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Out-of-Body Experiences
May 21st, 2010 by Les

“Talking with you is sort of the conversational equivalent of an out of body experience.”  Calvin & Hobbs 
“If ever I had an out of body experience, I’d try to come back to a different one.” Tom Wilson, American Actor and Comedian

Did you ever have one of those days when you are prone to out-of-body experiences, or, in my case, out-of-mind experiences?  I mean, your walking down the carretera in a small village in Mexico minding your own business when out of the blue someone mentions Kinky Friedman and the Texas Jewboys.  Where the heck did that come from?  Well, it came from David as we strolled he thought of this great band from years ago he absolutely enjoyed that went by that name.  I believe his father, who was Jewish, introduced him to them.

He went on to relate that good old Kinky Friedman ran for Governor of Texas in 2006 against the current Governor Perry and placed fourth in a six person race.  Believe it or not, he went further with the comment saying he also wrote books.  Then the light came on.  I read at least two of his books and loved his “Jimmy Buffet” style of writing.  Detective novels are my favorite source of leisure and he never failed to make it an enjoyable experience.

Which, of course, led me to reminisce about home and how I learned an enormous amount of Yiddish words from some great friends I grew to know while working in Milwaukee?  Of course, and quite naturally, I thought of the pictures we took of the Hotel Italo (don’t ask…just go with my derailed train of thought).

Can you see how easy it was to go from Kinky Freedman and Texas to the Hotel Italo and its Romanesque statues?   Not a difficult leap…at least not for me and David is becoming more and more comfortable with my incoherency.  Perhaps he should be concerned.

Any who and according to David, a lot of the Romanesque statues and sculptures have little boys peeing as the subject.  I know this.  We have art and culture in Milwaukee too.  However he was saying this as I gazed upward at the statues you will see below (ha, ha).

Life is always interesting, often bizarre and frequently curious here in good old Ajijic, Lake Chapala area Jalisco Mexico.  I am sure I have probably added a little quirkiness to the picture since my arrival.  I have noted people often smile and say “hola” and continue smiling as they pass bursting into laughter as they’ve reached at least 10 cobblestones in distance away from us. As you’ve probably guessed, I take that as a compliment.  Also, I might add it helps many of our blog readers (Terry…you know who you are) recognize and follow David…..not stalk….follow!

Oh yes, back to the sculptures atop the Hotel Italo in downtown Ajijic.  Fortunately for those passing underneath said sculptures there is no water connected to these urchins as the streets of Ajijic would turn into fountains that turn off and on at no given time, in no given order, to celebrate no given event….like most of the other fountains here.  (I know I’m off on another tangent – however believe me when I say the fountains all seem to have water but you never know when they’ll be turned on…I love it!!)

Okay, dear reader, I think I out-of-minded my self enough for one day.  (If you read and understood that sentence you are either mad as a hatter or ate a breakfast burrito and are suffering the consequences!) Below you will see the pictures we took of the Hotel Italo and its sculptures on one of our many travels through this lovely village.  Enjoy.  No le estés dando vuelta al malacate porque se te enredan las pitas. (Things shouldn’t be made more complicated than the way they really are.) Viva Mexico!

I rest my case.  Please note...he is taking careful aim!

I rest my case. Please note...he is taking careful aim! I absolutely love the look on his face.

Another of the scluptures that adorn Hotel Italo.

Another of the scluptures that adorn Hotel Italo.

A fierce lion with a porch background.

A fierce lion with a porch background.

Another lion.

Another lion.

I leave you with these lovely bougainvilleas having fallen to ground and resting gently upon the cobblestones.

I leave you with these lovely bougainvilleas having fallen to ground and resting gently upon the cobblestones.

Mazamitla…The Rest of The Story
May 18th, 2010 by Les

“The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page.”  St. Augustine, theologian.

“We eat a lot on trips because we feel our bodies are less likely to become bored if they can pass the time converting food into fat.”  Dave Barry, American Best Selling Author and Humorist.

There are so many things to see no matter where you go in Mexico.  Mazamitla is no exception.  No surprise there.

As Dave Barry says, food is an essential part of traveling and we whole heartedly agree – so much so that we pack a snack to get us from point A to point B…even if it will only take a couple of hours.  With water and iced tea in hand, as well as our “traveling pretzel sticks” we headed up the mountain to Mazamitla.

Our first post showed the beautiful church in the plaza and the surrounding gardens.  This post will give you a glimpse at the buildings and people visiting and living in this lovely village.  It will also give a look at where we ate.  We could not justify eating more than once so we walked around looking at everything as well as keeping an eye out for the best choice in restaurants.

Mexico has many interesting restaurants and Mazamitla is no exception.  Because of the piney woods theme, you will find (and notice by looking at the pictures herein contained) the village fathers carried this theme into the structures that circle the plaza…including the restaurants.

However, the menus were not of the piney woods variety.  Understandable as Mexico has its own wonderfully Hispanic foods.  Oddly, however you will notice – though the theme was piney woods, and the place was decidedly Mexican (as was the food) the name on the restaurant is “Vito’s Bar”.

