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Going Bananas
Jul 12th, 2010 by Les

“A question that sometimes drives me hazy: am I or are the others crazy?”  Albert Einstein, German born American Physicist.

Thelonious Monk is said to have commented: “Sometimes it’s to your advantage for people to think you are crazy.”

I think two of our banana trees are in a race to see which will topple first.  I know, I’ve done the banana thing before but it is an amazing process…from little tiny stem-like greenery to huge leaves.  From these leaves blossoms an odd pod-like flower.  As the flower begins to open and shed its various purple leaves tiny bananas appear.  It is all Alice-in-Wonderlandish to me.

I know, I’m easily entertained as we’ve all seen from this blog.  I mean I am the one who wrote of Kinky Friedman and The Texas Jewboys for no apparent reason – rhyme or otherwise.

However, our master bedroom overlooks many banana trees and, with all the rain, they have become such a beautiful vibrant green it is hard to ignore them.  On top of it birds of every color alight on the very large and heavy branches and they are difficult to ignore.

I must say both David and I have been captivated by these beautiful plants.  From the stem-like leaves that begin to bud in the center to their beautiful layers as the stem begins to unfurl, the process is amazing in and of itself.

We’ve come to realize many things Mexican move at their own amazing pace.  This is not to imply in any way that it is hurried.  We believe almost everyone and everything takes the obligatory afternoon siesta.  Though the banana trees do not seem to nod off, they do seem to grow overnight.  Actually everything here seems to grow by leaps and bounds during the darkness.

I can remember, as a small child, planting seeds in a little Dixie cup and waiting for them to grow.  It seemed to take forever.  Of course when you are little nothing moves fast enough except, perhaps, you and your little friends.  Kids are constantly in motion.  Ask any mother of small children.  Most will look at the corner of a room and wish they could curl up and take a nap by, oh lets say mid-morning.  It took eons for my little seeds to sprout leaves.

That is not the case in Mexico.  Things move at a wild pace during the hours of darkness.  I’m thinking there must be some type of fairy dust strewn among the vegetation when the forces that be are sure everyone is sound asleep.  Now we do have to consider that I may have the IQ of a turnip, but I envision old Tink flitting from plant to plant with her little magic wand spraying the leaves with fairy dust or, at the very least, star dust which, very similar to Miracle Grow, causes them to mature at an amazing pace.

There is only one plant I’ve noticed that may move slower then David and I do. That would be the orange tree.  When we first arrived way back in November David noticed there was one orange on this tiny tree in the very corner of our yard.  He called me to take a look.  I literally ejected myself out of the house, ran to his side and before he could say, life is a bowl of cheerios and I think I’m a fruit loop, I had grabbed the orange off the tree and was holding it up in triumph.  We now have about a dozen oranges beginning to grow on that same small tree.  They’ve been doing so since January.  At least I think this is the case.  David doesn’t allow me near them in fear my excitement will carry me away yet again.  Consequently, I can’t be sure!

Pretending to be a normal person day after day is sooooo exhausting.  For now folks, I’m out of my mind.  I’ll be back in five minutes…or so.  Viva Mexico!

One of our tipping banana trees.

One of our tipping banana trees.

The beginning of a leaf starts in the center of the plant.

The beginning of a leaf starts in the center of the plant.

The leaf begins to unfurl.

The leaf begins to unfurl.

Pod like flower opening to reveal tiny banana babies.  I direct your attention back to the first picture of the tree tipping.  As the bananas grow you can just imagine the weight the tree must bear.

Pod like flower opening to reveal tiny banana babies. I direct your attention back to the first picture of the tree tipping. As the bananas grow you can just imagine the weight the tree must bear.

This, my friends, is the illusive orange tree I am not allowed to visit! You can see a couple to the baby oranges in the lower left side of the picture.

This, my friends, is the illusive orange tree I am not allowed to visit! You can see a couple of the baby oranges in the lower right side of the picture.

This bush started out in a planter.  Can we all say Miracle Grow!  I rest my case for nefarious acts when darkness descends.

This bush started out in a planter. Can we all say Miracle Grow! I rest my case for nefarious acts when darkness descends.

I leave you with this beautiful art shot David took of the sun shining through a banana leaf.

I leave you with this beautiful art shot David took of the sun shining through a banana leaf.

