Senor and Linda Lou have been in Pueblo Alamos, Sonora, Mexico for 10 years.
Every day brings a new discovery.
They are still working on the casa............Senor says, it won't be long.........but Linda Lou says, it won't be long until what..............stay tuned to find out what's next.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Week Two in Mexico

The morning photo from Tolt Hill. Lots of snow overnight and look, we do get sun up here!!!!!

That's two days of sun in a week! This is very exciting stuff here.
This is Lake Chapala, or Lago de Chapala, as it is in Spanish. It is about 45 minutes south of Guadalajara. In the past the lake has been very low, but it was beautiful when we there. These boats and their guides will take you out to Scorpion Island, or just around the lake. They are also still used for fishing and the fishermen use the old graceful butterfly nets.
This is the church in the town of Chapala. The towns of Chapala and Ajijic are beautiful, with cobblestone streets and many brightly painted buildings line the streets. Flowers are everywhere. Over 100,000 people live on the north side of the lake. The foreign population is very large in these towns and while we loved the towns and the atmosphere, living 'lakeside', as the expats call it, would not be right for us. We want something a little quieter, but we still aren't sure it's Alamos either. There are alot of water hyacinth on the shores of Lake Chapala. You can see how the mountains surround the towns, all the 'lakeside' towns have alot of charm, they are really pretty towns....

Kd and Ian sitting in the glass cactus outside a shop in Tlaquepaque
surf''s up for Ian in Sayulita
everyone in Sayulita has a surf board and if they aren't on it in the water, they are laying on it on the beach or walking around with it......


We are in week two in Mexico. We have picked up KD and Ian at the Guadalajara airport and are in Tlaquepaque (which I keep misspelling).
Everyone is napping, and I have the internet to myself, so I am going to just reflect for a few moments.We flew into Guadalajara at early dusk, when the city lights were just beginning to jump out at the sky. Guadalajara is a beautiful, sparkling city at night. It is over 5,000 feet in elevation and the temperature drops a little at night. Even in the dusk, from the air, we could see a long grayish, yellow cloud over much of the city. Yep, that is their pollution. I had read that there was a lot of pollution and we saw it from the air, but I will say, there is so much to do once you land and get your feet on the ground, that you don't look up and if it's there, you don't see it.
As I mentioned in week one in Mexico, we drove to Lake Chapala. I am finally able to post those photos. All of the towns along the north side of the Lake are architecturally beautiful, with quaint small plazas, beautiful churches, and cobblestone streets surrounded by adobe walls that are overflowing with gorgeous flowering vines. When we began researching our move to Mexico, we thought about checking into the towns of Chapala and Ajijic. Our research told us that both towns had very large expat communities. And that research was true to its words. We especially saw many, many Americans and Canadians. They were everywhere, walking their dogs and many of them were smoking cigarettes. That really surprised me, (We rarely saw Mexicans smoking.)

We went into a small Mexican cafe on the lake. We spoke in Spanish to order and were really enjoying the atmosphere and the Mexican music that was playing. A group of Americans came in, and sadly, the atmosphere changed to accommodate them. The waitress began to speak in broken English (which we love, it gives everyone a chance to work on a new language), but when the older American gentleman lit his cigarette and the proprietor changed the music to an American station, we felt it was time to hit the road.

So, now we have KD and Ian with us, and are in the heart of Tlaquepaque.
Our hotel, Quinta don Jose, was listed as a small boutique hotel and it is true, to that description, small and quaint. But, the greatest part is being a block away from Indepencia. This is a pedestrian street that is about six blocks long and lined with shop after shop of the most beautiful crafts, furniture, just everything. One big shop even has chickens running around inside. Many of the shop proprietors live in the backs of the stores, and occasionally a door will be open in the back of the store to let you have a secret peek at their home. We haven't made many purchases, but the four of us have enjoyed wandering up and down the street or sitting in one of the plazas.
The glass cactus photo was taken outside one of the shops.
We have also been to the pueblito of Tonala. Tonala, like Tlaquepaque, is also a part of Guadalajara. Tonala is where all the factories and shops are that produce much of the merchandise that is found in Tlaquepaque. This is where the artisans are and we were able to see many of them at work. There was also a large outdoor mercado where we did some shopping and a lot of eating. As soon as everyone is up and going, we are off on the drive to Sayulita.

When we decided KD and Ian would fly down and meet us for Thanksgiving, we wanted to take them to the beach. Bill and I have been to Puerta Vallarta many times and we have seen it change over the years and what we haven't seen we have either read about or heard from other people. While we think it is a beautiful, and very romantic city, it was sounding a little too big and crowded for us.
Sayulita, is probably more like what Puerta Vallarta was 30 years ago. We had not been there before and even though it is only 25 miles north of the Puerta Vallarta airport, believe me, on Highway 15, along the coast, that could be a couple of hours.The four hour drive west to the coast from Guadalajara, took a little longer as much of the road is only 2 lanes through and over the jungle covered hills. We were stuck behind more than a few big slow moving trucks.
Sayulita has been discovered by retirees and a lot of young Americans as well. But it is still very quaint and has a lot of local history and great restaurants. The beach there is the best thing going for Sayulita. The sand has pyrite in it and, it is a rich bright gold.
Sayulita is a very popular beginner's surfing destination. Both of our kids are big skiers and boarders, so after their one hour lesson, they were both up, riding the waves all the way in. One thing the guidebooks don't tell you about is that the ocean floor at Sayulita is rocky. So, there were a few cuts and scrapes to deal with.
I only waded in the shallow waves and never hit a rock once. I have developed a fear of water ever since my husband made me go with him on a catamaran to Turtle Island off the island of St Croix. The whole trip he kept doing the 'Jaws' movie monotone, :duh,duh, duh, duh,: and you knew the shark was coming and the kids were on the catamaran.... We never made it to Turtle Island and I hardly ever go in the water over my knees, even at the lake. You never know what is down there....I can't even snorkel, seeing the fish below me scares me to death...

Our bed and breakfast, Tia Adrianna's, was a 3 story, airy home a few blocks back from the beach. Huge windows and open air rooms made the view gorgeous. KD and Ian shared a large room on the 3rd floor which gave them a fantastic view of the ocean and town. We took a room on the second floor and the four of us spent a lot of time on the balconies playing gin rummy.
After a few days on the beach, and lots of wonderful breakfasts at Tia Adrianna's, we did the four hour drive again, and back in Guadalajara, we stayed at El Tapatia, which is a very old hotel up on a hill overlooking the city of Guadalajara.

I can hardly believe how much internet time I am getting. Plus we have figured out how to make our laptop work, well, the kids helped us figure that out. We bought three different battery cables at three different Wal-Mart's in Mexico before we got the right one.
We have just returned from the airport where we put KD and Ian on the plane back to Denver.
Tomorrow we begin the 3rd week of our journey. We have decided to return to Alamos and give it another try.

We absolutely love the town, but what about the noise? Already we wonder will it still be the noisy little town it was when we left? If we choose to live there, maybe we can live a few blocks up from all the circling cars, trumpets, and radios blaring? We don't mind crowing roosters.......

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