Life Can be Weird When You are Paying Attention
Oct 16th, 2011 by Les

“There is a place.  Like no place on earth.  A land full of wonder, mystery and danger!  Some say to survive it: you need to be as mad as a hatter!”  Of course…the Mad Hatter in Alice in Wonderland

“Have I gone mad?” (Mad Hatter)  “I’m afraid so.  You’re entirely bonkers.  But I’ll tell you a secret.  All the best people are.”  Alice Kingsley of Alice in Wonderland

I bet you thought I was kidding!

There are, and I am not overstating this a bit, a whole panoply of characters down here in middle Mexico.  No more, I would venture to guess than any where else on earth.  However, unusual does not stand out here like a Renoir might at a yard sale.  Quite the contrary, conventional, common, unusual…well you get my drift…would certainly stand out more then, let’s say, a guy in a wide brimmed hat with tropical flowers adorning said brim and a flowing multi-colored serape over his Wrangler’s.  Trust me no one would bat an eye.  Well, let me re-state the obvious – those of us living down here would not bat an eye anyone visiting, not so much.

Let me take it a tad further….did you even expect me to quit while I was ahead…and say upon occasion the whole Wonderland effect has lulled me into a distinct feeling if a hookah-smoking caterpillar would greet me with a smile and rolled smoke I’d simply respond Buenos Dias. ¿Cómo está usted?

Sometimes, whilst tripping the cobblestones lightly I can believe in as many as six impossible things before breakfast. 

For instance, it is impossible for the sun to shine most of the time…no it is not…it shines here 98% of the time. 

For instance, I can hear music…of sorts… and not once think it sounds like chipmunks on steroids. 

For instance, there are no belly bombers here (White Castle burgers) but some of the best fried breakfasts one can consume whilst…..yes, tripping the cobblestone lightly. 

For instance, you might see people with wonderfully warm coats with fur-lined hoods followed closely by tank tops, sandals with socks and plaid shorts…never impossible more like probable. 

For instance, a burro, a horse and a mobile unit arrive at one corner at the same time…never impossible…it happens all of the time.  I’m not clear however who has the right away. 

For instance, what are the odds of talking to a person from, let’s say the United Kingdom, followed by one from Turkey, followed by one from…of all places…Mexico…followed by one from Canada….followed by one from the US…NEVER IMPOSSIBLE!

I used to be much more…”muchier”.  I have not lost my muchness I’ve added a bit of absurd appreciation to the mix.  Muchness is being able to embrace the absurd – by my definition – and not only think it normal but feel a kinship with it.  Living in another country in close proximity to the nationals of the region along with people from all over the universe allows you to, yes, be “muchier”.

We traveled to Chapala the other day.  David – have I mentioned I am so proud of him – decided to tackle the renewal of our FM3’s without benefit of local legal counsel.  We visited the IMS office in Chapala (we are so thankful we no longer have to go to Guadalajara…a lovely city but traffic is chaotic under normal condition…right now…with the Pan Am Games…it is beyond chaotic and has travelled into the world of insane).  The people in the Chapala IMS office are so very helpful.  They told David exactly what forms needed to be filled out at what website and wrote down directions for him to follow.

After returning home David got right to it.  The next day off we went with forms in hand, receipts for the monies owed for the renewal – $150 US less than had we used a facilitator – pictures for our cards and multiple copies.  They accepted our submittal and all that remains is to check their website next week and return to pick up our cards when they have processed our papers.

While at the IMS offices we had the opportunity to meet even more people from even more places.  Good humor abounds.  Camaraderie is second nature.  Helpfulness is automatic and a sense of adventure is always present.  Who could ask for a more interesting life?

Life can truly be weird when you pay attention.  When the day comes it is no longer interesting and weird, I shall futterwacken vigorously.  Yup, you guessed it a word from the Mad Hatter…one of my favorite people!!

Viva Mexico!  Viva Bonkers! 

Some more of David’s wonderful photography – People of Mexico….


