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Palm Sunday in Ajijic, Mexico Karen Blue

Intricately woven palm fronds © Charlotte Bell, 2011
Yesterday was Palm Sunday and I drove to meet my friend who lives on the street of processions. Men, women and children were sweeping the street and sprinkling water on the cobblestone roads in preparation of the holy procession. Doors were festooned with arches of palms. After the street was cleaned, residents scattered alfalfa on the street, carpeting the entire procession route. Wide-eyed children in their Sunday best sold palm frond wands expertly woven into intricate designs... read more

Getting here - paperwork for people, animals, cars and things Karen Blue

FM-T Tourist The basic entrance immigration status for tourists is the FM-T. It is valid for a maximum of 180 days and is issued at your point of entry into Mexico-either at a border crossing or an ai... read more

A Woman's Perspective On Living In Mexico Karen Blue

This column is designed to offer Mexican living experiences from a woman's point of view. I've been in Ajijic for more than four years, living as a single woman. In this time I've purchased, rebuilt an... read more

Karen Blue Karen Blue

I feel like the most important of my bio can't be written because it hasn't been lived yet; but, for those of you who want to know who this "Blue" person is, I've encapsulated my life here for you: A... read more

Easter in Mexico: a blend of cultures Karen Blue

Santa Semana (Easter week) captured center stage last month in Ajijic. For me, it was a chance to really appreciate both the Mexican customs as well as enjoying some from back home. The celebrations o... read more

Mexico and the US: the best of both cultures Karen Blue

Last month, during the holidays, I experienced a magical mix of south and north-of-the border celebrations. My parents visited for two weeks during Christmas, which made it a special time for me. In an... read more

Single in Mexico and San Miguel de Allende revisited Karen Blue

I recently returned from a wonderful trip down memory lane. My 40th high school reunion near San Jose, California allowed me to reconnect with friends I hadn't seen in 40 years. The reunion was held wh... read more

Living in Mexico:sometimes it's frustrating Karen Blue

Every once in a while, I get an email from a reader who asks, "What are the down sides of living at Lakeside?" Normally, I have to scratch my head and think a bit, but once in a while, I get a week lik... read more

Continuing education in Mexico Karen Blue

I fussed unnecessarily, before moving to Mexico, worrying about how I would continue with my education, with no grasp of the Spanish language. Why unnecessarily? Because I came just before we were able... read more

Leap of faith: an accidental tourist starts a Mexico business Karen Blue

It's been a long time since I wrote a story about a midlife maverick. I met another one recently and had lunch with her in order to hear her story. I enjoyed it and I hope you will, too Connie Kimmitt... read more

Signing up for Mexico's IMSS health coverage Karen Blue

I finally got my IMSS (The Mexican Social Health Insurance) card today. It took about three weeks and visits to fifteen different desks in four different buildings in two different cities. I did it mys... read more

Querétaro, Thanksgiving and pickled beets Karen Blue

After Lyn and I left Oaxaca, we drove northeast to Puebla, skirted around Mexico City and spent two and a half days in Querétaro. It's been less than two months since we made the trip, but at my age, ... read more

Oaxaca and the Pinotepa Nacional Karen Blue

I just returned yesterday from a two-week trip through central and southern Mexico. A girlfriend and I decided to drive, rather than fly and, although I prefer driving on the autopistas (toll road... read more

Life for singles in Mexico Karen Blue

Lately I've fielded several questions from readers (both men and women) on what the single life is like here at the Lakeside. I knew when I came down, that if I were looking for a man, this place woul... read more

Looking back over five years In Mexico Karen Blue

I have to clench my typing fingers to have them not start out with "Time flies when…." I arrived in Mexico on May 28th, five years ago. It doesn't seem possible. In my adult life I've never lived in... read more

Little Theater in Mexico's Chapala Lakeside Karen Blue

For two of the last three plays, "Ladies Night Out" and "Steel Magnolias" I worked backstage. I've held season tickets each year for our not-so-little theater and been delighted time after time by the ... read more

For a Mexico beach vacation, try Manzanillo Karen Blue

My friend and I just returned from a special four-day getaway. At the recommendation of friends, we stayed in the Dolphin Cove Inn, known to locals and people giving directions as Playasol Las Hadas. T... read more

Fun events in Chapala and Ajijic Karen Blue

It's just about time for the jacaranda trees to bloom, which blanket our lovely village in lavender. That will be exactly five years since I came to Ajijic, fell in love and purchased my home. The gard... read more

Feliz Navidad from Mexico City Karen Blue

In a winter devoid of snow and blistery winds, one has to work a little harder to bring the Christmas spirit to life. In the latter part of November, Ajijic holds its annual nine-day fiesta in celebra... read more

Thanksgiving in Puerto Vallarta Karen Blue

I just returned from an all-inclusive five-day trip to Puerto Vallarta. Many of us expats leave at this time of year. First, because it's Thanksgiving and our families are elsewhere; and second, becaus... read more

Living in Mexico: new discoveries in and around Ajijic Karen Blue

A friend told me a grand old flea market in Guadalajara. She didn't know the street names, but had paid only 35 pesos for an incredible black flapper dress with expensive beading and black fringe work ... read more

Buying a new condo in Mexico Karen Blue

On April 1st, I bought a new condo as a rental. That should have been a warning. Fool! If you've been reading my columns you know what I went through to gut out my own house and rebuild it, and you've ... read more

A journey to Leon, Guanajuato Karen Blue

Three friends and I headed out of Ajijic for a three-day getaway. Our ultimate destination was León, but we traveled the back roads and visited some delightful villages and cities. The area northeast ... read more

Midlife Mavericks: my first book on Mexico Karen Blue

Whatever it is, it's been three years in incubation. Over the course of these years I've often mentioned my book, my interviewees, my agent, my excitement and my depression over the labor of my first n... read more

A visit to Tlaquepaque and Guadalajara Karen Blue

Last month, a friend and I decided to spend a couple of days in Tlaquepaque at La Villa del Ensueño. We arrived about 2 p.m. It was even more charming than the photographs on the site. The owner greet... read more
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