Visit the BoomerstoMexico Photo Store at http://boomerstomexico.com/mexico-photos/ , to see more of the beauty of Ajijic Mexico in photographs.

The “Hood” Mexican Style
Jul 9th, 2010 by Les

Rodney Dangerfield is quoted as saying: “I come from a real tough neighborhood.  I put my hand in some cement and felt another hand.”

And another Rodney Dangerfield quote: “I come from a real tough neighborhood.  Once a guy pulled a knife on me.  I knew he wasn’t a professional, the knife had butter on it.”

We took a walk to Farmacia Guadalajara the other day.  I had decided it would be a good time to take some more pictures of the “hood” we now live in.  The photographs follow this post.

We ran into one of our neighbors, a young man in his early 20’s, and stopped to chat for a few minutes.  He asked how we liked it here.  We proceeded to say how much we love the people, how warm and welcoming everyone has been, how patient with our convoluted Spanish, etc.  He stopped us, mid-sentence, and said more pointedly: “How do you like Mexico?”  I’m sure this question was generated by all the bad publicity Mexico gets via the US media.  (We are not on the border.  We do not see any of the violence that plays itself out on TV screens on a regular basis.  We live in the heart of Ajijic…in the village… not in the gringo suburbs or gated communities – but right in the midst of our Mexican neighbors – this is our neighborhood.)

We had to stop and think.  Sort of re-route our train of thought as it had left the station and was headed off on a tangent with no stops in sight.  This happens to me quite often.  I’m used to it.  Obviously Raul was not.

We picked up on the Mexico train of thought and went on to say how beautiful the country was, especially the Lake Chapala area.  Mountains that kiss the sky forming ridges upon beautifully green lush ridges seemingly traveling into infinity.  Skies, azure in color with white fluffy clouds and a lake that glistens in the morning sun or sends shadows of the moon dancing across the waters at eventide.  Villages and towns filled with colorful homes set end-to-end marching, always, toward the town plaza inhabited by picturesque country churches or city cathedrals.  Trees and flowers of every color and shape with birds nestled within their braches singing us awake each morning.  Shouts of laughter and music in the evenings settling down to cricket serenades singing their own lullaby as we lay our heads upon our pillow and travel to the land of nod.  This is how we see Mexico.  What’s not to like?

He smiled this hypnotic smile, nodded his head and said gracias for this was his world of which he is proud and he seemed to take pride in our enjoyment of it.

I thought how different neighborhoods are throughout the world and, yet, the same.  Joan Rivers commented on living in New York.  She said she had parked her car on the street one night and left a note attached to it saying “NO RADIO” to which was added – come the dawn – NO HUBCABS OR BATTERY EITHER.

I’m not saying that would happen in our “hood”.  First you don’t see many cars left on the streets and second it doesn’t seem to be a problem here – loss of radios, hubcaps or batteries – at least not that we’ve noticed.  Our neighborhood is filled with children….lots of children.  Families are in evidence particularly in the early evening, when everyone heads to the plaza to socialize.  Laughter is the sound you hear most followed closely by music – all kinds – church bells, peddlers selling gas by the container, water by the bottle and ice cream – well you know the sound of ice cream being sold (shades of The Candy Man song).  There are many smells that permeate the air, especially in the evening when small local restaurants park their carts outside their casa’s and sell Mexican foods that makes your mouth water.

My mind travels to the hot dog and popcorn vendors that populate the streets of downtown Milwaukee giving everyone, especially those on lunch break, a feeling of what the neighborhood must have been like in bygone times.  People chatting, laughing, enjoying the weather and getting to know each other – if only for a minute.

That still happens in this little village.  “Holas” are exchanged, laughter is heard and life goes on….Mexican style.  Viva Mexico!

Vines overhanging wall at the end of our block on Hidalgo Street.

Vines overhanging wall at the end of our block on Hidalgo Street.

The building with the mural on it is the local grade school.  The school is a block away from our house and we pass it each time we walk to the town plaza.

The building with the mural on it is the local grade school. The school is a block away from our house and we pass it each time we walk to the town plaza. Sorry folks, I took this picture and it is a little out of focus....go figure. I still felt it was worth sharing.

Mountains through gazebo in town plaza.

Mountains through gazebo in town plaza.

Town plaza.

Town plaza.

Metal sculpture in town plaza.

Metal sculpture in town plaza.