If you would like to ask David about doing the renewal of your FM3, please email him at  If you are as absurd as I am, please feel free to email me at

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
Oct 8th, 2011 by Les

“Your first job is to prepare the soil.  The best tool for this is your neighbor’s motorized garden tiller.  If your neighbor does not have a motorized garden tiller, suggest that he buy one.”  Dave Barry, American humorist, author, journalist.

“Give a man one rabbit, and he will eat for a day; give a man two rabbits, and he will feed his family and his neighbors and return to you 64,768 rabbits in change.”  Oddly, no one wanted to take credit for that quote.

It’s a beautiful day in this neighborhood,
A beautiful day for a neighbor
Would you be mine?
Could you be mine?

These gentle lyrics sung by Mr. Rogers himself bring back memories.

At this moment in the little former fishing Village of Ajijic, Jalisco, Mexico – now an artists haven – the historic neighborhoods of past generations are combining to create not only an atmosphere of goodwill – this jumble of people from all corners of the earth are creating memories.  Simple memories that each individual will carry with them and bold memories that will touch more hearts, move more souls, create, quite frankly, just the opposite of what the world press would have us believe, a sense of comfort without fear, humor without treachery and welcome without prerequisites.  A Mexico of kindness, welcome, historical culture and willingness to blend within it what is brought by the many who are  now calling it home.

We all know I’m way left of absurd.  Let’s face it extremely tedious people like me don’t get that way by accident.  It takes years of practice.  The streets in Ajijic, Chapala, heck the Chapala area are safe, its the people who are a bit iffy and that’s only because the cream of the crop has relocated here and the fun and absurd simply never stops – especially in my world.

So, dear readers, I asked people from the “neighborhood” to share information, thoughts, whatever-the-heck was on their minds, what brought them here and on and on about how they came to middle Mexico.  I’ve decided to do this periodically, give you a glimpse into the global expat neighborhood that has become a strong part of the entire Mexican experience that is found in the Lake Chapala region of Jalisco.  Welcome to our maiden voyage. 

Okay, so we’ll start with David…..after all he has become very adept at putting up with my odd interpretations of life for years… 

David Perry Lawrence

A world traveler, David Perry Lawrence settled down in Ajijic Village in 2009.  David studied photography at Yale Art School, and upon graduating from Yale, conducted a 30-year career in celebrity, political and commercial photography based out of Dallas,Texas.  Today he spends his time traveling through Mexico using his cameras and his award-winning personal vision to chronicle the color, passion, culture and heart of the people who live in this wonderful land.  His ability to capture a moment in time make travels through the villages, towns and cities of Mexico a delightful and eye-opening experience. 



Steve and Lana Coffman


Lolita’s Inn will have its grand opening in December of this year.  Steve and Lana Coffman are the wonderful couple who will be your hosts.  Located in the center of Ajijic nestled in the heart of a quiet street within walking distance of the plaza, shops and activities this inn, healing arts center and gallery will be a wonderful addition to life in Ajijic. 

As we get closer to the grand opening, I will bring you more information about this exciting venture and, hopefully, the people who are at the heart of the excitement it is generating here in Ajijic.

Steve and Lana’s contact information is below along with information about the inn, healing arts center and gallery:

Steve Coffman:  
Lana Bailey-Coffman:


331-691-4241 Steve’s Mexican Cell
1-210-745-1170 Vontage aSan Antonio,TX number

(376)     766-1857 local phone 

Lolita’s Inn features King Guest Room or Suites with Kitchen’s for Rent/Lease-  Short or Long Term)

Gallery and Ajijic HealingArtsCenter

Featuring Many local Artist and Healers

Young Living Essential Oils and Raindrop Technique

Many Modalities of Massage & Body Work/Facials including chemical peels/Chakra  & Aura Cleansing with Balancing/Breath Release and Rebirthing 

Stress  Management/Meditation/Kundalini and other yoga techniques                              

Guadalupe Victoria #73                                          
Ajijic Village, Jalisco, Mexico 45920      

Duane and Mary Ann Hanes are owners/operators of OasisCloud Internet Cafe

Duane and Mary Ann Hanes

Hello! We are Duane and Mary Ann Hanes, and we have lived in the Lakeside area of Mexico for the past 6 years. Duane grew up in New Mexico and is a certified baby boomer, still working, but doing that at a much slower pace than would be required North of the border (NOB). Mary Ann isn’t technically a baby boomer, but is from Oklahoma and is a Boomer Sooner, so figures that that qualifies her just fine as a boomer.

