Setting up Our New Home

Saturday, July 30, 2011

After our much needed sleep, we woke up to a beautiful sunrise.

Not having any food in the house, we opted to go to Donas Donuts on the carreterra (main road through town). Donas is the Spanish word for Donuts, it’s not the owner’s name. We learned when we were here last year that this is the place the gringos go to “solve the worlds problems.” Most Saturday mornings it is packed, but this morning we got there before the crowd arrived. I was so hungry I got 2 glazed donuts and a cappuccino mocha grande and Mike had 2 cake donuts and a café Americano.  AFTER we sat down we discovered they serve a full el desayuno (breakfast). Oh well, next time.

We enjoyed our donas and took leave to go to Walmart for food supplies. While navigating the Walmart (very interesting how they “order” things), Mike pleasantly discovered that you can buy booze here. All kinds of wine and liquors. Then we find the ATM and stumble through to get pesos to pay for our purchases.

Back home, we decided to “tackle” setting up the house to feel more like home.  The following are pictures of our home after a couple of weeks. We added our own touches and moved some furniture around, but it is basically the way we found it when we arrived. Mark Eager, the owner, had added many beautiful touches since sending us the pictures many months ago.

In the Living Room

LR / DR / Kitchen, very open plan.

Terrace

The guest bedroom is on the main floor. This is where all our friends who come to visit will rest.

Upstairs

Master Suite includes office, W/I Closet and Full Bathroom

TV/Reading Corner

We moved our computer into the office and quickly set it up so we could contact our families. We moved the owner’s 32″ TV upstairs to the bedroom and set up our larger HDTV in the living room. We can watch the TV from the love seat and still have so much room to move around. Very nice shelves contain lovely vases and artifacts.

Office

The doors open to a small balcony that overlooks the privada (private street) entrance. The room is very spacious and one of the 1st things we noticed is that the ceiling fan is exactly like the ceiling fan we had in our house in Colorado Springs.

The hallway landing contains a large linen closet which holds extra towels, bedding and now houses our luggage.

Just past the linen closet on the other side of the landing into the bedroom that Mike’s sister, Bettye, will use when she arrives in September. Here we have another spacious room with a queen size bed, overstuffed chair, armoire, walk-in closet, private bathroom and a little private mirador. The large windows overlook the common area where the swimming pool, cabana and outside kitchen are.

Kay loves the headboard of carved lilies and the matching armoire. It makes this room look so comfortable and inviting. I’m sure Bettye will be quite at home in this room.

Now back out to the landing and up the final stairs to the mirador. This has become one of our favorite places. We can see the mountains to the north and a bit of the lake to the south. We can watch futbol games on the futbol field next door.

Looking east

Looking Southwest toward the lake

We were very comfortable very quickly in this beautiful home. And we just had to take a picture of our first home-cooked meal … eaten on the terrace.

Tomorrow we go to church in Tlaquepaque at Jose Rodarte’s home. We look forward to seeing Jose, Sophia, Trevor and Nellie. Mike is hoping Nellie will at least look at him this year.

 We’re bringing presents.

That should help some.

 So, until next time…Mike and Kay’s retirement continues…………………………

Dinner at Yves’

Later Friday evening, July 29, 2011

After leaving La Nueva Posada in great disappointment, we drove a few blocks west to the Ajijic malecon pier and stopped into Yves for dinner and our much desired margarita.

We met Yves and his wife, Nettie, last year while we were in Ajijic on vacation. Mike’s sister, Bettye, knew them when she lived here about 15 years ago.

We were very glad to arrive after finding a parking place near the busy malecon. Friday night in Ajijic was hopping. Just as we arrive, Yves is walking out of his restaurant. We speak and he personally makes sure we have one of the best tables … right on the rail with a clear view of Lake Chapala. After our experience at La Nueva Posada, we felt blessed. He hailed his best waiter and made sure we had everything we wanted. Yves is a very hospitable man.

