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Embracing the Absurd
Aug 31st, 2010 by Les

Joseph Heller, novelist, said: “I’m going to live forever, or die trying.”

“The trouble with absurdism is that it dances with fate around the quicksand of nihilism.”  Joe Kincheloe, writer of “Fiction Formulas”

I wasn’t sure what I wanted to say in today’s blog.  I do not support the nihilism theory which argues that life is without objective or meaning. I embrace the absurd with relish thereby negating the definition of nihilism and giving life a clear objective and focused meaning for me.

There were many thoughts bouncing around my otherwise uncluttered mind, as I sat down to write.  Age was high on my list and a story kept popping into my mind.  I was camping with my son’s family.  They had decided a camping trip would be a fun and different way to celebrate my birthday.  The first evening and the date of my birth many decades prior, found us all seated around a picnic table.  My daughter-in-law and the kids carried out this wonderful birthday cake shimmering with candles for each year I’d been on this year.  Suddenly and without warning, campers from nearby camp sites encircled our table and began singing Kumbaya.  Next year, no candles.

Here’s what I want to know…does Ginseng really work?  How come even now when I don’t avoid sugar I don’t have to worry about being infused with too much energy, ever?  Why is it I’m no longer embarrassed to sing along with the elevator music when I’m lucky enough to remember the song drifting out of the speakers?  An evening out on the town has changed drastically from what it might have included back home.  Heck, it had begun to change once I hit my 30’s.  Add a few decades on to that and the term “out on the town” takes on a whole new meaning entirely.  Really, there was a time when going out meant not leaving the house before 10:00 p.m.  I’d hate to tell you what I’m usually doing at 10:00 p.m. now.

Okay, so I’m still the life of the party even if it lasts until 8:00 p.m. The question is: how long will that last?

There are, I would guess, a multitude of discos, dance parlors and clubs in and around our abode in Ajijic, Jalisco, Mexico.  We’ve seen some and we’ve heard about others. We are also heading into the festival season.  Marching bands and their pulsating music can be heard wafting through the cobblestone streets at any time.  We’ve heard there is a 3-D theater in Chapala and we know the American Legion post is alive and active there, as well.

Not only can you go out and enjoy yourself in the evening at random, the Lake Chapala Society always has something going on and many opportunities to enjoy the area and the Mexican culture, as well.  Check out their website at http://www.lakechapalasociety.org .  They not only host many events they are also a conduit to the community around Lake Chapala and at large…throughout Mexico.  You name it, you can find out about it at this site.

Since moving to the village of Ajijic, we’ve become what might be described as homebodies.  Don’t get me wrong, we certainly are out and about often….I have only to remind you of the many odd adventures written about in this askew of center blog.  Come eventide we often find ourselves hitting our mirador or porch and watching the sun set.  The reflections on Lake Chapala with its translucent peach glow that rises from the mountains as the sun disappears behind them is a must see.

Our lifestyle, at the moment, lends itself to well, quite simply, anything we want to do.  We do not have a clock to punch, a deadline to meet, a place to be and, for that matter, anything that needs to get done immediately.  We also have found ourselves enjoying a whole new aspect of life – that of observation, contemplation, reflection and learning.  Not the type of learning one experiences when attending the university, but that of absorption…something like a sponge soaking up every drop of water in its path.

We’ve shared with you the pictures David has taken of the stars in the heavens above our casa.  More recently we had this absolutely breathtaking summer evening creep up upon us.  It had actually stopped raining and the bugs had gone where ever it is the bugs go once there isn’t enough moisture or bare flesh to keep them interested.

David found himself looking across Lake Chapala at the little villages on its banks, just below the towering mountains.  The photographs below are those he took that spectacular evening.

One of these nights we may go out and trip the lights fantastic…emphasis on the TRIP part of the sentence.  Until that time, our more quiet endeavors to capture the heart of Mexico in our little village of Ajijic through photographs, emersion in the culture and down right curiosity is all the excitement we have to offer.  I leave you with this thought, experience is a wonderful thing.  Experience enables you to recognize a mistake when you make it again. Moving to Mexico was not a mistake.  Viva Mexico!

