Saturday, April 28, 2012

A Pearl Of A Place

Chapala Muelle

It being Saturday and with nothing necessary to accomplish we decided to check out a madera or wood shop on the highway coming into Chapala.  We'd heard that we could purchase milled pieces  there of various types of wood.  "It's right in front of the Soriana on the highway" we were told, and sure enough...that's where we found it.

When we knocked, the stocky gentleman behind the counter was having his back rubbed with rubbing alcohol by a tiny, brown skinned woman.  I remembered that my grandmother and her sisters used to use this remedy for various illnesses.  As soon as I said "buenos dias" the tiny woman disappeared and we were left to do business with the jovial, man of generous girth.  We asked knowledgeable questions and he quickly surmised we were experienced woodsmen...and he showed us his inventory and promptly provided pricing.  This was a good place to purchase wood for Brad's loom, which he is busy customizing.

Since we were right across the street we decided to pickup a few items at Soriana, which is our local Mexican super market.  The olive oil was in a special section....and it took us a few minutes to find, but the chicken and pasta we right where I expected them to be...and in two shakes of a culebra's tail we were out'a there!

Brad wanted to walk around a bit so we visited a new furniture thrift shop where we found a lovely, large Mexican rustic wood bookcase, a patio bar and food mixer.  Then we decided to head to the plaza in Ajijic, just to walk around and explore a bit.  We decided to walk along the lake and came upon The Posada Vieja, a local watering hole and restaurant that we like to frequent on late afternoons.  We ordered mineral water (for Brad) and Cazadores (tequila for Fco.) and perused the was time to eat, according to our stomachs, so we decided to order cormida.  Comida was a shrimp, cheese fondue molcajete, taken directly out of the oven bathed in a coriander or cilantro sauce...yummy!  Guacamole, more tequila and sangrita sealed the meal.

You have to understand what a magical spot this the lake's edge, with an indigenous weaver by the name of Ocheeta, weaving lakeside, the white egrets soaring above you, Mexican families having picnics around you, horses and people on horseback passing in front of you, and Pepe Loco's famous burro at your heals.  You are steps away from shops and restaurants housed in 300 year old buildings and homes.

Fco. Chillin' at La Vieja Posadad

After comida we decided to walk the Malecon...and happened upon this home, with it's bright display of floral color.  The plants seem to dance for you every time you pass them along streets or walkways.  This is the dry season so the colors aren't as pronounced as they will be in a month or two...but look at these amazing sprays!

Wandering we ultimately end up in the central part of Ajijic, and passed The Pearl Collecion, our friend's fine and folk art store at Ocampo and Colon.  We've been waiting for just the right time and day to visit with Diane Pearl, the proprietress...and she was in today and waiting for us to visit....she had heard through the grapevine that we were in town.
Diane Pearl, Jill and Brad

Diane saw us at her shop's door and lit happy to finally having us living in her town.  We spent the rest of the afternoon catching up, telling stories.  Diane looked wonderful.  Obviously, life lakeside was agreeing with her.  Brad spoke business with her re: his weaving and teaching, and then it was time to close up shop.  While there I noticed several folk art masterpieces which I'd like to share with you.

Catrina from Capula, Michoacan, ala Angelina Jolie at Oscars 2012


Never one to brag, Diane told us she had spent the previous season painting and that the paintings on her store walls were her original work.  The work spoke to me of organic forms, from the sea, of universal symbols and themes, truly touching my core.

Diane Pearl Original Paintings

Diane Pearl Original Paintings

Diane Pearl Original Paintings

I rejoiced in her paintings, telling her that although she was a dear friend, I truly loved her paintings for the talent infused in the work.

Her store is an eclectic work of art in itself, and requires many visits to be able to appreciate the breathe and quality of the Mexican folk art found throughout.

Diane Pearl Store

Hummingbird Catrina

Knowing that I am a big fan of fine Catrina work, especially from Capula, Michoacan, Diane invited me to visit her warehouse, where the most current, finest ceramic Catrina's could be found.  I was dumbfounded when I saw the evolution of the Catrina art, exhibited in her shop.

Wishing Well Catrinas

Having said buenas noches to Diane, and promising to see her soon, we ventured to Ajijic's main plaza to check up on the new plaza rehab work.  I take coffee and read the paper every weekday morning in the plaza and felt a need to see the progress to our beloved plaza this Saturday.  Sure enough, the artisan's work did not disappoint.


The main plaza in Ajijic is undergoing a beautiful design change, symbolised by 5 sun ray designs, representing the 5 original settlements in the lake area.  The central sun pattern will have sun rays made of transparent onyx material, illuminated from below.  The sun design will emanate from the 4 corners of the plaza, with the central sun design as its primary centerpiece.

Brad with one of the central plaza's transparent onyx sun rays.
Central Plaza Sun ray Design
Brad Inspecting Plaza Work
Ajijic Main Plaza Kiosko
Pup Metal Sculpture at Diane Pearl Colleciones

And so the day ends, with a trip home via the local gellato shop....Brad ordering banana gellato and I mint and tart limon gellato...the perfect way to end the trip home.

Tonight we are to digitally join our monthly music group in Malibu, CA. via Skype.  The excitement is palpable...and a new step in our technological growth is near...wish us luck!

Fco. y Brad

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