Street scene in downtown Ajijic.

Street scene in downtown Ajijic.

Flowers in a garden as we head home from our morning of shopping.

Flowers in a garden as we head home from our morning of shopping.

Visit the BoomerstoMexico Photo Store at http://boomerstomexico.com/mexico-photos/ , to see more of the beauty of Ajijic Mexico in photographs.

Much Ado About Nothing
Jul 5th, 2010 by Les

There is an Irish Blessing that goes: “May flowers always line your path and sunshine light your day.  May songbirds serenade you every step along the way.  May a rainbow run beside you in a sky that’s always blue, and may happiness fill your heart each day your whole life through.

James Matthew Barrie, Scottish dramatist and novelist best known as the creator of Peter Pan wrote: “She was a large woman who seemed not so much dressed as upholstered.”

This will be an article which should be considered much ado about nothing.  For “nothing” is the topic.

As I sit writing this oddity I notice the sun has deemed it apropos to peak its head out of the clouds.  As mentioned in prior posts, it is the rainy season here in Ajijic.  Rain is much needed in this area consequently it is welcome- mucho.

Another thought flits into my mind as I watch the sizeable number of birds on our porch and a smile, without rhyme or reason, begins to play itself squarely across my face.  You see, I had been feeding stray cats for some time.  Right now, and we won’t get into why, the cats have not been showing up but the cat food has been mysteriously…or not so mysteriously… disappearing each and every day.  As a matter of fact, I’ve been going through more cat food then I had previously when I had about 6 cats dining at chez Lawrence on a regular basis.

Because it has been raining a lot I moved the cat food dish onto the porch, rather then see the food puff up to twice its size, entertaining as that may be.  It has now become apparent where the cat food has been going.  The birds (oddly enough also considered cat food) are eating the commercially created feline food in greater and greater numbers.  Birds of every size, make and model have found Whiskas their food of choice.  Delightfully so, I might add, because I never fail to find it funny that Kitchen Chow is being consumed by cat chow.

Not only that, but we have one very large black bird with a tail feather that looks like a rotary blade, who not only eats the cat food but will take it in his beak, carry it to the water dish and dunk it in the water prior to eating.  Talk about your gourmets!  I usually put bread out for the birds at lunch and at dinner because, beside the hummingbirds, David and I enjoy watching all the birds raising havoc as they grab morsels of bread and try to decide where to go with them.  As we watched one afternoon we saw the same black bird (we know it is the same bird because one of his wings droops lower then the other) take a chunk of bread in his beak and walk over to the first step into our pool, walk down onto the step and dunk the bread in the pool water!  He did this several times and was the highlight of our lunch that day.

Besides the daily aviary entertainment and because we are not walking as much as we used to – squishy feet and wet cobblestones are a dangerous combination – we’ve also been reading more.  Right now David is reading Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes Detective Stories.  It was published, we don’t know when as there is no date anywhere to be found in it, by Books, Inc. Publishers out of New York and Boston.  It says it is the “Art-Type Edition”.  With yellowed and ancient pages very delicate in nature, it is a wonderful find.  Nonetheless, the stories are great and not a reading goes by when he doesn’t stop to comment on one thing or the other.

One evening he shared with me a dilemma Dr. Watson was facing as a woman entered the picture that was dressed rather shabbily.  However, he did note, she was “well gloved” sending us into peels of laughter.  Oddly, or maybe not so much as I don’t know of anyone who doesn’t enjoy Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes mysteries, we could both picture exactly how this woman must have been dressed and how Dr. Watson must have looked taking this all in.

So, you see folks, we are in fact keeping ourselves busy and out of trouble for the moment.  We are also enjoying the lush beauty of this topical setting here in the lovely and ancient village of Ajijic.  Viva Mexico!

 

 

This was taken in our yard looking up at the mountains. It shows the clouds gently caressing the mountain tops.

 

This photograph was taken from our mirador.  It shows the ever-present storm clouds, coming off of the mountains.  These clouds bring the much needed rain to this lovely valley.

This photograph was taken from our mirador. It shows the ever-present storm clouds, coming off of the mountains. These clouds bring the much needed rain to this lovely valley.

Visit the BoomerstoMexico Photo Store at http://boomerstomexico.com/mexico-photos/ , to see more of the beauty of Ajijic Mexico in photographs.

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