Guadalajara Wholesaler

We love to go to the local markets here.

Mondays there’s the street market in Chapala which is heavy on produce and some meats along with some kitchen wares and clothes.  There’s also an indoor market of predominantly prepared foods (lasagne, cakes, salads, etc) in San Antonio.

Tuesdays its the Organic Market in west Ajijic with super foods, organic produce, gluten-free and other baked goods.

Wednesdays its the street market in Ajijic where there are vendors of produce, fish, jewelry, pottery, leather, under garments, etc.

Where does a lot of these products come from?  Other than the locally-made things and pre-pared foods, the produce comes from the wholesalers in Guadalajara.  Conveniently not too far from the Canada Consulate we had to visit recently, so we ventured bravely into the congested streets to see what we could find.  Police patrolling on bicycles might give an indication of how congested it can be!

Collage Guad market

This is totally unlike going to a grocery store.  This is like shopping warehouse-to-warehouse.  One houses watermelon…rows and rows of stacked watermelon.  Another one has pineapple.  Another has sacks of potatoes.  Sacks and sacks and more sacks.

Everette parked awkwardly on a street corner and perused a few ‘stores’ to get a crate of mangos for $160MX.  There were at least 40+ mangos in there, for about $13CDN.  Strawberries were $60MX ($5CDN).  A sack of 8 pina (pineapples).  Right beside us was a man named Joaquin who sold only cucumbers and limes, so we stocked up on limes.  Across the street from us we discovered a Spice Shop that also sold (in scoopable-bulk bins) legumes (nuts and beans/lentils) along with dog food and bird feed (interesting combination).  We bought tamarinds, pecans, sesame seeds & peanuts.

We drove up and down a few streets, spotted what we wanted and pulled over, collecting carrots for $50MX ($4CDN).   We spotted stores that sold Tupperware-like containers, another selling styrofoam plates, party supplies, kitchen knick-knacks.  It’s like 5 city blocks squared of warehouses selling wholesale.  A buyer’s delight!!  A large family’s treasure!!

All of this for under $60CDN.


Collage Produce


We went to a night of Carnaval for Gaelyn’s birthday 2 years ago in La Paz and weren’t overly impressed so we haven’t sought it out again.  Maybe we’ll time it some day for Rio de Jainero.

Today, however, Everette and Mitchell went for coffee after the organic market and went out onto the street to not only find a parade, but got to be a part of the flour-bombing!!  I guess somebody targeted Everette when he held up his phone to take pictures!

Collage Mardi Gras


Ajijic Market

The day Layne arrived was the only day during her stay that we could visit a local market so after a short snooze (she had flown a red-eye) we headed off to the cobble-stoned street flanked by tables crowded with wares.  So much candy for the eyes.

I bought myself a birthday gift of silver earrings to replace my hoops I sadly lost while visiting with my mom  in November.  Layne googley-eyed stones, fabrics and sweets.  We talked with ‘shop’ owners: we discovered we ‘met’ this guy painting spoons at Todos Santos on the Baja 2 years ago!  This day he painted us Lands End from Los Cabos!  But we didn’t buy 😦

Collage spoon


Collage Market

We buy the bulk of our produce from the Chapala market and some from the organic market in west Ajijic but this market is where we pick up a few odds n’ ends and appreciate more the crafts.  We’ve bought blown glass, kitchen gadgets, leather wallets, & jewelry from here.  Its always great to get a treat and a good price 😉 and know that its providing an income for the locals.


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… 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!

Posada & Floating Lights

All around us are signs of Mexicans and gringos alike celebrating.  Most are celebrating in their own way the story of the Christ-child.  Some just celebrated Winter Solstice.  Jews celebrated Hanukkah earlier this month.  There’s been other celebrations such as that of Lady of Guadalupe.

Whatever and however you choose to celebrate, we can all engage positively with one another.  I think its absolutely ridiculous the recent Facebook posts on whether one should/n’t say Merry Christmas or if it should be Happy Holidays or Seasons Greetings.  Can’t we stop nit-picking and just accept Well Wishes from other people?  Must we criticize?  Must we judge the intent of the greeter?  Can’t we just accept our differences and trust that their intent was to bless us?  To spread some Cheer?Collage reception

Okay, now that’s off my chest 🙂  we’ve had opportunity to attend our first Posada Party last night (23rd) where our young boys danced the night away.  This is their newest thrill and I some how think they are developing a crush on their most attentive dance partner…..the beautiful Tina.