We have both been involved in independent missionary work and other types of volunteer work for most of our lives. This enabled us to live around the world in many different countries and to be able to see and experience many wonderful cultures.

We had the opportunity to collaborate on some projects that we were interested in here in Mexico and so moved to San Juan Cosala in 2005. San Juan Cosala is West of Ajijic and is known for it’s hot thermal wells and water. We actually had a thermal well in our backyard, and it was so wonderful to go down every night to our hot tub and lie back and enjoy the stars.

Duane does computer consulting, website design, and website development work and has been carrying that on via the Internet since being here in Mexico. In late 2010 a major project that had taken most of his time was coming to an end. We knew about a nice house in the Riberas del Pilar area that was available, and the idea of opening a coffee shop there developed over a few months’ period.

There are quite a few coffee shops in the area, but they are all on the noisy carretera or in other fairly noisy areas. We wanted to develop a tranquil neighborhood coffee shop atmosphere where people could come and relax and enjoy visiting with others, reading, or browsing the Internet in a very relaxed atmosphere.

We moved to the house in March 2011 and began some fairly major remodeling work. Things often take a little bit longer than expected in Mexico, and our remodeling project was no exception, but we were finally able to open the OasisCloud Internet Café in late August 2011.

We’ve only been open for a little over a month, but in that short time we have met so many wonderful, interesting, and friendly people. I believe that one of the things that impresses people the most when they visit the Lake side area is how open, friendly, welcoming, and accepting everyone here is. We realize this more and more now that we get to meet so many different people on a daily basis.

We think Mexico is a great place to live. It probably isn’t for everyone, but we wouldn’t trade our very interesting, yet fairly slow-paced life, for anything else! We have lived all around the world over the years, and there are many wonderful places that we’d love to visit again sometime, but we feel that Mexico is our home now!

Diane Pearl’s

Diane Pearl

Diane Pearl Colecciones is literally an incredible example of why age discrimination in the work force is stupid.

It takes time to mature into a wisdom that just is not there the first few times around whether it be triumph or failure, in collecting our life experience.

It is my “third time around” to have a gallery.  This one has the formula that works.  I have let at least a decade go by between ventures, giving myself sufficient time to lick my wounds, and forget the rational reasons for not having a gallery…  And now, with a great team primarily of 50+ and 60+ we are a delightful example of a well- run business.

We have interesting product.  We are literally on a trade route of vendors that travel from state to state with family and village goods to sell.  What I have learned is if I like it, to buy it when I see it, especially with unique pieces, because the chances are slim to none that it will be available again…  I have wood carvers that are extraordinary coming from Guererro, Catrina makers from Morellia, fantastic talevera from Puebla and nice pieces from Delores Hildalgo.  We have jewelry from Taxco and locally, and pieces from novelty to truly fine quality. The variety of things are vast and there is always something new because I cannot say “No”…

We offer great service.  From the selection that is satisfying from basic to very serious retail therapy and we gift wrap… 

Why I like it- It is watching an evolution of the community.  There is a lot of networking and a natural comfort zone and fit of people coming to this area.

I have called this place “the fountain of youth”.  There is a vitality here that is very special that stimulates and keeps us interested, and active in many ways.  Even though we are “grey hairs”, we are not invisible in our society, but incredibly active in creativity –theatric and artistic, as well as giving helping hands and enjoying perks of retirement, and it is an incredible place to age gracefully. 

So, there you have it folks just a glimpse into our “neighborhood” and its people.  Eclectic and exciting this is just the tip of the iceberg…maybe enchilada would be a better choice…and there will be more to come. 

Thank you to all of you who have chosen to share your thoughts.  I am and will remain eternally grateful.

Dreams get you into the future and add excitement to the present…

I thought it would be fun to share photographs of the children of Mexico in David’s inimitable style…

Hope to see you soon in Ajijic, Jalisco, Mexico

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