Sunday, November 29, 2009

Stevan For Dessert Nov 2009

I already told you about our Thanksgiving feast,
but now let me tell you about the
special treat we had for dessert!

We were told dessert would be at Stevan's house,
a mere stroll through the neighborhood and
we would be there.

What a treat that was!

Meet Stevan Cline. . .

Not only a fun friend,
but an extraordinarily talented guy.

Stevan is a painter and has a home and garden
on the south shore
created and maintained by Stevan.

I will share it with you! 

Everywhere you look in the house are
  artistic displays and paintings to admire.
Truly the home of an artist! 

The Living Room

Dining Room

The Kitchen

His Studio

The Gardens

Now, for a few of the paintings!





Current work-in-progress. . . 

Remember the Afghan woman National Geographic
did a story on, then a follow-up story some years later?
Here is Stevan's portrait of her along with the proud
man who purchased it.

For more information on Stevan and his paintings:

Isn't he talented?

What do you all think?

Thursday, November 26, 2009

BURP. . .BELCH. . . Thanksgiving Mexico 2009


AFTER. . .



Monday, November 23, 2009

Leave Town At All Cost Nov 2009

Last night I flipped my calendar to Dec to see what day of the week Christmas falls on this year, and this is what it says on Dec 1:


Oh yeah.  Groan.  I remember now.  
From Dec 1st to about Jan 20th it will suck to be me. 

Here in Jocotepec rows of buses will arrive packed with pilgrims from the mountains and far away rural villages.  There will be peregrinaciónes (pilgrimages) with the devout 'walking' for blocks on their knees. . .family members scurrying ahead laying down folded blankets for padding.  Very impressive to watch, but it makes my knees ache. 

There will be booths and puestos with every kind of food imaginable and portable trampolines, 'shooting' galleries, elaborate rides, and games for the kids.  There will be parades and marches and kids with drums.  A lot of them.  Horns too!  Often before dawn.  Announcing the arrival of the parade will be barrages of cohetes (bottle rockets) to ward off any evil spirits lurking in the heavens above.  Morning.  Noon.  And night.  They make my adobe walls shudder.

Lets go back to those puestos and rides and stuff.  Some of these folks can afford to pay the 20 or so pesos CFE charges per day to hook up their electricity, others will simply 'robo la luz' or steal it.  When they are all set up and ready for power, they simply toss hot wires with giant metal hooks on the end of them over the live wires at the poles.  Voila, let there be light!  This is pretty impressive too.

HOWEVER, sometimes an explosion occurs and a transformer bites the dust.  Which results in a complete blackout for the entire neighborhood.  Which can last for days, if it happens on a weekend!   I do not find this amusing.  

About the time my neighborhood extravaganza is winding down, the entire town of Joco starts up and runs through pre-Christmas, then Christmas, then Año Nuevo, and finally a couple of weeks of celebration honoring El Señor del Monte (Christ of the Mountain) into mid January.  

It wouldn't be so bad if they didn't let the whole el centro, including every square foot of the plaza, be taken over by a warren of out-of-towners and their puestos (temporary shops) constructed of tubing and black plastic and selling everything from Chinese plastic kitchen junk to Michoacán candies and beautiful woven rebozos (shawls), clothing, and jewelry.

Everything else in life comes to a crashing stop.  God help you if you need a dentist or a mechanic during this time.  Traffic must negotiate around and around in an often futile effort to get either into or out of town.  Remember, I said this starts in Dec and goes full-tilt-boogie until mid-January!

On the day of the Señor del Monte fiesta, there is a huge peregrinación winding all through town.  Most of the crowd will be carrying flaming tall fat candles that you can buy from roving vendors for 50 to 100 pesos.  Floats, Indians from the south shore in traditional garb doing traditional dance, drummers and horn tooters, more pilgrims on their knees, prayer via megaphone, and then they take this beautiful statue of Jesus down from above the altar in the church and place it on a float guided by a number of very honorable and distinguished men of the village.  Here is what El Señor looks like as it leaves the church: 

I love to attend this very moving event and it always leaves me with goose bumps.  Here is the pilgrimage and procession that leads El Señor around town: 

Then I go home to my pitch-black house and root around in the cooler, where I'm storing all the food from the now room-temp fridge, for something to eat in the dark and pray the CFE gods will grant a repairman to fix the transformer tomorrow.

¡Viva Mexico!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Here They Come Again! Nov 2009

Who says snowbirds aren't fun?

 Who says all they do is
clog up the roads and rent all the casas?

Who says they buy all the English magazines and
newspapers before the lazy expats
can get their sorry butts up off the couch?

Who says they're boring
and all they want to talk about is golf, kids
and bathroom tiles?

Who says they're skinflints always
looking for a bargain?

Who says they are dull and conservative
and afraid of their own shadows?