Crane caught a fish

After ordering our much needed margaritas, we set out looking at the menu, which had changed a bit since last year. We ordered the guacamole for starters. After receiving our HUGE mound of silky guacamole, Mike ordered the Azteca Tortilla Soup and I ordered the nachos con pollo.

Now sitting back to relax, we viewed the scenery around us.

One of the first things we noticed was that Vino Blanca was there … and painted with purple for some reason.

Vino Blanca

Vino Blanca is pretty much the town pet. She has been featured on the internet and the man we knew as her owner, Poncho, was sitting in all his oddness at the table just behind Mike. He would charge $50 pesos for a 30 minute ride in her cart.

Vino Blanca 8/2010

Yves tells us later that Poncho could no longer take care of Vino Blanca and was looking for a new owner.

Pablo Loco, 8/2010

He was thinking of sending her to a farmer for $200 pesos, but ended up selling her to Yves for $1 peso, so now she lives right on the lakeside, eating “taco salad” and getting fat and lots of attention.

Yves told us that at first she wasn’t tethered and would pretty much just stay right around there, but one evening she wandered into a busy street and was hit by a car … thus the “ginger and violet” purple on her injuries. Thankfully her injuries were no more than a few scratches and bruises.

Our dinner arrives and we relish our delicious meal. In spite of the fact that Kay’s Nachos con Pollo had no pollo.

As the sun sets on the lake we realize just how tired we are and leave to head to our new home.

After arriving at #19, we drag our suitcases inside and up the stairs to the master bedroom.

Sunset from the Mirador

Kay hurries up another flight of stairs to the mirador to catch our first sunset in our new home.

Then we both crash, exhausted, in the wonderful king-size bed.

And tomorrow begins our first day as residents of San Antonio Tlayacapan, Jalisco, Mexico.

Mike and Kay’s retirement

to be continued.

This entry was posted on July 29, 2011. 2 Comments

Meeting our New Home

Friday evening, July 29, 2011

……..after about 15 minutes of waiting, Mike calls the realtor Mark Eager.

Ring, ring, ring! ….. “Bueno!”

Aha! We’ve made contact. He’s still at the house making inventory and will be right here. In about 5 minutes he shows up with a huge smile on his face. I actually think he’s relieved to rent this house for a year.

After introductions we follow him down a little road next to WalMart. And when I say down, I mean

d

o

w

n

We are wondering, just where is he taking us … into a ditch?

A little turn to the right and we level out on to Libertad, a cobblestone street, past a cornfield into the little village of San Antonio Tlayacapan [tlah yah CAH pahn].

We squeeze through the street, because it’s barely wide enough for 2 cars and there are cars parked on both sides in various places. Our Venza is by no means the largest vehicle on this street.

Next we turn another right at a dead end facing a cocina integral y carpentary talle (kitchen and carpenter workshop) onto Calle Ramon Corona. Just a half block later we see the entrance to Los Lirios… The electric gate opens and in we go past the gardener/ gatekeeper’s home!

We drive down more cobblestones with beautiful purple flowers vining down the security wall.

We turn left onto the first interior lane of the neighborhood and see our new home at the end on the right.

As we pull pull up we recognize #19 from the pictures Mark had sent us many months ago.

As soon as we get in Mark shows us the house, tells us how everything works. The man talks about 90 miles an hour. His brain obviously working faster than his tongue.

Then Mark calls out to Rogelio [ro HALE e o]  the gardener/ gatekeeper to come help us unload the car. Between Mark, Mike, Rogelio and myself we had the car unloaded in less than 20 minutes with everything dumped into the living-room and the fanny pack removed.

Mike had made reservations at La Nueva Posada for 3 nights, so after receiving our keys …… off we went over to the Inn to check in, eat dinner on the terrace and do battle with “Poncho Villa, the toast snatcher.”

