We were taking Spanish lessons, but they are over for now, slow season. However, we made friends with our teacher, Jesse. Jesse lives in La Cruz, but spent some time in Montreal. He's one of the younger gringos around here, only 30 or so.
Anyway, he offered to take us on a sightseeing trip and we jumped at the chance. His parents live in Guadalahara, so we started heading there. The trip was around 4 hours. It was interesting driving across some of the country. It was amazing to see all the fires. Jesse says they set these fires this time of year, just before the rainy season, and let them burn. The country side is pretty dry, so everything burns fast, but there not much vegetation on the trees, and they are really far apart so they don't really burn, just the underlying bushes. And no one lives in the areas, so they leave the fires to burn out on their own. One thing you notice in Mexico is that you can always smell smoke. That's cause there's always something buring here - besides the fact that most restaurants cook over wood fires.
We headed into the city square. We didn't see any other gringo's there, Jesse says they are afraid to go there. We had no problem and enjoyed the day. We got a bit of video, but it seems to have disappeared (since Sharon cleaned up the files), so sorry.
We spent the night in Guadalahara, at Jesse's parent's and headed into the mountains the next day. We drove for around 3 hours, into a place called Lake Chapala. Lake Chapala is where the richer Mexicans keep their summer places. It was at once such place where we stayed, once again, thanks to Jesse. Here is a short video:
Once we arrived there, we were told to head into Ajijic (pronounced Ah-hee-hic), which was a nice town. Very old style Mexican, with narrow, stone streets. We really enjoyed it and even particpated in some sort of meditative walk on the beach. Afterward, we wondered if we were really supposed to be there. We didn't ask, just joined in. The temperature there was much cooler than back in La Cruz, which is why it is so popular.
The next day, we headed back towards Guadalahara, this time stopping in Tonola. There, Jesse introduced us to the most amazing market ever! Sorry, no video, but it was so large, and so cramped, it would take days just to walk through all the alleys. But what a paradise!! Really nice stuff, specially if you are looking for interior decorations. And there you'll find matching pillows and lamps, etc. And really nice dry bamboo and stick things. Not sure how to describe them, but you use them to fill large, floor vases in big empty corners. Anyway, back home a bundle would easily sell for $45. At the market - 35 pesos, about 4 bucks!! I know how to make some money if I decided to live in Mexico. You could buy up the most amazing stuff for 1/10 of what you can sell it for! And we tried traditional Mexican food (Gorditas and something else) as well as shaved ice with fruit we have never seen before. Lots of fun. We really want to go back some day and get some more stuff now that we know what is there.
We didn't see any other gringos there, but at one point we heard someone say "Hey, you speak English". It came from a youngster and his mom, of Mexican heritage, but from California. We stopped to speak with them for a few minutes. That's how unusual it was to hear English.
We took this video back in February but can't remember if we ever posted it. Came across it cleaning up some files so here it is just in case.
That's it for now. Sorry our blogs seem to go between droughts and floods. Kind of like life, eh?