Categories

A sample text widget

Etiam pulvinar consectetur dolor sed malesuada. Ut convallis euismod dolor nec pretium. Nunc ut tristique massa.

Nam sodales mi vitae dolor ullamcorper et vulputate enim accumsan. Morbi orci magna, tincidunt vitae molestie nec, molestie at mi. Nulla nulla lorem, suscipit in posuere in, interdum non magna.

Chapala—The Largest Lake in Mexico–And a Cactus Garden!

Chapala—The Largest Lake in Mexico–And a Cactus Garden!

Over Easter break Omar and I took a day trip to Chapala with our wonderful neighbors Silvia and Pablo and their kids Saul and Montse.

Omar at Lake Chapala

Omar at Lake Chapala

April 24, 2007

Chapala, the largest lake in Mexico, is just over the 10,000 foot mountains to the south of our house.  Chapala is also the name of one of the towns on the lake, along with Ajijic, San Juan Cosala, and various others.  It is a beautiful, mountainous area known for it’s great climate, water sports, and high concentration of retired Gringos and Canadians who have come to live here.

We started out at 9, packed in our little Chevy, and in 45 minutes arrived at a cactus nursery in San Juan Cosala.   We had hoped to visit one of the balanarios, or water parks—there are several in the area—but they were all packed, with long lines just to get into the parking areas.  San Juan Cosala has natural hot springs, and no one in town needs a water heater.

A spiny agave

A spiny agave

The cactus gardens were a great alternative.  There is a good size garden filled with mature cacti, euphorbs, and succulents of all kinds, some 20 feet tall and many in flower or fruit.  There are also several greenhouses crammed with plants for sale, and we added some great gumdroppy succulents and lithops to our collection.

The most amazing thing to see, however, was how interested five-year-old Saul was in the cacti.  He just loved them, and has started a small collection on his windowsill.  It’s really nice to see a young person with a passion.

From the gardens we stopped at an “Open House” to see how the rich folks live.  The area has many, many housing developments wedged between the mountains and the lake.  We saw a two-bedroom house with a huge kitchen, granite counters, vaulted ceilings, and a patio with a view of the mountains, for $144,000.  It would certainly sell for much more in, say, California.  Omar and I didn’t really consider Chapala when we bought our house, since Omar works in and around Guadalajara and the lake seemed too far away.  But after seeing how nice some of the developments are, we decided we could be very happy there.  So if you continue to support 365Mexico, maybe someday we’ll make the move!

Shrimp at Chapala

Shrimp at Chapala

We then headed for the town of Chapala, which was just packed with folks who would rather be at the beach but decided that the lake would do in a pinch.  We strolled through the tianguis, or street market, and had a nice meal in a lakefront restaurant.

It was great to get away for the day.  Now Omar is talking about going to the ocean next month…Stay tuned!

Dan and Omar

We all load into our copper-orange Chevy.

We all load into our copper-orange Chevy.

Pablo and Montse like plants as much as we do.  Here they admire a vine with sky blue flowers.

Pablo and Montse like plants as much as we do. Here they admire a vine with sky blue flowers.

A blue-flowered vine

A blue-flowered vine

The entrance to the cactus garden is off the beaten track.

The entrance to the cactus garden is off the beaten track.

But there's no mistaking it once you arrive!

But there's no mistaking it once you arrive!

A variegated agave

A variegated agave

An opuntia

An opuntia

Omar, Silvia, Saul, Pablo, and Montse!

Omar, Silvia, Saul, Pablo, and Montse!

Pablo and Montse find a friend.  Montse calls all dogs "Coco."

Pablo and Montse find a friend. Montse calls all dogs "Coco."

Many cacti were in flower

Many cacti were in flower

Ever see "Little Shop of Horrors?"  An agave.

Ever see "Little Shop of Horrors?" An agave.

Cactus fruit.

Cactus fruit.

Striking green and black cactus

Striking green and black cactus

Many of the cacti are full-grown specimens

Many of the cacti are full-grown specimens

There is delicate beauty among the spines.

There is delicate beauty among the spines.

Gringo exhibiting the signs of cactus overload--dazed look, duck feet, forgot to suck in stomach.

Gringo exhibiting the signs of cactus overload--dazed look, duck feet, forgot to suck in stomach.