Some of you may remember “Poncho Villa and his gang” from my Facebook post while vacation last summer, when he (a sparrow) hopped onto our breakfast table on the terrace and took Mike’s buttered toast off his plate!

However …. there’s no reservation. Mike shows the clerk an email from La Posada with the correct dates on it. The clerk took it to the reservation manager (looked like a kid in his late teens, turns out he’s Mickey, the owner’s son). The reservation Mike thought he’d made apparently hadn’t gone through all the steps needed and they had made no confirmation, the email he got wasn’t the confirmation email, just a step in the process. AND, there was no room in the Inn.  Now we’re really bummed out. They offer to call another B&B to see if they have a room, but we already had the house so we decided we’d just stay there.

We decided to go to “Yves” restaurant on the lake and have dinner there to get the taste of the long day out of our mouths with a good margarita and dinner on the lake. Yves did not disappoint.

And that’s the next chapter installment of ……

Mike and Kay’s retirement

to be continued …

The Last Leg of the Last Leg

Friday Aftenoon, July 29, 2011

Guadalajara to Ajijic and San Antonio Tlayacapan

As we near Guadalajara from the East the temps begin to rise again, but only slightly, and the landscape levels out only a bit. There are still many hills and mountains in the area.

Traffic increases as we come into the city.

Now we must watch for the first of many signs leading us to Lake Chapala.

Dodging the numerous “wild and crazy” drivers … also known as aquellos que no tienen miedo   [those who have no fear] … we pick our way through the multiple lanes of traffic, trying to keep up with the ever-changing signs and lanes. You’ll see “Chapala-Colima”, then “Colima- El Salto”, then “El Salto-Chapala” … and they all seem to be moving into different lanes at different times. Many we see at the last minute, covered by a tree branch or graffiti. We know these are in the “generally correct” direction, but still not the same place. Now the sign says Chapala-Colima, but with arrows in different directions.

Ay! Tan confuso!  This IS still Calz. Lazaro Cardenas, is it not?

Ah. We now see signs for “Chapala-Aeropuerto” and we know we’ve found the right part of the highway. Soon we take the tight one-lane-but-used-as-two curve around to the overpass that takes us to the Carretera a Chapala / Av. Solidaridad Iberoamenicana southward to al Aeropuerto a Chapala. 

Kay emails our realtor, Mark Eager, that we are on the south side of Guadalajara and should be at the Ajijic Walmart around 4:40 PM.

We see signs for Tlaquepaque and the Soriana Super where we turn off to go to church at the Tlaquepaque Iglesia de Christo. Excited to see them in 2 days.

Traffic lessens again only a little as we move south past the airport. It’s about 4:00 and we see many knots of people crowded along the freeway waiting for the bus to take them home from work.

As we begin to leave the city, the landscape again becomes somewhat pastoral. This is now familiar territory and we sense we are almost there.

We see the sign for Chapala and the last retourno back to Guadalajara.


The next signs welcome us to Lake Chapala.

Then … Ole! … we see our turnoff for Ajijic. Only about 15-20 minutes now.

As we wind through this road, our excitement increases.

Soon we make the final left-hand curve and we see it. The carretera Chapala-Ajijic and Mike’s favorite spot in all the world ……….. WALMART!!

We pull into the parking lot and wait — Mark should be here any minute ……………..

Mike & Kay’s retirement to be continued …

Matahuala and Beyond

Friday, July 29, 2011

Before we begin our next leg of the trip, Mike wants to give you some history about the area. Matehuala is a stop on the way to visit the mountain village of Real de Catorce located at 9,000 feet and a winding mountain road containing a one-way tunnel. This village is the set for several movies, Mexican and American. Most noted “The Mexican” with Brad Pitt and Julia Roberts, and “Las Banditas” with Salma Hayek and Penelope Cruz. You can read more about this village here: http://www.realdecatorce.net/homeng.  Mike is fascinated with this historical village.