Happy Birthday, Sonia!


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

He Gives Great Head! Nov 2009

Yay!  Finally!  
Someone who can cut curly hair!

I'd given up.  
Then along came James Don.  
And I got the best haircut since I've been in Mexico.

I have the kind of hair that inspired a woman behind me at a 
hula competition once to mutter to her friend when I got up. . .
Good, there goes the bush head.

My mother was confounded by my hair.  She had it thinned, 
trimmed, sheared, braided and plaited.  Braids seemed my destiny.

Then the 60's came along!!!!   
It was cool to look like Bob Dylan. 
When I didn't want to look like Bob Dylan, 
I ironed it.  So I could look like Cher.


 That was then,  this is now.  
James Don, a southern gentleman and hair artist, built a
salon in the back of Marina's Hotel Suites.  It's attractive and comfortable,

friendly and affordable.

Stop by and visit and see for yourself.

The salon is located in Marina's Hotel and Suites
on the Carretera #40 in El Chante
before coming into Jocotepec from the east
and on the lake side of the highway.
Plenty of parking.

Phone:  387 763 1933


Thursday, November 12, 2009

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

I Love Cruz Roja! Nov 2009

 Damn!  I've been sick.  Eight days and nights of diarrhea, I know, sorry, too much information. . .but you need to understand the implications. 

Two different docs, three different treatment modalities.  Finally!  Third time is the charm, cured by the Red Cross!  And this is not the first time either.  Cruz Roja rocks.

I woke up the 8th morning sick again and scared.  I knew I'd lost too much fluid and needed replacement as well as probably some IV antibiotics.  Question was. . .where to get it!

There are not many clinics here at Lake Chapala where I have confidence in the medicine that is practiced there.  I've had some BAD experiences.  So, I started calling around. 

Cruz Roja said "Come in, you need care!"  Sparks, my new neighbor, drove me into Chapala, the doc met us in the parking lot, and we had our consultation then and there.  They helped me to a bed and started working on me.  Nena started an IV.  Meanwhile, they took vitals and the doctor got a more lengthy report as well as asking pertinent questions regarding allergies to meds and lifestyle use.  He took a blood sugar and then infused an antibiotic into my IV bag that was already loaded with vitamins and minerals. 

I used to work (volunteer) at this clinic and it was so nice to see everyone again, got lots of hugs and many very concerned "How do you feel?" questions with caring hand squeezes.

Three hours, an elderly man with a broken hip, a little boy with a fractured foot, and woman with chest pain later, they infused an antiparasitic into my IV.

Then a nasty open femur fracture arrived - motorcyclist versus car, the bikes always lose.  By this time 8 hours had passed and I was feeling pretty good.  My IV had run out and I was good to go.  But not without strict doctor's orders for diet follow-up and prescriptions.  All in all, I was there for 8 hours, had IVs and meds, vitamins and minerals, excellent - and genuine - care and the total tab for my Tune-Up was. . .  ba dump bump. . .325 pesos or about $24 US. 

I've spent many years practicing medicine in ambulances, working in Emergency Rooms, Urgent Care Clinics, and other venues and I can tell you with absolute certainty that the treatment plan that was given to me is the same that would be used in any ER in California.  It was good, timely, appropriate, and well executed.

Did I say I love the Red Cross?  They are a jewel and we're SO lucky to have them here at the lake.  There are 3 docs working rotating schedules.  Two of them are Dr. Armandos and the third is a woman I have not met yet.  Dr. Armando Aran (the doctor that treated me) and Dr. Armando Zepeda both are trained in Advanced Cardiac Life Support and there is a 12 lead EKG at CR in Chapala.  Dr. Aran works at Hospital Puerto de Hierro in Zapopan on his days off from CR.

Dr. Aran asked if I would return as a volunteer and I agreed.  I will meet with him next week to look at scheduling. 

For more information or to donate to this noble organization, please see:

Cruz Roja Lakeside, the local site.
Cruz Roja Mexicana, the national site.


Friday, November 6, 2009

Young People! Nov 2009

It's no secret that the Lake Chapala foreign community is teeming with old people.  I am one of them.   yikes.

I moved to this area because I was bringing my mom with me  (she was 94)  I wanted it to be easy.  It was, too, it was great.

I have to tell you though, that while having a 94 year old roomie and living in a retirement community, I came to the realization that I ached to see some YOUNG people!  It hit me like a ton of bricks.

I was walking down Calle Colon, in Ajijic, one afternoon and approaching on the other side of the street was a YOUNG foreign family.  With little KIDS.  I had an overwhelming urge to dash through the traffic and over to the YOUNG people and throw my arms around them and beg them to move here.

So, I emailed Don Adams, writer and author of Head For Mexico: The Renegade Guide, and said. . .Dude, where are the coooooool people?  He returned. . .You're right about those fuddies and duddies up there, you better get to the beach.