Lots of different cacti are sold, at great prices.  Don't ask for peyote, though.  That is only used by the Huichol shaman and elders.

Lots of different cacti are sold, at great prices. Don't ask for peyote, though. That is only used by the Huichol shaman and elders.

Sharing the road in San Juan Cosala.  We did a wedding cake for an event right behind this wall

Sharing the road in San Juan Cosala. We did a wedding cake for an event right behind this wall

Maria Felix was THE big star of the Mexican Golden Age of Cinema.  She spent her wedding night in this hotel in Chapala.

Maria Felix was THE big star of the Mexican Golden Age of Cinema. She spent her wedding night in this hotel in Chapala.

The river that feeds Lake Chapala has been diverted for irrigation, and the lake has shrunk over the years.  It used to come right up to the wall this picture was taken from.

The river that feeds Lake Chapala has been diverted for irrigation, and the lake has shrunk over the years. It used to come right up to the wall this picture was taken from.

A ton of people were waiting to take a boat ride on the lake.  The green plants are Lirio--an introduced water lily that chokes up all open water.  It is much more under control than it used to be.

A ton of people were waiting to take a boat ride on the lake. The green plants are Lirio--an introduced water lily that chokes up all open water. It is much more under control than it used to be.

We find a table right on the lake.  Vendors come with flowers, guitars--and electrodes to grab and prove how macho you are!

We find a table right on the lake. Vendors come with flowers, guitars--and electrodes to grab and prove how macho you are!

Montse says "Bring on the food!"

Montse says "Bring on the food!"

We start with cucumbers, salsa, crunchy wheat "chicharron," and charales--whole fried minnows, a delicious specialty of Chapala.

We start with cucumbers, salsa, crunchy wheat "chicharron," and charales--whole fried minnows, a delicious specialty of Chapala.

Beer comes by the bucket.  Oh what a lovely country!

Beer comes by the bucket. Oh what a lovely country!

A happy Gringo.  "There's food in our future!"

A happy Gringo. "There's food in our future!"

Shrimp sauted in butter and lots of garlic.

Shrimp sauted in butter and lots of garlic.

Why three beers is my limit.

Why three beers is my limit.

Pablo has shrimp "al Diablo" (in hot sauce) and Silvia is polishing off some fish soup (caldo michi--michi means fish in the native tongues of both Michigan and Michoacan!)

Pablo has shrimp "al Diablo" (in hot sauce) and Silvia is polishing off some fish soup (caldo michi--michi means fish in the native tongues of both Michigan and Michoacan!)

The end of a wonderful meal.

The end of a wonderful meal.

We decide to walk off dinner and explore the street market.

We decide to walk off dinner and explore the street market.

Oh-oh!  I wonder if Omar has seen the ice cream stand?

Oh-oh! I wonder if Omar has seen the ice cream stand?

Yep, he's seen it!

Yep, he's seen it!

Nieve de garrafa is made the old fashioned way, in tubs that spin in ice and salt.  They make vanila, avocado, cheese, rose petal, tequila, mamey, lime, and strawberry ice cream.

Nieve de garrafa is made the old fashioned way, in tubs that spin in ice and salt. They make vanila, avocado, cheese, rose petal, tequila, mamey, lime, and strawberry ice cream.

Omar eats his ice cream so fast, it goes up his nose.

Omar eats his ice cream so fast, it goes up his nose.

Pablo, Saul, and Montse do a happy dance.

Pablo, Saul, and Montse do a happy dance.

A lot of folks are enjoying the lake.

A lot of folks are enjoying the lake.

What a wonderful day!  Montse flies up into a Jacaranda tree.

What a wonderful day! Montse flies up into a Jacaranda tree.

We live right over the mountains in the background.

We live right over the mountains in the background.

Sharing is what it's all about!

Sharing is what it's all about!

.

pixelstats trackingpixel
(Visited 666 times, 1 visits today)

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

  

  

  

Categories

A sample text widget

Etiam pulvinar consectetur dolor sed malesuada. Ut convallis euismod dolor nec pretium. Nunc ut tristique massa.

Nam sodales mi vitae dolor ullamcorper et vulputate enim accumsan. Morbi orci magna, tincidunt vitae molestie nec, molestie at mi. Nulla nulla lorem, suscipit in posuere in, interdum non magna.