A sparkling night in Ajijic, Jalisco, Mexico.  As much as any night can sparkle, I suppose.

A sparkling night in Ajijic, Jalisco, Mexico. As much as any night can sparkle, I suppose.

Another view from our mirador looking toward the mountains and the small, lighted villages below.

Another view from our mirador looking toward the mountains and the small, lighted villages below.

Revisitng the stars from an earlier post.

Revisitng the stars from an earlier post.

I leave you with this lovely "movie star" we ran into on our way to the market.  Enjoy!

I leave you with this lovely "movie star" we ran into on our way to the market. Enjoy!

This is the latest offering in our online photos store.  A poster, entitled “14 Hummingbirds”, it gives you a glimpse of the activity in our backyard.

Please visit the BoomerstoMexico store to see all of David’s photographs of Ajijic, Chapala, Guadalajara and more.

http://boomerstomexico.com/mexico-photos/

Sometimes the Road Less Traveled is Less Traveled for a Reason
Aug 24th, 2010 by Les

Robert Louis Stevenson said: “For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go.  I travel for travel’s sake.  The great affair is to move.”

“So come with me, where dreams are born, and time is never planned.  Just think of happy things, and your heart will fly on wings, forever, in Never, Never Land.”  Peter Pan

Last Thursday’s trip to Guadalajara started out so promising.  I mean, we travel to Guad at least once and often several times a month.  We’d found a route we both enjoy and have stuck to it because of its comfortable nature, having a sense of where we are going even though, in reality, we often have no clue.

That being said, nothing is fool-proof to a sufficiently talented fool. The journey from our little village of Ajijic began on its usual lovely note….it was a gorgeous day filled with sunshine, gentle breezes, comfortable climate, etc.  Little did I know my karma would soon run over my dogma and in short order, so to speak.

The sign on the side of the road said “Guadalajara Right”.  We’d seen road crews cutting the new road into the mountain above Jocotepec over the months since we’d moved here.  This seemed like a “no brainer”, lets take this new route.  And the adventure began.

You will notice, once you view David’s photographs below, how nice the road looked.  Why, then, did the thought – if at first you don’t succeed, try not to look astonished – keep running through my mind?

The road was wide, beautifully paved yet blending into the mountain as much as a cement ribbon can, in fact, blend.  The thought of reaching Guadalajara in a timely manner was pushed aside by the wonderful vistas opening up to us from the height of this mountain pass.  Lake Chapala gleaming diamond-like in the distance.  The town of Jocotepec lay before us with its ornate church as its center and archway that leads into the town luminous in the distance.

Tiny houses scattered on the mountain side painted in tropical colors that glowed in the sunlight.  Cars sharing the cobblestone streets with horseback riders, all heading in various directions.  From this distance, from the top of this mountain, the simple Mexican life took on a brilliance one usually only sees in photographs enhanced to make one want to travel to various locations.

Lost in the splendor of the moment and caught up in the quietness of the mountain side, we didn’t notice there weren’t many others on this lovely road.  A good thing for you, dear reader, as bad decisions make for wonderful stories.  Not that this was necessarily a bad decision, per se, if we’d have thought about it we’d have realized cutting through an entire mountain simply isn’t that easy, particularly if you are using antiquated machinery and shovels.

Any who, we came upon some people who were finishing up on part of the road.  They smiled, waved and continued on with their work….as we continued on with our journey.  Marveling at this, stopping to look at that, climbing to the top of a small hill that jutted out over the valley below to try to capture the true beauty of the moment.

And then it happened, just a tiny inkling that things might not be as they should be…the road began to narrow.  We noticed more large rock formations precariously situated in the middle of the road…not a good thing.

Here’s where you remember, while driving in the states, construction signs tell you about road closures immediately after you pass the exit (or in this case the point of no return)  but before the traffic begins to back up.  Since there were NO construction signs and there was NO traffic, except for a few dump trucks, we figured, go for it.