Early rise on Friday morning after a great night’s sleep and load the “fanny pack” again for our last day toward Lake Chapala.

We have breakfast in the Las Palmas Restaurant, again with excellent service. Breakfast Americano: Fruit, eggs, bacon, toast, coffee and orange juice.

Heading out we take a little detour through town to get gas and see what Matehuala is like. Pretty town. Very clean and bright.

Now on down the road toward San Luis Potosi.

Long straight road through more desert palm forests.  A cuota, but more like the libre, not so wide and open. Simply a 2-lane road with many trucks. Speed limit varied from 60 km to 110 km.

 Now Mike has a tale to tell.

I was sitting dead on 110kmh about 30 minutes past San Luis Potosi when an oncoming black Federal Police vehicle turned its lights on and swung a U-turn, coming up behind us. One policeman got out, walked up to the car and told us in very broken English that the speed limit was 110kmh (about 65 mph) and I had been going 120kmh. In my VERY broken “Spanglish” I tried to explain that I had my cruise control on 110kmh (this Toyota Venza doesn’t lie). One officer must have been clairvoyant and the other telepathic because they had no visible radar on their car. Initially he told us that we must return to SLP and pay the fine. After a few minutes of back and forth trying to understand each other, wondering if he wanted us to follow him back to the police station in SLP, he finally came to the car window and told us we could settle right here. Now we are getting to the heart of the matter. Let see, do I want to return to SLP and argue with the commandant for an hour or pay the fine here?  Now 875 pesos ($75) lighter, I received no paper ticket or receipt. I could not help but notice that the form I signed did not come in triplicate or even duplicate. No, it was simply a single sheet of paper run on a very poor copy machine. So this was my first experience with mordida (the bite), or as we know it in America … a bribe. I will say this; he was polite, professional and very patient.

Kay did not take pictures of the nice policeman.

Moving on down the road we pass through several small villages, some with lots of trucks, one in particular called Ojuelos de Jalisco where there were many booths offering animals for sale, some alive, some dead … some hard to tell. It’s illegal to buy the animals (dead or alive) so we just kept on going. We also notice a lot of the truckers stopped at the many street food vendors.  We wondered where they got their meat.

On the way to Lagos de Moreno we could see where they were constructing the new cuota. We could see where it was marked on the map for future construction. However, we were not on that … to say the least.We also noticed that it didn’t seem to matter how pequeño or grande the village, they really loved their speed bumps. They aren’t humps like we have; they are HUGE buttons in double or triple rows across the road.

♫The wheels on the car go balump-balump-balump balump- balump-balump balump-balump-balump-balump balump-balump♫.

After we get past Lagos de Moreno we are back on a nice wide cuota and after stopping to pay the toll we decide to stop for los baños and a snack (bocadillo). We’d been told to always keep toilet paper in the car for use traveling through, so we get our TP and head to los baños. Surprisingly, these were extremely clean and stocked with plenty of TP. Mike got peanuts and a coca lite and Kay got coca lite, cookies and a Snickers bar. Great lunch, huh? We wanted to make up the time we lost talking to El señor policía.

There are beautiful green valleys as the road winds through here and you can see small farms, lakes and villages in the distance.

As we come into San Juan de los Lagos, we find that the directions differ again from the actual road.

We miss a turn but quickly discover our error and in short time have turned around and are back on the right path.

Very town has a Cinco de Mayo

San Juan de los Lagos is a very pretty city, and we didn’t mind wandering through it at all. Mike wanted to find a fruit stand to buy Kay some sandia con limón y sal, (watermelon with lime and salt) but we just didn’t see any readily available.

Onward now on the cuota toward Guadalajara which is wide and scenic and the last leg of the last leg.

Mike and Kays retirement to be continued …

Evening in Matehuala

Thursday, July 28, Evening

Around 4:30 we pull in to the Las Palmas Midway Inn in Matehuala [mah’-tay-HWAH’-la] for the night.