So, I did.  It was great.  So many young people, energetic, still attractive and tight-bodied (heh), erupting  ideas and plans, happy, having fun on the beach.  It was, sort of, YOUNG overdose.

Now, I am back here in the beautiful highlands with all US old people again.  Ah well, better than the alternative. . .

Meet some cool YOUNG people I've run into in my travels:

Anjelica Barba Borja
Telephone 1284-9686
Cel  331-291-3667

She makes beautiful, artistic beach-type jewelry and adorable sandals.
You should be able to find her at the Ajijic tianguis on Wednesdays.  For other
places, call her at the above numbers and she will give you her schedule.
She lives in Guadalajara

Allen, Adriana, and Cristina.
Allen and Adriana live in Guadalajara and will travel to do their
extremely tedious and time consuming, but cool, artistry on your head
with their crochet hooks.
They are dread masters.  I met them in Tapalpa
40 pesos/dread or 1500 pesos for a full head.  Takes all day and then some.
They were fun!
Allen 044-33-11-7548

Happily, there are now lots of young families here around the lake, I guess if they work, someone is a techy, or they're riding out the economic storm in warmer weather.

They all have one thing in common though, they look very happy.

The Dude and His Do Nov 2009

All good guesses!  I sure was surprised to see what was revealed when he, upon my request, tipped his hat.

The boy had a very large and thick pillow of dark brown wavy hair.  Pillow, because it was.  Just sitting on top of his head.  A big PUFF of hair.  I couldn't help but laugh.  He was a great sport.

The outline was a real and very thin line of hair growth.  Pretty tedious to do, doncha think?

You were all right to some extent, thanks for playing!

Never seen this particular dooooo, before, and I was dooooooly impressed.

Groan.  Sorry, couldn't help myself.


Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Things That Make You Go Hmmmmm. . . Nov 2009

Ok, Folks. . .

What do you say?

Click to enlarge.

What do you think this cool dude has under his baseball cap?

HAIR?. . .     NO HAIR?. . .

I know what's under it.  And I have a witness.

Please leave your comments below.

Monday, November 2, 2009

ROAD TRIP - Tizapán el Alto and Cohumatlán de Régules Oct 2009

Retail Therapy And The Prettiest Church In All Of Mexico!

The town of Tizapán el Alto, for some very strange reason unbeknownst to me,
has more than it's share of used and closeout American clothing shops.
I nearly always find treasures there, new bathing suits,
capri pants, blouses, sport shoes. . .they have it all.  And then some.

For those of us who live full time in Mexico, finding good American clothes
is not easy!

If you are not put off by the grungy look to the place, take a drive over to the south shore of Lake
Chapala and visit Tizapán.  When coming into the town on the highway, turn at the light, and drive up into town a block or 2 and park.  On the east side of the street is a funky looking shop with an inventory the size of Macy's.  Well, maybe not THAT big, but they have LOTS of stuff!

Here is their front and sign:

I have a couple of other stops in this town as well. . .
The daily produce tianguis has great stuff, fresh as can be 
(this is an agricultural town and area) also meats and other foods.  
This is my favorite vendor:

And her husband:

They used to live in the central agricultural valley of California and really know their produce.  Good stuff!

Lots of other American clothing shops around el centro to look through too. 

If you have a vehicle with high clearance, you might want to venture back
into the valley behind Tizapán, it's cultivated with mostly onions and string
beans, sliced in half by the La Pasión river that runs from the 
mountains, through town, and into Lake Chapala.  
Spectacularly beautiful.

Next stop. . .lunch!  
There is a comfortable and handy restaurant with very good seafood just up
from the church.  To get there, walk up the main street into
town and you will soon reach the plaza.  The produce people are over on the left.
The church is over on the left too.  To get to the restaurant, take a right at the plaza.  
The restaurant is only a couple of doors down. 
Sorry I don't know the name and didn't get a good pic of it, but you can't miss it.
Look for equipale furniture.

This time we decided to eat somewhere else for a change, and I knew
of a good restaurant down-the-road-apiece, so we headed out east towards 
Petatan - where the pelicans get fed, but that's another story. . .

El Barquito has GREAT food!  It's on the right side of the highway,
about a 5 minute drive east of Petatan. 

After our shrimp feast, and on Barb's recommendation, we drove into the little
town of Cohumatlán de Régules, and discovered the prettiest church in Mexico.

See for yourself:
 (Click on photos to enlarge for detail)

Impossibly ornate, marble everywhere, not a speck of undecorated wall, gorgeous wood,
and with more gold than Ivana Trump's jewelry box, I guarantee even the most ardent "church
tourist" to be impressed. 

So, if you are in the Lake Chapala area, have a look-see and a fun day of exploring!

Buen Viaje