Heck, we’d already started heading down the mountain and could see the traffic on the road below.  With my usual grasp of odd situations firmly in hand, out of my mouth popped: “I wonder if its possible for two people to stop to think…and then both of them forget to start again?!”  David, stoic as always, merely looked at me, looked at the dirt road that was now covered with gullies of mud placed there by the aforementioned dump trucks, and began a slow crawl forward.

A young road crew member took pity on us and attempted a rescue.  Making wild hand gyrations he directed us to take a strong left, followed by a strong right, gun the motor (don’t ask how David figured this out) and shoot for the highway.

It was then I noticed David’s eyes.  What is it with guys when given the opportunity to create their own demolition derby?  In an effort to in some way curb his enthusiasm for the race ahead I reminded him we were in a Camry – not an Indy car.  His response was something like…in the vernacular of the year, day, hour and moment VIVA MEXICO!!  Petal to the metal he did just as the young crew member gyrated.  The car made it.  Thus ended our August adventure.  At least we FOUND the highway.  Stay tuned for our next travelogue as we attempt, yet again, to find the pyramids we lost in June!!  At the risk of being redundant….Viva Mexico!

And so it began....

And so it began....

Lake Chapala in the distance.

Lake Chapala in the distance.

We climb a bit higher...

We climb a bit higher...

The mountains and valley below.

The mountains and valley below.

Quiet beauty.

Quiet beauty.

On the right side of the picture you can just make at the church.  To the left is the orange colored archway welcoming everyone to Jocotopec.

On the right side of the picture you can just make out the church. To the left is the orange colored archway welcoming everyone to Jocotopec.

The decent.  Are you beginning to see the change in our surroundings?

The decent. Are you beginning to see the change in our surroundings?

This was the last of the pictures of our decent.  We were quite busy “white knuckling” our way to the highway!

This was the last of the pictures of our decent. We were quite busy “white knuckling” our way to the highway!

I leave you, as always, with yet another beautiful picture David captured of a flower in the plaza.

I leave you, as always, with yet another beautiful picture David captured of a flower in the plaza.

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

Eschew Obfuscation
Aug 17th, 2010 by Les

A few Douglas Adams Quotes:

“I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.”

“Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experiences of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so.”

The nicest thing about the future is that it always starts tomorrow, thereby avoiding confusion.  If you think it is easy to push things off, procrastinate as it were, or, like me enjoy the anticipation of doing something….anything but am not in a hurry to do so…. Mexico is the place for you.  George Bernard Shaw said something like if you leave the smallest corners of your head vacant for a moment (I do that all the time), other people’s opinions will rush in from all quarters.  Can you just imagine the chaos in my mind?!

A good time to keep your mouth shut is when you are in deep water.  Since, as you’ve probably guessed, I have a distinct problem with keeping my mouth shut I shall wade (read weigh) in on some of my askew of center thought process’ in regard to the medias portrayal of Mexico et al..  I have not as yet reached the age when happy hour is considered a nap.  However, I’ve spent so much of my life in a constant state of “hurry” .  I consider Mexico a culture shock when it comes to a leisurely pace, followed by a siesta, followed by …..well, you get my drift.

I’ve embraced the “what’s the rush” attitude….not completely but certainly I am living my life at a shockingly slower pace then I ever thought I could attain.  In the process, as you’ve noticed, my mind seems to wander off on tangents with no clear train or track establishing any limitations.

For instance, as I’m writing this blog the thought crossed my mind; do you realize that in about 40 years we’ll have thousands of old ladies running around with tattoos?  What has that got to do with anything?  Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always had a problem with staying focused, not when I was doing a therapy session or as a vice president of a company in Wisconsin, but in the rare moments when I had some down time I had no trouble entertaining myself with weird and fanciful ideas.

Mexico is a decidedly beautiful country.  With the rainy season coming to and end…at least that’s what they tell us….it seems more lush and tropical then I could have imagined when we first visited in April of 2009.  I also understand, from conversations both David and I have had with people in the US and Canada, there is a very active campaign being perpetrated by the Mexican Government to try to convince people Mexico is safe.

