the stores speaks English, including the Mexicans. Some days I feel like I am living in the United States instead of Mexico. 

I got out my Spanish flash cards yesterday and realized that I could recognize about half the words. It is hard to learn a language when I can barely remember what I did yesterday and when all the shop keepers speak to me in English. I guess if I get kicked out of this apartment and am forced to move to a small town somewhere else, I will only hear Spanish and I will either speak it or not communicate with anyone.  

One of my readers sent me a site titled: Mexicovacationawareness.com.   It is filled with warnings about Mexico and stories from people about their ill fated vacations here. Most of them involved tainted alcohol and took place in five star, all inclusive beach hotels. Cancun was high on that list. Horror stories about blacking out after having just one drink at a swim up bar, or even about love ones drowning and the hotel not doing anything to help. And being sent to the hospitals and ending up with huge hospital and taxi bills. I have never been to Cancun. I have never been on an expensive all inclusive vacation. So, I have had NO experiences like that. I guess that sometimes being poor has advantages. 

I met a woman on the bus a few days ago and we were talking about Lower La Floresta. That is an area where I lived for eight years, where they illegally locked the gate next to my house and forced me to walk around. I had a bad ankle at the time and had to walk eight blocks extra to get out of there.  (But that is another story.) We were talking about the break ins. She lived there for five years and had five break ins. I lived there for eight and had one....

I think that people who do not know Mexico have the wrong ideas about what is safe. In almost all those horror stories, they wrote that the reason they chose expensive resorts was so they could feel SAFE....  But quite the opposite was true. They would have been safer going to a cheap hotel in a Mexican area. Putting yourself in a gated community or expensive hotel, only makes you a target. Some poor and desperate people see you as an advertisement for money and a solution to all their problems. 

 From the stories that I read on that site, many of them came from the same hotels in Cancun. Recently there was an article in the local paper about tainted alcohol in the beach areas of Mexico. That 43 percent of the alcohol is tainted with different dangerous things.  So it isn't just a problem with desperate people trying to rob wealthy expats but also of tainted alcohol. And many of these stories were about how the police did not help at all, sometimes seemingly involved in the scams.  There was another article in the local paper about those areas having policemen carry around signs that said, Free Hugs. Well sure a hug would be nice. It would be a lot nicer if they would help in case of emergencies. I see that as more desperation. Policemen not getting enough training or enough money. So they are ripe for corruption. 

I remember years ago when I managed to walk into a fancy hotel in Puerto Vallarta and was swimming.  They had set up the breakfast buffet. Flies were swarming all around it and the waiters didn't do a thing until it was getting time for it to open and then they swatted off the flies. 

I have never had a bad experience while living in Mexico. I also don't go out at night. And I rarely drink alcohol. Maybe I am missing a lot of good times but I am also missing bad times like the ones I read about on that site. None of those stories involved this area. Just the beach towns where so many people come and just stay a few days and leave again.  Mexico is many different things. Just as all other countries. Including the United States. 

It made me feel sad when I read those stories and how the writers of them condemned the entire country of Mexico and wrote that they would never return here. This is a beautiful country, filled with warm and loving people. There are also desperately poor people here, willing to do any scam to get money. But isn't that true of all countries? 

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Hot springs in San Juan Cosala (what is in the water)


I made it to the spa this morning as soon as it opened at nine a.m. By eleven there were crowds of people. I was glad I had a chance to do laps before they arrived. It still must be the summer vacation for children because they were everywhere. Above is the hottest pool. Today it was 105 degrees. I can't tell you the temperature of the swimming pools because they don't have any thermometers. But I am guessing about ten or fifteen degrees cooler. This water comes in at 205 degrees so it takes awhile to get it cooled down enough for people to use. 

I picked up a flyer today there. In case you are interested, here is a list of what is in the water.
magnesium.  .849
Calcium.      23.83
Copper.            .0572
Silicon.       70.90
Aluminum.    .1804
Potassium.     9.440
Lithium.      .3109
Sodium.      246.7
Sulfur.      163.7

Some of the things the flyer says about health benefits.   It increases body temperature, killing germs, including viruses, also increases the hydrostatic pressure of the body thereby increasing blood circulation and oxygenation. This helps dissolve and eliminates toxins in the body. 

Constant use of the hot springs helps normalize functions of the endocrine glands and automatic nervous system. It stimulates the nervous system and improves the immune system and relaxes the mind. Helps the production of endorphins and regulates glandular functions. Many of these affects are due to consumption of the minerals.    

After typing this up, I realize I should be soaking longer in the hotter pool.

There is a hotel next to the waters. If you are interested in staying there or knowing more about it, here is their website. I also wrote an article about it several years ago on Accesslakechapala.com.    Hotel is:  www.hotelspacosala.com. 

Monday, August 7, 2017

The Oaxaca Festival in Chapala

I went into Chapala to photograph the Oaxaca Festival. There were only a few stands on the plaza but the town was packed with people visiting. I could hardly walk down the malecon. I heard that it was the last summer weekend for the children so the families were taking full advantage of it. I was looking for the folk dancers and demonstrations but couldn't find anything like that. Here are photos of the stands and also of the Malecon.




Some of the young men were being silly. I think they were bored. No customers.



There were lots of ice cream sellers on the malecon. 