Throwing caution to the wind and since David was driving, I decided instead of my usual lemonade I would go with a screwdriver.  However, I did not know how to say “screwdriver” in Spanish.  I’m only on Lesson Two of Rosetta Stone…sorry.  The waiter, who spoke no English and me, with my questionable Spanish, did this little dance of words and hand gestures trying to figure out what each of us might be trying to communicate.  I ended up with three glasses….one with ice and two tiny straws…..one brandy sifter with a lot of vodka and one long cool glass of orange flavored drink.  I now know the word for screwdriver is destornillador.  I have been cautioned to realize that I might not receive a drink using this terminology.  I might, with good cause, get an even more confused look from the waiter and could possibly receive a gentile suggestion that I would perhaps want to go to a ferreteria (hardware store) for said screwdriver.  I’ll keep you abreast of what happens in the future.

Getting back to the story at hand, David and I had a lovely lunch on the balcony of Vito’s overlooking all the action in the plaza.  We then walked the streets seeing the places of business, the people enjoying the lovely weather and the sights and the sounds of yet another wonderful adventure in old Mexico.

[Note: We did not make it to the waterfall in the Los Cazos neighborhood in Mazamitla nor did we stop to take pictures of the cabins nestled in the pines on the mountainside on this trip.  Our next trip will take us to those places.  Driving at night can be treacherous on the mountain roads after nightfall – even though well-paved.  Further adventures await us!]

Vito's Bar

Vito's Bar

David enjoying the screwdriver debacle.

David enjoying the screwdriver debacle.

Lovely buildings with Alpine exteriors.

Lovely buildings with Alpine exteriors.

Lots to choose from.

Lots to choose from.

Potted flowers line the porches.

Potted flowers line the porches.

The fountain on the plaza.

The fountain on the plaza.

The creative fence blends in so wel with the building.

The creative fence blends in so wel with the building.

A street full of activity.

A street full of activity.

A sidewalk eatery.

A sidewalk eatery.

Event room at a hotel.  What is unique about this is the open ceiling and how it blends with the outdoors.

Event room at a hotel. What is unique about this is the open ceiling and how it blends with the outdoors.

A blend of planters and children's toys.

A blend of planters and children's toys.

Flowers and unique pottery.

Flowers and unique pottery.

An entrance to a hotel with open ceiling and welcoming design.

An entrance to a hotel with open ceiling and welcoming design.

Mazamitla aka Magic Town Jalisco
May 17th, 2010 by Les

 To qualify for mountain rescue work, you have to pass our test. The doctor holds a flashlight to your ear. If he can see light coming out the other one, you qualify. Willy Pfisterer, long-time Jasper Park Warden – Canada – and mountain rescue specialist.

“Tourists don’t know where they’ve been, travelers don’t know where they’re going.” – Paul Theroux , U.S. writer known for his novels and travel books.

There is an old Chinese Proverb that goes: “Men trip not on mountains they trip on molehills.”  If you are a frequent reader of our blog you know, we trip on anything, particularly cobblestones.  Consequently, when David said “Day Trip” into the mountains you can understand my trepidations.  Then, of course, I thought of Willy Pfisterer’s comment above and relaxed. My mom always told me she could see light coming out of my ears – even a breeze upon occasion. 

We’ve been talking about taking day trips since we reached our home.  Just wanted to get settled in and become comfortable with our current surroundings.  Realizing neither was going to take place soon, we figured what the heck, nothing ventured nothing gained.

The choice for our first day trip was easy – Mazamitla – the Alpine village of Mexico.  Only a couple of hours drive from Ajijic, it seemed like the perfect place to go. Via the Mayan Riviera Route and nestled in the heart of the Sierra del Tigres, this lovely village has its first recorded information dating back to 1165 when the Nahua tribes inhabited the land.

The road leading into the mountains is well paved and easy to travel.  The village is 2200 meters (7218.2 feet) above sea level which explains why our ears began to pop on the way up.  Though David had explained the village had more wood structures, wood doors, wood windows, wood accouterments then other villages in Mexico because of its location, I was amazed to see the chalet-type dwellings cradled in the mountain passes.

The further we headed up the mountain the more it looked like Northern Wisconsin (my home state).  The air was refreshingly cool – considering it was 90 degrees and heading up in our village when we left – and the sun was shining. 

The pictures you will see over the next few posts are of the village.  I decided to start with what I considered its “crown jewel” the church on the plaza.  Almost all Mexican villages have a church on the plaza in the heart of the city.  This church was built in 1940 and interesting in its architectural form.

The gardens surrounding the church and plaza are beautifully kept up and greatly enjoyed by many tourists – both nationals and internationals.  Since we qualified as both tourists and travelers we were comfortable not knowing where we were going….a feeling we have lived with since we transplanted to Mexico!  No matter where we venture, no matter what we do we are always enchanted and delighted with the sights and sounds of Mexico.

After finding a place to park our car, this is the first image of the church we came upon just prior to entering the plaza.

After finding a place to park our car, this is the first image of the church we came upon just prior to entering the plaza.

 

A view of the church.

A view of the church.

 

Close-up view of church.

Close-up view of church.

 

Image of Christ on the Cross.

Image of Christ on the Cross.

 

One of the gardens surrounding the plaza and the church.

One of the gardens surrounding the plaza and the church.

Gorgeous plants within the gardens.

Gorgeous plants within the gardens.

Gardens and gazebo overlooking plaza and church.

Gardens and gazebo overlooking plaza and church.

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