The large ficus in the main plaza is bursting with grackle song. Are they greeting the day? Are they gossiping? Perhaps, a combination of both? Either way, their gregarious song illuminates the soul of this well used crossroad.
When I visited the church of San Andres in Ajijic this morning, after my bike ride along the lake, I was surprised, not by the Easter mass already in progress, but that the service was in English, being given by a very white looking priest. The 9 a.m. service apparently is the gringo version...just my luck. I come to town for an authentic Mexican Easter Sunday experience and get expatness.
I sit at my little coffee place across from the plaza and greet Antonio, the gentleman who shined my sandals yesterday. He remembers me, greets me by name and I invite him to sit with me. We talk about Jocotepec. He lives in Joco. I tell him I was there yesterday and was surprised by its size, it's production, it's authentic charm. Antonio leans in toward me and whispers "I think Joco is better than Ajijic....even better than Chapala". I agree with him. He tells me where his home is located in Joco and invites me to breakfast with him next time I am in town. He offers me frijoles y tortillas and I tell him that is the best breakfast. We also speak about the mountains surrounding the lake and the hikes I'd like to take. I find it smart to ask him about the animals one might encounter on these hikes. He confirms that there are some to watch out for....a small, red chigger (tick like) insect, two boa sized black snakes (one venomous, one not), an animal I've never heard of that looks like a opossum and a nickel sized yellow spider with red and black stripes that one must never get bitten by...apparently the bite is fatal in 5 mins. time....so I promise to stay clear of these animals on my hikes. Antonio seems satisfied that he has educated me sufficiently to guarantee my safety. He also says he likes my manner...that with all my biking and exercise and the wonderful food available to me here in Mexico, I will be buff when I return to the states to visit. He takes a he man like stance and we both laugh out load. This seems like a good place to say adios and we promise to see each other soon.
I return to my writing and then notice that the same woman who sat next to me yesterday is there today...only this time she is accompanied by a beautiful, large German Shepard. I have a weakness for Shepards and remember my most trusted Shepard mate Bandit. The woman's companion is named Oso, bright eyed and beautiful of coat...he holds my entire attention. I ask Oso's age and am surprised to find he is 12 years old. He looks to be in his prime...an example of good living and obviously being very loved. Oso greets me timidly, but once I start scratching him he leans into me as only a big dog can and we become fast friends.
My expectations of what Easter Sunday would be here in Chapala are completely dismantled and reconfigured in a wonderful and beautiful way....so unlike anything I thought they would be...this is the magic of Mexico...and of this wondrous place.
Time to return home...Brad has my oatmeal waiting for me. After breakfast and a quick shower I offer to take him to Chapala to get his beard trimmed. "I'm sure we can find a barber in town" I say...even though it is Easter and Sunday, I have faith. We make the walk to town along the lake shore and I start asking....we are given 3 locations to visit and find all of them closed. The last closed location is by the bus station so I say "let's go into the station". We do and happen upon a beautiful Huichol man, dressed in his traditional finery.
I'm mesmerized by his clothing, the embroidery, the colors. I usually try not to stare because I think it will make the person uncomfortable, but today I do stare and make eye contact. The man acknowledges my stare with a nod and a smile. I notice that his pant legs have embroidered words..."Para ti siempre...For you always". This makes me smile.
And as we exit the bus station, I have a sense of giving up our barber search...and there, right across the street is a barber and he is open. We ask about his services, his prices and the next thing I know Brad is seated in the barber chair getting his beard groomed.
CCC - Once again we are mesmerized by the magic of the place...and to celebrate, I invite Brad to comida at Cazadores...our favorite restaurant on the Malecon. The restaurant was originally Los Cazadores Restaurant, located in a well-groomed old Victorian house, formerly owned by the Braniff family – airline pioneers in the USA. It sits right across from the lake and malecon, directly across from the muelle/dock and park.
Our Table At Cazadores
Our favorite dish is shrimp ceviche...it is marinated just right and delicious...to die for!
Add a few Micheladas, a couple of Caesar salads, some flan for dessert and we are set. After comida we stroll along the malecon and take in the view of happy people in Chapala...a typical holiday scene.
After a few steps I turn to Brad and ask him if we can take the bus home....I hear my siesta calling. We do, I do, and so goes life on the lake here.
Confetti filled blown Easter eggs...crack one on someone's head sometime.
A fun Mexican Easter tradition.
Fco. y Brad