Death and Beyond in Guanajuato, Mexico

So Wednesday morning, July 4, we awoke early and went to breakfast at Casa Ofelia. We appeared to be the first customers of the day. Soon after we sat down, a very small indigenous man in white traditional garb with a guitar on his back came in to pray and bless himself at the little altar of Mary just inside the front door. Then he began to play and sing Besa Me Mucho at us.

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Ahhh, to wake up in a new place with new sounds and new air – refreshing! We got up a little before dawn here in the beautiful mountain town of Guanajuato in Mexico this morning. The area around our hostel, Hostel Alonzo, in the heart of the Zona Central is starting to bustle already. As the flock of pigeons started to stir and walk around their innumerable little cubbies and niches in the wall across the street, the roosters started crowing in the day from houses all around us, and all the wild birdies started to sing in the morning, I sipped my hot coffee on the rooftop terrace that Glenn hiked down and bought for us earlier.

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THE FOOD IS DIFFERENT HERE Not only is shopping a bit different – unless you do the gringo thing and buy all your stuff at Super Lake or Walmart – but the food itself is different. “We’ll never sell a fat yellow chicken.” Ad words from one of the big chicken mega processors in the US. When I got here and saw all the yellow chicken for sale in the stores and the markets, I was appalled – I’m talking rubber-chicken-paint yellow.

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LET’S START WITH SHOPPING We started living here and quickly discovered that if you want fresh veggies, you should go to the tianguis. Most towns have their own market day, and Chapala’s is Monday; neighbor town Ajijic’s is Wednesday. The tianguis are markets set up along the street, sheltered with tarps, and they sell everything imaginable that you can carry away in a bag, from food to clothing and CDs and DVDs and toys.

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Clothes Shopping in the Big City -- Guadalajara, Jalisco, MX

Today was a big treat – my neighborhood friend Yolanda took me shopping all around the city center area near the big cathedral in downtown Guadalajara.

There are so many stores for everything you can imagine.  There’s even a building the size of Sears or Penney’s, multiple floors, that is full, full, full of nothing but jewelry shops.  Lots of police all around that one – with big dogs, beautiful Belgian Malinois.

There are some expensive fru-fru stores, but we didn’t go to those.  I’m on a budget, and I need things for the heat and the beach.  My heavy dark pants and tops aren’t going to cut it anymore.  Usually I shop and shop and buy nothing, but today was a good day, starting with a nice little comfy artsy top for 130 pesos ($9.40).

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I know, tiki is so South Pacific and we’re in Mexico – but it’s also retro American kitsch that evokes silliness and warmth and friends having cocktails at sunset. So grab your tiki mug and just go with me! So what could be so different about food prep in Mexico? What’s the big deal? Well, for me, it is quite different and a challenge. I can’t really put my finger on one thing or one area and explain it to anyone, so there will be several articles in this series about food purchase, preparation, and cooking – and some authentic Mexican recipes that I find easy and tasty.

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Ninety Days In Mexico -- Travelers or Livers?

Random thought of the day:

I’m not a traveler, I’m a liver!

No, not that kind of liver! I should probably explain…

Most everyone doing what we are doing refers to it as travel. If we have a blog, we’re ‘travel bloggers.’ If someone asks what we do, family and friends tell them we are traveling. But we’ve been taking care of this house here in Chapala, Mexico for three months now. That’s not traveling! We live here.

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We Hiked up the Mountain in Ajijic

The morning was warm and sunny – no big surprise here in Mexico – and we went and picked up our friend Rebecca and went up to do our hike up to see the chapel and the views and get some exercise.  The trail was steep and slippery with rocks and scree, which made for some interesting noises and gestures – and only a couple minor falls.  Rebecca had the foresight to print out a map of the area and the trails, lucky for us.  We still hiked a different trail than we intended, but that was okay.  We weren’t going anywhere in particular, so how could we be lost?

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Day Trip! Tlaquepaque/Guadalajara

Our friends in the neighborhood, Jean-Pierre and Yolanda Luisser, French-Canadians from Quebec, invited us to join them on a day trip to Guadalajara on Sunday, March 25. Oh, boy! A trip to the big city with someone who knows where to go and what to see – and most importantly, how to drive in that crazy place! So we set out about 10 in the morning, first stop Tlaquepaque, a town on the outskirts that I first heard about on The Travel Channel long ago.

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Life and Living in Mexico

One month (well, almost two since I started this post and never finished it!) under our belts living in a foreign country, here in Chapala, Jalisco, MX. The time has flown by. Somehow I thought that the days would seem longer, that I would have so much time on my hands to get things done. Not so. Of course, I’ve been mentally chained to my computer way more than I planned.

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