Sunday, April 29, 2012

Off The Beaten Ex-Pat Path

Desayuno o breakfast is an important meal in our house...first thing Brad does upon waking is eat...I take my time, make a pot of coffee, answer email, read the paper, take a bike ride....Brad eats.  And these days while I'm riding around the lake, Brad makes oatmeal...with fruit.

Fruit here is like candy...naturally ripened, sweet as can be...beautifully colored and can be exotic, in season, familiar...but it is always good.

This morning our bounty consisted of papaya, raspberries, blackberries, cantaloupe, strawberries, apples and a bit of whole grain toast thrown in for good measure.  I didn't have the strength to cut the succulent watermelon in the fridge, so we went without.


Our plan for the day was to walk to Chapala to visit a clinica, buy some baggies for Brad's yarns and like most Mexicans, wander around and enjoy the day lakeside.  But I suggested that instead of walking along the lake, we take a small side street called Calle De Las Palomas, and wander above the city to see what the back neighborhoods were like.  I saw on our map names like Puerta Del Horno, La Cascada, Tepehua and El Tecolote.

When you drive into Chapala you see these higher altitude neighborhoods at a distance, as they flash by.  It seems rarely do expats or visitors venture into these back neighborhoods.  I've heard rumors that these places were not safe to visit, especially after dark.

We wanted to see exactly what they were like, and there is no better way to get to know a new city or neighborhood than by up we went, past old trees, through stone walkways, and finally crested the top of the mountain where we found a working farm, complete with plowed field, cattle, horses and chickens.

Mountain Top Farm

Plowed Field

The homes in this area are humble....not expansive mansions with killer views.  The homes are made mostly of brick and adobe, smaller in size, without water thirsty lawns...more likely agaves grace their gardens. 

Some of the homes had wonderful murals painted on them...this mural of
Popocatépetl and Iztaccíhuatl graced one of the homes.

We asked a walking family what the large statue at the top of the next hill was, and they kindly told us it was a church with a wonderful park around its periphery.  We were given directions how to get there and climbed toward the Jesus in the sky.

The church is called Del Sagrado Rey, an unfinished semi circular architectural gem.  Of course the view was the best on the hill.  One thing the church does well is invest in good real estate...they get the best real estate and the best views.

Igelsia Del Sagrado Rey

View from the Mirador
Iglesia Del Sagrado Rey

View from the hilltop - Tepehua

After our excursion into the Tephehua neighborhood, we were told that all staircases in the neighborhood led down to the main drag in we sauntered down the hill, taking in the breathtaking views as we went.

One errand led to another...and as always, they always lead to food...and it was time to rest our pups and grab some grub.  I remembered a sweet little place down by the muelle off the Malecon that I wanted to try.  We choose a table with a lake view, cooling breeze and colorful tablecloths.  Next to our table was a family that was celebrating their youngest son's birthday.  They hired a mariachi to play "Las Manianitas"...much to the birthday boy's chagrin...for the first thing he did was cover his ears.  After the 3rd song, he seemed fine, acclimatized and hungry.

Everywhere you looked children were out playing...with each other, with their  parents and families, some with toys, some without....but they were all happy.  The balloon vendors were also happy that people were buying their wares.

One particularly cute boy decided that the local fountain was a great way to play in the heat of the sun.  All the adults watching him wished they could do the same.


The adults found their own way of playing, creating an impromptu baile in the park...just hire a banda, grab a drink and your partner and dance the day away.

Recycled Concrete Fountain

Don't forget to play!

Fco. y Brad

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