Dutchy House of Cards

The kids were part of a birthday party recently where there was a cross between scavenger/treasure hunt and challenges.  Each team was made up of both English and Spanish speakers (few are fluently BI-lingual….everybody is learning!) who ran around the hotel property in the heat of the sun trying to solve clues, find messages, and rise to the challenges given.

The challenges were for the team members to accomplish it together or solo…just get the challenge done.

One of the challenges was to build a house of cards….but virtually none of the kids present knew how to do it, and even with some coaching the breeze made it impossible.  But Gaelyn must have determined that she was going to succeed….after the point.

Everette recently returned with new Dutch Blitz cards (we’ve worn out how many sets?) so Gaelyn got down to business and made this colossal (ware)house!Collage House of Cards

Guadalajara: Second Half

As I mentioned earlier, we took a day-trip into Guadalajara with our friends, Dee and Gerry.

More wandering the streets, cathedrals and squares after lunch.  I can’t keep them straight, so I don’t even remember what this cathedral was called.  But we enjoyed the architecture inside and out.  We scouted around, and when Everette went looking to find stairs to what might (not) be an operating balustrade he discovered instead some burial memorabilia underneath the main platform.

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Collage burial


Beatriz Hernandez is commemorated here as the person who chose the location for the city’s founding.  The bronze sculptures are done by Rafael Zamarripa.

Collage Statue

The statue on the bottom right (above) is a 4m bronze of Miguel Hidalgo, who on Dec 6, 1810 decreed the abolition of slavery.  He’s holding a broken chain to represent that victory.

It’s amazing to see all the fancy dress stores.  Low-priced flounces galore, Everette thinks we could just use a bunch of green poofy dresses to make a ‘garden’ look green and not worry about watering!  Or possibly use them as shade from the sun?!!

Collage Fashion

We were looking for a place for some cold drinks as we headed in the direction of the bus station but never did find something to satisfy the four of us, so we hopped on the 5pm express bus to Chapala ($50MX/person) where we decided to eek out more parent-time-away to check out a restaurant we’ve been eyeing since our daughter Layne was visiting us.

We climbed the four levels from the street up ‘n out of the way onto the top patio where we sat under huge palm trees beside the water fountain.  We ordered our cold drinks, the others ordered meals;  I just wanted to quench my thirst, so when Everette didn’t like the Vampirito he ordered I volunteered to finish it along with my Pina Colada so he could get a cerveza.  I could have drank 2 more I was so thirsty, but might have struggled a little with the stairs back down to street level.

It was quite perfect just the way it was.Collage dinner drinks

Our day with Dee and Gerry was an absolute delight.  Memories to treasure.

Too many pictures to share even in these two posts.  Gotta hit Guad again!!



Guadalajara: Touristas

While Tina took some of our youngsters to the waterpark Tobolandia, Everette and I did the whole tourist thing….the bus, the “Peace” photo sessions, the sampling & indulgence of ethnic foods, tired feet and sweaty bodies, markets and more markets, mariachi bands blaring, searching for cold cerveza.  Art, cathedrals, street performers, seedy streets and moments of confusion.

Wonderful day with great company (other Canadians, to boot!)

Collage Bus

Reminiscent of London, UK and Victoria, BC there were both double-decker red buses and horse-drawn carriages for hire for sightseeing.  But here there are statues peeing!  I don’t recall those in London or Victoria but I might be wrong 😉

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As is common in all Latin America there are large squares with churches or cathedrals facing onto them.  Guadalajara has numerous squares of which we strolled several and poked our heads in a few of the churches.  This one is San Juan de Dios (y La Santa Cruz), built in 1551 as a chapel dedicated to the Holy Cross but also operated as a hospital.  It was built in the Baroque style, completed around 1750.  The hospital was later removed to accommodate the growth of the city.

Collage Church 1

Collage tequila

Everette spotted this Tequila Tour Bus but we just continued to wander on our weary legs!

We wandered through outdoor and indoor markets such as Mercado San Juan de Dios and Mercado Libertad, peeking at jewelry, passing on “For you, Amigo, good deal today.  Just for YOU!!”  We investigated various food options and some scouted out steamed coffee.  We passed by goat (skulls) lookin’ at us, and octopus curled up, and all sorts of other seafood.  We watched women stirring hot soups or stews, flipping meats and flat breads in vats of boiling oils.  Overwhelmed by the eager vendors trying to convince us to be their patrons, we finally plopped ourselves down at a very busy counter with a great view of the kitchen.  We eeny-meenie-minie-moe’d the menu and picked 2 meals for Everette and I while Gerry and Dee sought out ceviche and other things then returned to join us.

The burritos where stuffed & rolled on the other side of the workstation from us, then the final embellishments of ham, bacon and cheese were added right in front of where we sat and slid into the oven.  And when I ate my Burrito Especial, I sweat up a storm from the spices of the food and the heat from that oven.  But my, was lunch delicious….and filling!!

Everette’s meal was….I don’t know what it was called 🙂 but he wrapped fresh tortillas around ground (beef?) and beans with green onions, cilantro and guacamole.  Collage lunch

Dee treated us to helado (ice cream) bars for dessert.  See Everette’s Oreo: a version of Cookies n Cream.  And mine was like a bowl of strawberries locked in a wall of frozen whipping cream.  Delicious!!