This man has some kind of health gadget. I have never tried it. He has been around the malecon for years. It has something to do with shocking you with those two metal things. I didn't ever investigate it enough to know more than that.



Above is the line of people waiting to get their pictures taken on the Chapala sign.

This is my favorite photo of the day. These two little girls were too exhausted to walk into the restaurant with their parents. The one on the right is waving at me as I took her picture. That is exactly how I felt after spending the afternoon on the malecon with crowd of people. 

Saturday, August 5, 2017

And another Sushi Restaurant in Ajijic

I decided to get out of my apartment and take Chico for a little walk. It was cut short because of all the traffic on the carretera. I didn't try to cross it. There were so many cars that some of them were going on the upper side street. It is mostly for the businesses along it and for people walking.  I went to the sushi restaurant by the bank but it certainly wasn't restful. So many cars were using it as the road to avoid traffic on the carretera that one car almost ran over Chico. He was standing beside me at the outside table on his leash. 

I was told by a Mexican friend on my walk that there is so much traffic in town because it is the last weekend before school starts again. Now that is good to hear. I may be able to swim at the spa after this week without crowds in the pools. 

I ordered the same thing that I ordered at the other two sushi restaurants. The California Roll. They are all about the same price but my vote goes to Senor Sushi. I like their free cucumber salad and they give me more pickled ginger.



This is where I ate today. I was sitting at the outside chair. Chico was sitting just below me. A car almost ran over him.

Above is another car driving by but this one wasn't right next to my table.


Some of the traffic on the carretera.


Another photo of the tables in front of the restaurant.


The California roll. I walked home, still hungry.
There is a festival going on at the Chapala malecon now. People will be there from Oaxaca. Since I want to go down there in December, I am going to try to get on a bus tomorrow to see it. But with all of this traffic, I am guessing the  festival will be filled with tourists. I will do the best I can to get some photos of it. 

Back online in Mexico

I have continued writing through the blackout of blogspot in Mexico. I believe that most of my readers live either in The United States or Canada. They are people thinking about moving here and wanting to see photos of day to day life or people wanting to relive memories of vacations here. So I didn't worry about it. When things like this happen I remember what my friend Pat from San Blas says, "If you don't like something in Mexico, just wait. It will change." 

She said that after a tuba player moved into a house directly across the street from hers and he practiced in the street for hours at a time. But after a few months of driving her crazy, he moved. Peace again. 

My biggest peeve has been the garbage piled up on the corner close to my house. But the other day, I read an article in the Guadalajara reporter that they are changing the garbage collection rules in order to try to fix the horrible street corner pile ups all over town. It said that no longer can we put garbage on the corners. We will be fined if we do that. We must put it in separate garbage cans in front of our houses. 

I took a walk downtown to my favorite Thai restaurant yesterday. I noticed that there were black bags of garbage in front of everyone's doors. But still there were piles on the corners. I think I saw ONE garbage can. That would be a real problem in my neighborhood. Once a friend left a small box of cat litter on my doorstep and an hour later it was gone. I can see that happening to garbage cans too.  My landlord parks right under my window. There is no room for a garbage can. Maybe this new system will work out. No one wants to get fined. They also are removing all the pegs that expats put up around town for hanging garbage up high to keep dogs out.

For me, it would be a blessing if I no longer had to live near a huge pile of garbage.  I have high hopes for this new system. 

Now I am changing the subject to food. People food and food for dogs. The first photos are of our lunches at the Thai restaurant and the next  one is of the dogs waiting around the butcher shop, hoping it will open. 

The last photo is of my friend Loretta, walking ahead of me with her umbrella for shade. I see Mexican women doing this all the time but I never think of it when I leave the house. It can get hot in the afternoons. I have learned that if it is an especially hot day, then it will most likely rain in the evening or night. 







My camera seems to have problems now. I can't get clear photos. Maybe if I am patient, that will change too. 

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Morning Thoughts--Market Photos Ajijic

Yesterday I took a walk with Chico to the Wednesday market but it was so crowded that we couldn't go down it. I just took a few photos at the top. I was going to have breakfast at Salvador's but every table was taken. I talked with a friend and he was saying that there no longer is a low season here. Apartments are hard to find, prices are much higher, and there are always lots of people and traffic in town. I see it too. This area has become almost as expensive as in the United States. New homes here are more expensive than they are in Overland Park, Kansas, where my son and his wife have moved to from Portland, OR.  They were finally forced out of Portland because of too many people and too high of prices.  The same thing is happening here.. 

 I don't know where I would go next. Most likely it would have to be out of this area completely. My blog still isn't showing up in Mexico and I still can't answer any comments. But here are the few photos that I took yesterday at the market.

You can see the crowds for yourself and these photos were taken at the top where it isn't as bad as the lower part that I could not even get to yesterday.

This little boy was taking care of his baby sister next to the grocery store.  He looks so proud of her. 


The watch man is installing a new battery in my orange plastic watch.

This is the top of the market. I don't know how the man selling baskets is going to make it down through the crowds. Maybe he isn't going to try. There are lots of sellers who just stay at the top, near the street. 


This is still the top of the market. You can see why I couldn't walk down it.

I like the design of the purse. I would never carry one like that but I still like it.

Another crowd photo

One of the flower stalls. I was trying to get a photo of that cute little girl in her mother's arms. The one with the top notch hair do. But she didn't turn my way.