Sunday, March 31, 2013

Another Semana Santa

I'm using an older foto for this because I'm staying away from the beach this weekend.   It's nice to watch all the fun being had but very crowded.   Ron and Bill are back up into the highlands and not sure if neighbors have anything planned.  I'm also waiting for Monday or Tuesday for a mechanic to check my noisy brakes.  Yesterday the horn that hasn't worked since the Jova flood went off twice by itself so the battery is disconnected.   I couldn't find the actual horns to pull a wire or two.   So happy Easter to all and I'll just be working around the house.

Melaque West beach crowds

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

A brief stop in Jocotepec

Glen's GPS wanted us to take the along the Lake Chapala route rather than heading straight into Guadalajara on Lopez Mateos. We obediently obeyed without questioning why and will never know. Glen hadn't seen the new Jocotepec Malecon and I hadn't seen the newer work done there. It gave us a chance to stretch our legs and grab a beer.

The first thing we noticed was the lake level was way down. That tour boat that is usually tied up to the Malecon was a couple hundred yards away and the other little pier off to the left had a new extension.

They've added some nice touches to the park with much more grass, raised the level behind the walkway that used to flood, added a beach front walk, a kids playground to the far left and replaced all the water sculptures they removed for the Folklorico Festival they had a few years ago. Very nice job.

Tour boat

Pier extension

New fountain and bridge

Replaced water sculptures

Monday, March 25, 2013

Distillery tour in Tequila

Our trip to Guadalajara, Tonala and Tequila is not going to be in order because I came back with 400+/- fotos and I'm still thinking about which and how to present them. So I voted to do our Tequila tour to the Cofradia distillery first as the most interesting.

A tour here was a first for both of us so early afternoon we stopped at the little bar "Arte en Juego" to ask for a suggested tour and to have a beer. That bar happened to be owned by Cofradia and the very cute bartender sold us two tickets (150 pesos) and called a van to pick us up.

The Cofradia distillery is on the edge of town where most of the larger ones are in town or on the highway. Cofradia is a boutique brand that is not mass marketed like the others. That generally means more  expensive products but their tour is first class and very personal.

We arrived about two miles out into the country and there were about 10 Mexicans waiting to start the tour. Our guide spoke both languages so took time for us gringos after she explained in Spanish. We saw the process from the raw "pinas" (peen-yas) (pineapple), cooking them, tasting how sweet after cooked and had the distilling process explained. Freshly distilled Tequila is illegal to sell because it's 100 proof and has to be deluded with water before it is aged. We did taste it and it was quite good.

Their aging room is also their store for some more tasting. They built the place around trees that protrude thru the roof to provide shade. There is also a large underground cavern that has been converted to a restaurant but must have originally been for aging. We ate there and about 2 1/2 hours total the van took us back to town.

Bar Arte en Juego

Cofradia van

Cofradia entrance bar

Raw pinas ready for the oven

Cooked pinas in the oven

Fermentation vats

Getting some 100 proof for us to try

Our guide

Beautiful grounds

Cofradia logo on the hill

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Never had a convertible

Steve Sometimes in Mexico has been writing about old cars from his past life and it got me to thinking.

Well the no convertible is not quite right. I remember this one very well because I used to loose things behind the back seat where the top retracted to. Problem is I was not of driving age so even if I put on a good show ... the car was not mine. A '47-'48 Ford

That's me and my sister sometime back in the '40's in front of our house in Mountain View California. One of the first housing developments in the area cut out of apricot orchards. Last time I was there ('80's maybe) it was difficult to find an orchard.    What's that is the background ... an old Buick or Packard?   Lots of cars had that old extended trunk from the 30's.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Two days in Tonala

We had two choices for hotels and we went with the less expensive Hacienda del Sol which turned out well. The other option was the Casa de las Palomas for about 100 pesos more. Hacienda del Sol was 450 pesos for 2 people, had a nice restaurant in the lobby and large indoor parking. Both are close to downtown and the Art Tianguis.

We had planned on staying 3 days and seeing more of Guadalajara but we found Tonala not very interesting and lacking decent restaurants and a taxi to Guad Centro was 150 pesos. Didn't want to deal with buses or park downtown. Walked a lot Saturday and did the Artisania Tianguis on Sunday morning. The tianguis goes on for blocks and blocks but I found very little was special. The shops that are there every day are not real easy to find. I'm sure we missed a few good stores but maybe another time

Sunday afternoon we took a taxi to downtown Guad, walked alot more and took one of the Tapatio tour buses around the city center. More on downtown and the tour on another post.

