I headed over to Ajijic to visit my friend who moved to Fargo about 18 months ago. She has a house sitting job for five months in Ajijic and she invited me to come for a week.
So on Saturday, I left Belize and headed to Guadalajara. But she wasn’t on the flight and I had no idea where we were supposed to be staying. I was very fortunate to have met a young woman from San Fernando Valley who spoke fluent Spanish and English. She and her boyfriend who she was going to meet drove me to a very nice hotel, at least in all appearances.
Ginger called me at 7 am the next morning and told me that her flight had been cancelled because of a mechanical problem but she would be on the 10:30 flight. So I got dressed and got back to the airport to wait for her at a very welcomed site, Starbucks.
By the time Ginger arrived and we grabbed a taxi to Ajijic it was nearly afternoon. It was only about 30 minutes from the airport and filled with beautiful scenery. We crested a hill and a 5 miles lake appeared along the entire length of the quaint cobblestone street town.
According to National Geographic, it’s “the Second Best Climate in the World”. The weather here is referred to as an eternal spring. This part of Mexico is 5,000 feet above sea level. The lake is surrounded on three sides by mountains. Average daily temperatures are in the 70’s F (20’s C) with very low humidity.
Ginger had found a lovely bed and breakfast in the center of town for the first two nights, even though we missed the first night. It is owned and operated by Lorraine Pasini who had moved there from Marin.
The colors are delightful and everyone is so welcoming. We had lunch at one of the many restaurants with Gardens in Ajijic, it is just as much about the atmosphere as it is the food, which I always found delighful. They are well known for their peacock and hen. They made for great entertainment while we enjoyed our very tasty Mexican lunch.
We walked around a bit before going back to the B&B to unpack and decide what to do for the rest of the day. We were both feeling a little lazy, I opted for a nap and Ginger spent an hour talking with Lorraine.
It was great that it was Easter week and there was a celebration in the town square. Everyone showed up to enjoy the fresh food, music and local entertainment. I love that it brought out the families to be together, and Ginger told me that it’s one of the things that she enjoys about Ajijic so much, there’s always family gatherings and they seem to find many reasons to have celebrations in the town square.
I love architecture and the town is filled with beautiful old buildings and amazing wall paintings. The cobblestone streets are also reminiscent of the centuries old surroundings.
We ended up having a light snack and a couple of Corona’s while we watched the families gather around the square. The weather was delightful, even in the evenings. It seemed like it was always in the mid 70’s. I couldn’t resist taking a picture of their beautiful churches.
On Monday Mags and Jim met us at the Secret Garden for lunch. They took us out to their home afterwards. It turns out they were originally from Berkeley and they were heading to the US for 5 weeks to visit family. It was very gracious of them to invite me to stay at their home along with Ginger.
By the time we got out to their beautiful home we had enough time for Ginger to be briefed about the details of their home. They walked us around the neighborhood to introduce us to several of the neighbors and then we went out for a delightful dinner at one of Mag’s favorite restaurants. Compared to Belize, the food was delightful.
On Tuesday, Connie drove us so we could go to Ginger’s friend Lauri’s studio to take a dichroic glass class. I made a great pendant and surprised myself that it came out pretty good. Laurie has been living in Mexico for 12 years and Ajijic for 8. She also has a tour company, Lake Chapala Tours. She takes her travel clients on tours to meet local artists. Her third job is Real Estate. She knows more people than nearly anyone there so it’s a perfect match for her.
Ginger & I were invited to dinner the next evening at the closest neighbor’s Ted & Connie. Ted is a fantastic cook and made the most scrumptious pasta and Italian sauce. Connie gave us a tour of their home. They remodeled and added a studio for Connie’s artwork and since, Ted took up sculpting. We enjoyed great conversation and certainly ate more than we should have, but couldn’t resist since it was so good!
On Wednesday Ginger treated me to the local Tienguis (tee-AHN-geese) market. You can find anything and everything at the market and at prices that made it truly fun to shop.
Ginger & I both found fossilized cut stones for necklaces. I’ll have to create a great necklace with seed beads to make it stand out. I know it inspired Ginger to get back to making jewelry. She’s very good at it, but doesn’t have much time to play with making jewelry in ND. She’s usually driving back and forth to her sister Judy’s or or Dad’s which are both more than an hour away.
We found a booth across from Lauri’s where they were selling 5″ prawns for $5 a pound. We immediately thought of inviting Ted and Connie over for dinner, so we bought 4 pounds. They even put ice around them to keep them fresh.
We walked around for a couple of hours and then decided to go to lunch out towards the main road, actually it’s the highway, but it doesn’t seem like it’s that busy. We got into an interesting conversation with Bryant from Canada who had been in Ajijic for 8 years. He had found that living in Ajijic was more reasonable than living in Canada. Brian was from the mid west and had been living in Ajijic for 6 months. It was wonderful to hear how they worked together to make it a better place to live.
We spent some time working on both Ginger’s and Lauri’s blogs on Friday. I know it seems odd, but it was a lot of fun. Then Lauri made the most amazing pasta for dinner. Strange, but I ate pasta three time while I was there and didn’t have the typical sleepy carb reaction I get at home.
It was a great place to visit and I will definitely be going back. If you’d like to check out a pristine peaceful corner of Mexico, I highly recommend Ajijic.