Los Telares…a Garden Restaurant

Collage entree

Looking scrumptious?  You betcha.  We came to listen to our friends Noe and Jimmy along with Paco.  These 3 provide live music weekly here at Los Telares where we sit in a garden and eat scrumptious foods to a variety of music genres.  Umbrellas are moved aside and dancing begins, where waiters/waitresses skirt between dancing couples…with no spills (this night at least)!

Collage dessert La Torres

Everette and I both grew up in homes where dancing was frowned upon….no, it was considered evil.  Those environments were full of sin and sinners.  I wasn’t even allowed to go to Sock-Hops in Elementary school!  But secretly I have always been mesmerized by dancers, feeding that carnal part of me (tongue in cheek).  Such grace and energy.  I LOVE IT!!

Before Everette and I hit the road again in 2012 I convinced him to take community ballroom dancing lessons.  With four left feet we blundered around the room, him somewhat hesitant and me pushing to lead.  His rhythm far supersedes mine so he could get into the beat with ease if I would just follow his lead.  We did okay…much better with my eyes closed, leaning into the trusting!

This night at Los Telares we were too timid to get up and stumble out a dance.  We waited until other diners had left and the band was playing their last set.  I boldly got myself out of my seat and asked my hubby to take the floor with me.  He accepted.  We snuggled and swayed…and how wrong could we get?  Not much.  The music was slow, the onlookers few. We broke the ice and publicly danced.

Another time?  Why the hell not!

 

 

Quincinera

The mark between Childhood and Young Womanhood takes place in much of Latin America on a girl’s 15th Birthday.  Sometimes as elaborate as weddings, the Quincinera may involve a Thanksgiving (religious) mass followed by a reception with celebratory events such as formal entry, formal dances, toasts and a meal.  There may or may not be traditional customs such as Change of Shoes, or the “Ceremony of the Last Doll” where the quincinera is offered but rejects a doll (usually dressed the same as the Quincinera) to symbolize her leaving childhood for womanhood.

Very festive, we snuck into the reception hall with permission for a quick peek.  Stunned at the transformation of the hall, the bar has certainly been raised for our community’s next celebration!!  The dance floor/stage was pretty spectacular!!

Earlier in the week the Quincinera had been on the grounds to have her photo shoot, of which one of the pictures you can see on the left.  She looked beautiful in her turquoise full-length dress, no doubt.

Collage 15yo

A Hummer limo drove up with panels of bright lights flashing, teens singing out the sunroof.  Fireworks crackled across the sky.  Both live and canned music played until about 4am, vibrations coursing through our bodies and by-passing earplugs.

Guessing it was about 3 or 4am, Laars came to my bed to complain that he had to scare some ‘kids’ out of one of our patios and “they stole what you call a couch”.  I knew he felt scared/uncertain so I took my headlamp to check it out, and sure enough the mattress was taken off of the futon frame and we were left with (probably) a rum ‘n coke on the rocks.  But nothing else looked amiss (except some spilled drinks?).

We stepped over spilled drinks and broken glass (that Victor was already in progress of cleaning up) to sit down where we usually do to have our morning coffee overlooking Chapala.  Before heading back to our suite I cleaned up the broken glass under the big tree where our children play….often in bare feet.  Always sad to see the broken tables and chairs after parties like this.  Like people just don’t care.

Today the celebration has continued though informally.  With shared food {possibly a recalentado (re-warming)} they had out on the large open field, they have also played some music (though not nearly as loud as last night), played some field games and used the pool.  We may be in for another l-o-n-g night tonight…..time will tell.

We get windows into differing cultures right here literally in our very living room!  There may be things we totally don’t understand about another culture (ie, borrowing the futon mattress; all the yelling they do to one another across streets, fields, whatever rather than going to somebody and talking face-to-face; roaring right outside somebody’s suite or tent at 4 am) but we have much to admire.  They are so much more family oriented than up north.  Big siblings and parents often play ball or swim with them, and men carry littles around a lot.  Parties always seem to be multi-generational and children included in all the festivities.  We witnessed much the same in Belize years ago.

As annoying as it is sometimes, it is still fascinating, educational and entertaining to observe the differences.

 

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.

Thanksgiving: Everette’s Planned it all Wrong This Year, Poor Guy

And Everette’s one of the things/people we are the most Thankful for, and him and I have been apart for both Canadian and US Thanksgiving this year.  That sucks!

Everette and the kids were in Colorado I think when it was Canadian Thanksgiving and didn’t do anything particular to celebrate it.  Mitchell, Maret and I were still at Rauchelle’s where we pigged out (over several days) on pumpkin pudding, pumpkin lattes and smoothies.

This week Everette was in Canada with no invites to celebrate a US Thanksgiving (Emma made a placecard for you, dear!), but the kids and I are at Hotel Perico in Mexico with a bunch of expats (Cdn, USA & Australian) who shared a delightful evening of food, drinks, dancing and live music.

Collage bar (1)

The children busied themselves from noon onwards helping prepare food for the potluck, set and decorate the tables.  Anders learned to light matches and candles for the first time.  And when six o’clock arrived our kids were washed and cleaned, donned fancy bowler hats and excited for the celebrations!!

We already were acquainted with a few of the attendants…others we met at the bar or at our arranged seating.  Some Spanish-only, some English-only, all of us out for a friendly good time.

Tina was our hostess making introductions for live music, she was the bar-wench, and the instigator of fun-on-the-dance-floor.  I think she’s the kids New Hero!

Collage Table

The music was great.  Various genres; some impromptu songs by request.  The atmosphere was Feastive!  The children all danced, and some of the adults….though I think Mark D’A was the only male dancer…..and he’s hilarious to watch.

We need to book dance lessons for our family with Tina, I think.

 

Collage Dancing

Dancing and Schedules

I think this is darling….young kids learning to dance.

Kara is the beautiful red-head, the daughter of my friend whose house we are currently staying at.  I was on school/dance duty Mondays (last week and today) so Shelley could get away for extended weekends.  Challenges as a single mom never cease.

So I got the taste of schedules…get the kids up to deal with breakfast, pack lunches and get to school at a set time.  The big challenge is to remember to pick them up at the end of the school day.  Then it’s the shuffle of getting Kara to dance class and get supper happening before the evening schedule begins .  But that’s when Shelley arrives back home to take on the evening dance classes.

I go back to living life with less schedules (we get enough of that with volunteering regularly) and keeping tabs on only seven kids.

Back to the dancing….

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In retrospect I wish our children had had more experience taking dance lessons.  But, the rearview mirror is just a fraction the size of the windshield because we need to spend our time looking forwards more than we do backwards.