What a nice place. We get the feeling we’ve stepped back in time to about 1960.

We almost expect to see The Beaver or Ozzie and Harriet.

After Mike checks in (995 pesos = $88 USD including tax) we are directed around to the right to room 103 (this time NOT reflecting the outside temperature). Mike thought this was a little expensive for middle Mexico, but considering how safe we felt here, it was well worth the price. We were treated like royalty.

We drive around the back and wind through the little streets between the bungalows until we arrive at 103 (NOT the temperature this time).

There is a nice man waiting for us who has already unlocked our room, turned on the TV and helps unload our luggage. He would have completely taken the “fanny pack” off of the car if Mike hadn’t stopped him.

We have our own carport for just our bungalow.

Our bungalow is 2 rooms + the bathroom.

A living room with sofa beds and a refrigerator.

After we changed clothes, we walked over to the Las Palmas Restaurant for dinner. Another “step back in time.”

You almost expect to see women in stilettos and seamed stockings sitting around. The waiters all have their blue waistcoats, the bussers in their red waistcoats. The Head Waiter held the door, greeted us, took us to a table by the window and he actually held Kay’s chair for her.

We had guacamole and margaritas for starters.

Kay had shrimp enchiladas and Mike had chicken fajitas (note the roasted serranos on the left. Mike figured out quickly they were NOT jalapeno.)

Kay also quickly discovered that the dark red sauce on top was probably habanero. HOT HOT HOT. Mooooved it off to the side.

For dessert Mike had phlegm…er … flan, and Kay had the Las Palmas dessert: homemade ice cream, peaches, an interesting kind of cheese topping with pecans and cookie wafers, with a chocolate sauce. Oh my!

After dinner we looked around at the advertised golf course (actually mini-golf),

pool, bike path and the RV park.

After our tour, there were showers, a little TV and off to bed.

More about Matehuala and Beyond tomorrow.

Mike and Kay’s retirement to be continued …

Movin’ on Down the Road … Thursday afternoon…

12:30PM 

Thursday, July 28, 2011

In the hustle bustle and scurry to get on the road, the taco dinner we bought at the Nuevo Laredo Port of Entry apparently gets tipped a few times. Now we have beans in the rice, rice in the taco, taco in the beans, beans on the napkins and beans in the bottom of the bag. To say the least “we spilled the beans”.

Kay gingerly eats her beaned taco while Mike drives (and mutters to himself). A “street taco” never tasted so good and we are thankful every day for Satellite/XM radio.

At mile 20, is the final red/green light inspection checkpoint.


Here C
ustoms and Immigration officers may check your vehicle permit and other documents and the goods you are bringing in. Long line … finally our turn. Mike is ready with the manifest. The customs officer doesn’t take more than a glance at it through the window and says “Andele!” and waves us through. Whew! Pleasantly surprised. We expected to have had to unload the car for them to look at what we had, in spite of Kay labeling each clear box with the contents in Spanish.

That was at least an hour made up. Guess we don’t look like smugglers to him.   So we continue our trek.

So far, every agent has been more than helpful and very nice, in spite of all the confusion. You know, “americanos estúpidos.”  They pitied us.

OK. By now Mike is VERY hungry. So, he pulls over and Kay takes over the driving while Mike gets to eat. And off we go, heading down the cuota (toll road) toward Monterrey.  A little explanation regarding las cuotas in Mexico. Some are VERY nice, modern, divided. multiple lanes and WIDE.

After awhile we find ourselves driving through the desert plains. We feel like we’ve stepped onto the set of “Rango”. We are driving through forests of desert palms. Kinda cool and creepy all at the same time. They really do look like little old people.

About 4:30 we drive in to Matehuala [mah’-tay-HWAH’-la], a town of about 75,000 hente, and look for Las Palmas Midway Inn

But that’s for the next post.


Mike and Kay’s retirement, to be continued….