Casa de las Palomas

Hacienda del Sol

Hacienda del Sol restaurant

First church on the Tonala plaza

Opposing church across the plaza

Upscale artesenia shop

The endless tianguis (market)

Little lobster dinner

Had to throw in a fast post. My neighbor's daughter just brought this over for dinner. Not going to be a lot of meat in that little guy but what a neat surprise. I have some great neighbors. A post on our Tonala trip a little later.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

A GPS trip to Tonala

Glen and I just got back from an enjoyable Melaque - Tonala - Tequila - Melaque trip and were accompanied by his Tom Tom GPS. First time experience for me and generally it was a pretty good guide but it did have it's issues. It talks to you if you didn't know.

Coming up highway 80 Mrs Tom did not know there was an Autlan bypass and wanted to take us thru town. After many "turn around" requests and distracted we ended up in El Grullo which is not close to highway 80.

Further on 'the voice' wanted us to turn left a few miles before Lopez Mateos but the intersection was vague so we continued. On Mateos it wanted us to turn to Jocotepec so Glen obediently drove along the lake to Chapala. Any clues on that one?

Tonala has redone some exits so we couldn't follow directions and ended up paying an exit and entrance toll at the next underpass. It did find the hotel after we got off the freeway.

Our guide did take us to Tequila on the free road and then back towards Ameca and the cross over road to Cocula and highway 80 but we had to ignore a few instructions on the way. Glen says many areas in the country and smaller towns are unmapped and the GPS gets confused.

Part of the problem is he hadn't updated his maps for 3 years. I drive less and less in Mexico but still interesting experience.

Highway 80 with a little rian

Friday, March 15, 2013

First good rain of the year

Only rained for a little over an hour but with thunder, gave us a good soaking and a pleasant change. Hasn't been that warm so the cooling effect was not great but the smell of the earth and plants is perfect. Don't think this is the beginning of the rainy season but it could mark an early start. We'll see

The Iguana on the roof is 3 lots away and he seems to be enjoying it. I'm off to Guadalajara for a few days with hopefully a few pictures and stories.

Looking East

Looking West

Neighbor Iguana

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

No work but gardening

I've been learning what works, what things are, what the bugs like to ruin, what stops the bugs and what plants do during different seasons.

As you can barely see I have a new pineapple. The plant is about a year old, I bought one, cut the top off and planted it. Wasn't sure it would do well in partial shade but it looks healthy.

Tomatoes are everywhere. My cherry tomato is huge, tired around the edges, turning brown but still cranking out lots of tomatoes every day. It probably will be finished in about a week. The Mexican or Italian tomatoes are popping up all over my compost pile. The largest has 5 big green ones.

The neem tree had a bunch of babies from it's dropped seeds and just waiting until they get big enough to transplant. Neighbor and I are thinking on one side of the jardin/playfield but there's no water there right now. If not, I'll look further.

The corn is only an experiment. I had no luck with some sweet corn seeds I brought down from Seattle .. so a neighbor gave me a couple ears of dry Mexican corn and that's what you see below. The only problem has been either my cat or the neighbors chickens like to get into them.

New pineapple

Volunteer tomatoes

Tomatoes in the compost pile

The largest new Neem

Corn experiment

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Two school projects

Yari is a fifth grader and this is her pig which eventually became a piggy-bank. She worked on it for a week on my patio day by day. It's paper mache over a balloon but then each coat of paint has to dry. Then glue on nose, ears and eyes ... and a pipe cleaner for a curly tail. She has contributions of about 27 pesos so far.

The second is Euriel's Biology project. When he got in the car after school he announced he needed to buy some condoms because everyone in the class had to learn how to use one. He described the dummy whatever as looking like a bird. We haven't figured that one out yet. He was embarrassed to go into the pharmacy to buy them so I went in with his mom. I hadn't bought one for years so felt I had to explain they were for her son who had a school project. 43 pesos for a 3 pack of the basic kind. Euriel is in 7th grade

The last foto I just threw in as a sunset from farm country

Yari's piggybank

A 3 pack of Trojans

Sunset from my roof

Saturday, March 02, 2013

Weekday night on the Melaque Plaza

We went down to the Melaque Plaza because they thought there was a small carnival with kids rides. Looks like they will be there next week but were not last week. Been awhile since I'd been there at night and was surprised at all the activities.

Lots of people eating on all sides of the plaza. Vendors selling glowing things from China. A spray paint artist turning out a new one every 10 minutes and selling them for only 50 pesos ($4.50us). When I told some gringos they were 50 and not 500, they bought one. We all had a great time just watching the show.

Taco stands over by the school

Two sit-down restaurants by the taxi stand

More tacos by the church

Spray paint artist

Glowing things from China
The construction of the house finished in April 2011 and I'm pretty much settled in. As of March 2014 I'm in preparation for rain mode for this coming summer. That includes sealing and painting things and dealing with drainage issues from last year.

Sparks Mexico Web
Manzanillo Information
House building in Pinal Villa
Euriel School Fund

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