Fun events in Chapala and Ajijic

articles Living, Working, Retiring

Karen Blue

A Woman’s Perspective on Living in Mexico

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 gardeners, of course, detest the extra work of raking up the blooms, but to me, it signals the beginning of spring.

The Chapala Carnaval

Last night I took four of my snowbird friends to the Chapala Carnaval. (That’s the Spanish spelling.) It lasts a week. I’d not attended before, and I was surprised by its size. Carnival rides, including a Ferris Wheel (not something I’d do after I was thrown from a faulty one at the Santa Clara County Fair when I was 13 and nearly died), a large circus, scores of food and beverage booths, many bands, games that allow papá to win a stuffed animal for the kids, tons of arts and crafts booths and a small version of Cirque de Soleil.

This last one I have to try and describe for you. They call this event the flying men. They erect two telephone poles on the lakeshore, spliced together end-on-end using coils of heavy rope. There’s a podium on top fashioned of bamboo, which supports four seated men, fully costumed in their native Indian garb. They tie ropes around their feet. The other end of the rope is coiled around the top of the telephone pole. Then, after playing some delightful Indian music on handmade instruments, they start rotating the podium around the pole. Flipping themselves into the air, they circle the pole, hanging by their feet, with the ropes getting longer and longer until they reach the ground in a wide arc. Fascinating.

A beautiful sunset, mountains, and Lake Chapala provided the backdrop. No flood lights, no tickets, no safety nets.

The Annual National Chili Cook-off

Held each February, it’s a great weekend to taste chili, buy arts and crafts, be entertained by a motorcycle/acrobatic group and say hola to your neighbors. I talked at length about the cook-off two years ago, so I won’t go into great detail here. I rented a booth with my friend Teresa Kendrick, author of the definitive guide to Ajijic and Lake Chapala, to sell our books. I’d ordered 100 from Florida on November 28. Ten weeks later, two days AFTER the cook-off, they arrived. The Mexican postal system…what a great invention. This is one of the opportunities I had to exercise my “not needing to be in control.” It’s part of the mañana experience.

I decided I wanted to do more traveling, but with two little dogs to care for, it’s a bit of a problem. Actually I’ve been pretty lucky with finding friends here and folks over the net to house and dog sit for me, but it’s random at best. In May, my friend and I are planning a two-week trip to Sardinia. I found out about the place while roaming around What a great idea. Of course most normal people plan their vacations more than six weeks in advance, but I’ve always been a spur-of-the-moment type of gal. Barely made up our minds in time to find frequent-flyer seats.

I signed up. My listing includes “an opportunity to receive love from two small dogs in exchange for feeding them and giving them some TLC.” I’m interested in 1-3 week exchanges to places I haven’t been and/or places I can take intensive Spanish lessons.

Another one of my New Year’s wants (I don’t have goals anymore) is to do more cooking. To that end, I purchased a new crock-pot and a gas BBQ grill. Wow! What a job. It took two men and a baby to put this thing together. Now it’ll take me and another man to move it from where we assembled it, through the house and to the backyard.

Tomorrow a friend and I head off for Manzanillo for four days of R&R. I know, it sounds as though that’s all I do. We’re going to a beautiful place, Dolphin Cove Inn, near Las Hades and the weather is perfect this time of year.Now I need to iron and pack. Until then, hasta la vista.

Published or Updated on: March 1, 2001 by Karen Blue © 2001
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