We spotted several windows up high with little girls in costumes, giggling, waving, running away.  Later we saw them near the plaza where they were having their pictures taken with family and friends while the opera man sang and both Ironman and the Smurfs posed for more pictures.

Collage LIVE Art

We popped into a music store to buy a harmonica for Anders. We were surprised to find mandolins (Everette used to play) were about $45 and up, and guitars (half & full-sized) started at about $50.  Violins were about $110+.  Great buys at least for “starter” musicians like the kids!

The ‘keyboard’ below are the stairs going up!

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Very very tempting store, that music store is.  I’m sure we’ll visit it again sometime….if we can find it.

Our day was full of more…..I’ll share in another post.  Hold on till tomorrow!



Chapala, Mexico

Last April we were staying in some apartments for just a few weeks before we were heading back to Canada somewhat unexpectedly.  I made an early morning drive to the airport to retrieve Everette and Mitchell and it was then I realized there was tons of energy in this little town.  Early in the morning, >an hour before sunrise the town is a flitter with street-sweepers, and city workers scooping piles of debris, and shop owners, and so many more catching buses.  Its a town always in motion, or so it appears to me.

We really need to explore it more, Everette and I do!!

So we made a point to while Layner was here.  And this is a bit of what we found in our exploration (besides the coffee shop and Everardo)

Collage Chapala

Chapala is situated on the lake that bears its name.  Laguna de Chapala, Mexico’s largest freshwater lake by surface area but certainly not all that deep, the water level fluctuates greatly affected by the rainy season.  Town has put in a nice malecon to stroll, and a lovely park for grabbing some shade at the end of the main road and beside the lake.  The red building is a restaurant maybe we’ll checkout this year….like me its turning 50!

Collage Iglesia

We peeked into the Inglesia (church) to snoop around, got the closest I’ll probably ever get to a Pope, and surprisingly found the Stairway to Heaven in the hallway as we snuck out the back way (see pic below)

Collage Layne Chapala

I realize we’re in Mexico, we ought to be eating Mexican cuisine, but when one sees a buffet of tempting food and you’re married to my sweetheart who’s always got a hankering for Chinese, well even when we aren’t ravenous we take a break for our first Chinese food (I think) in Mexico.  And other than the ‘chow mein’ really being spaghetti with cabbage, etc the rest of the food was quite scrumptious!  I’m sure we’ll find our way back there again sometime.  Especially since we’re determined to start spending more time in Chapala.

Wrong Turn @ Lungfish

Living here at Perico Hotel we’ve met such wonderful people, building a bit of a community like in a neighbourhood.  Sure, its a hotel (motel, really) where people are transient for the most part.  But its becoming more common for people to stay here for longer periods of time.  Some are pretty darn permanent!

We love management who interact in a friendly manner but always have business about.  Tom has his eyes on near-everything without being creepy about it, ya know?  He wants to make sure everything is fine with us, always willing to give a helping hand whether its a need for a trip to the airport, something picked up at Walmart, or ice cream supplied for birthday cake!

One of his lovely daughters came during our hiatus last summer to help Tom and Jan manage the place.  Fluent in both Spanish and English Tina is a hit with all the kids here, bubbly and sociable.  She’s the eldest of her siblings and says she misses the constant drone of noise offered up by gaggles of children.  She appears to enjoy the hub-bub of the kids being in her presence, sharing movies and TV shows together, helping decorate for celebrations, interacting with her dogs and helping her out with small projects.  She pays Laars 1 peso for every beer cap he cleans up from the grounds….keeps him in treats from the office, particularly after a Mexican party takes place here.  Laars loves Tina.

Tina has experience in media and has helped the kids with cinematography.  Currently she is the leading lady in a live theatre here in town.  Turn Left at Lungfish. (Tom and Tina in pic below)

Collage Wrong Turn

“A blind, dying intellectual meets a sassy, streetwise young woman when she comes to read to him in the hospital. This unlikely combination brings us laughter, a few tears, and a heartwarming evening of entertainment.”

Adult content obviously geared towards the overwhelming English retiree expat community of Chapala and Ajijic it wasn’t a show to take our family to.  Besides, the cost (225MX) is a bit prohibitive for us when multiplied by 6 or 7.  Anyways, Everette had just left town and I was given a complimentary ticket to the final dress-rehearsal open to family and friends. I got all dolled up to go to an all-adult evening out!  Awkward…..in a nice way.  I realize I’ve been in Mommy-mode f-a-r too long.

We were carpooling to town but just before leaving the grounds we realized Jimmy wasn’t able to go (he had a music gig) so there was a spare ticket.  Last minute we circled around past our suite, Daniel called out to Danaka and instructed her to ‘get in the van’ and I yelled out to Toveli that she was now In Charge!  We were off, with little time to spare.

What a beautiful little theatre! (Seats 112) I was very impressed with the aura, the architecture, the decor.  Simply elegant….a little piece of classy art tucked off an end-street in Ajijic.  Impressive!

A great vintage: the theatre was founded in 1965 and thus, like moi, is turning 50 this year.

We laughed, nearly cried and thoroughly enjoyed the show.  Tina (and others, of course) did a fantastic job and soooo suited the role of Anita Merendino, with NYC accent and attitude.  Bravo!!

As I publish this, there are only 2 more shows left after tonight.  All sold out.

Standing ovations….I think people are really enjoying the show.  I know Danaka and I did!