Collage Tina

Posada is from Dec 16-24th,  a procession of a Mary and Joseph looking for a place to stay, where they are turned down time and time again, with more and more people joining the procession.  It ends with the arrival at the church where they finally find shelter…..and mass and a party begin.  Tamales and a hot punch (much like a cider with chunks of fruit in it) are the standard food, though of course cuisine and traditions change not only nationally but regionally.

Our Posada skipped the procession and jumped right to the party!!  Live music was delivered by Jimmy and Noe and a few more of their friends.  Jimmy and Noe had provided music for our Thanksgiving Dinner last month, and they doubled in size for this party.  Now if we can just do something about acoustics in the big hall it’ll be near perfection.  Maybe in time for Valentine’s Dance???

Collage Music

The kids had a ball, and we met many people we hadn’t previously, and of course were able to get to know better some people we  met at Thanksgiving.  Our children buzzed around the room with Mexican children (its neat how they don’t need to share the same spoken language but the language of Love and Fun are universal!!), danced their tootsies off, and chitchatted with the adults.  Anders was even invited to dance with a lady (I’m unaware of her identity). Later Anders was put in his place when Daniel (Texan cowboy singing in the pic above right) was escorting Tina to the dance floor and Anders asked if he could join them.  Daniel clearly told him No! that Tina was his partner, and his alone for this dance!!  Wow, the boy will have to learn real quick.

Collage G & A

So that was on the 23rd.   Today, Dec 24th we welcomed our new friends, the Nichols from Lost Coast, CA who are going to stay here at Perico for a few days so you’ll meet them later.

Then Everette and I took drinks down early to our sitting spot where we overlook the city of Chapala.  It’s where we drink our morning coffee and watch the sun spread across the lake.  It’s also were we park ourselves to unwind at the end of the day.  Today we snuck down there early, and so glad we did.

There was a Mexican family of four down there barbecuing.  We had struggled to understand them earlier in the day when they were inquiring about the bbq.  Now they were successfully underway preparing their evening meal.  We sat to have our drinks.  Then Everette decided to offer them a gift…they graciously accepted.

About 20 minutes later the woman and one of her young sons came over with a plate of food and offered it to Everette.  Seasoned pork (I think) with warm tortillas, s-p-i-c-y sauce and limon.  A few moments later they brought a plate for me.  Insisting that we eat.  Oh so tasty!!

We exchanged pleasantries when we were heading back to our suite and the man seemed seriously pleased that we responded to his Merry Christmas with the Spanish equivalent Feliz Navidad.  Thrilled that we would say that in his own language, and when I attempted  “Happy New Year” in Spanish, oh he was pleased!  It was great to bless his heart with such a seemingly simple gesture.

Tuesdays are usually Movie Nights and the kids were preparing for Home Alone, and as I headed over to watch I looked up to my left and saw this huge glowing blob at the top of the driveway.  What the heck was that?  I took a step back to get a better view.  I quickly called the children and we gathered around that same Mexican family as they attempted to release this hot air lantern, with no success before it caught fire.

They had more pkgs so they invited us to come to the open grass area to watch them hopefully release the next one, where maybe a draft from the grass would help lift it into the air.  But when it was partially filling up with air we spotted a big tear in the side….it would never launch successfully.  So the third (and final??) lantern pkg was brought out, and this is when we discovered that none of the instructions were even

written in Spanish.  Product was made in China so the instructions were in Chinese characters, then poorly translated into English.  That was worth a good laugh!  Good thing there were pictures, some guys who had a general idea of what to do, and a Toveli with slender fingers who gently separated the folds of crepe paper without tearing holes in the lantern.Collage Lantern

The man told us that the reason they were releasing the lantern tonight was in celebration of the baby Jesus….the Light of the World.

Success this third time!  And a thrill to watch my first lantern lift high into the Ajijic air, higher and higher until the paraffin wax ended and the flickering glow extinguished.

Does the lantern fall and land on some unsuspected child’s head?  Laars & I were wondering.