Okay, we are down here folks.  We are not a part of the Mexican government.  We are proud to be US citizens and that will not change.  Our lives are unbelievably quiet here.  Certainly much more then they were in Dallas and, by golly, a hop, skip and a golender sprung quieter then in Wisconsin. (By the way, I’m Welsh and the “golendar sprung” quote is supposed to be German but I’m not sure I got it right.)

We are not living in one of the border towns.  If our family or friends were to visit, we would say fly in to Guadalajara.  If they wanted to make the trip by car, we’d recommend crossing the border at Laredo, Texas.  We’d also recommend sleeping on the US side of Laredo and leaving early in the a.m. so that, once over the border, they could put as much distance between themselves and the border as possible after hitting Mexico.  That’s what we did.

Are Mexicans still trying to get across the border?  Sure they are. Wouldn’t you want to live in the “land of milk and honey”?  We are hearing, however, that the numbers are becoming smaller and smaller.  My thought, this may have something to do with the troubled economy in the US and the political unrest when it comes to the “anchor baby” controversy.  They too are trying to avoid the border.  Their education system has vastly improved over the years especially in the past decade.  As US kids are preparing to go back to school so are their Mexican brothers and sisters.  One has to merely visit the local clothing stores to see uniforms, backpacks, school supplies, etc in every nook and cranny.

With few exceptions, most of the younger people we’ve met….in their late teens, 20’s and 30’s all speak flawless English.  Many speak of how they want their country to be able to give its citizens some of the things America has always represented.  They realize the Mexican people have a rich heritage and to preserve that heritage and build upon it they must educate themselves while using that education within their borders.  They are passionate about making Mexico a better place with more opportunities for everyone.

It is both interesting and exhilarating to be able to watch these people grow this tiny village of Ajijic into a wonderfully exciting artist colony.   There are people from all over the world migrating to the Lake Chapala area.  They are being inspired by, not only the people, but the lovely lake and beautiful mountain ranges just outside their collective doors.

On the one hand, I understand the hesitation and down right fear the media is generating and the narco wars are fueling.

On the other hand, I am someone who has lived here for almost a year and have not felt frightened or intimidated or, for that matter, regret having made the move – although I do miss my family and friends immensely.  To be honest and given the “Law of Probability” which states: The probability of being watched is directly proportional to the stupidity of your act, I’ve come to the following conclusion.  Realizing just how often I accomplish amazingly stupid acts, and how often those acts are observed by people relaxing on the plaza.  One might think twice (perhaps David might think twice since he’s with me) about moving here.  So far I’ve garnered only applause at my lack of grace and my loony behavior!  And I say again, Viva Mexico.

[If you have some personal questions you’d rather not put on the blog site, please feel free to contact either David or me at the following email addresses: les@boomerstomexico.com and david@boomerstomexico.com.  We will be happy to attempt to answer your questions as best we can.]

I took this picture while sweeping our porch the other day, early in the morning.  The mountains had yet another beautiful look.  I never tire of their beauty.

I took this picture while sweeping our porch the other day, early in the morning. The mountains had yet another beautiful look. I never tire of their beauty.

Believe it or not, this picture and the next one in line were taken from the Wal-Mart parking lot.  Beauty is everywhere.  There was a time when I would not have taken time to notice it.

Believe it or not, this picture and the next one in line were taken from the Wal-Mart parking lot. Beauty is everywhere. There was a time when I would not have noticed this beauty.

The second picture from the Wal-Mart parking lot.

The second picture from the Wal-Mart parking lot.

The next few pictures, including this one, were taken as David and I set out on a morning walk just the other day.

The next few pictures, including this one, were taken as David and I set out on a morning walk just the other day.

This is a picture of a flower pod on the cactus just inside our gate.

This is a picture of a flower pod on the cactus just inside our gate.

A cactus arch surrounding the flower pod just inside our gate.

A cactus arch surrounding the flower pod just inside our gate.

A window cross, just down the block from our home.  This picture was also taken just the other day.

A window cross, down the block from our home. This picture was also taken the other day.

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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