21 May 2017
May 20 – 21, 2017 Leisurely day with lunch at La Chata – the locals favorite Mexican restaurant. The evening found us once again at Santa Clara ice cream – yum! Time to pack and head back to DreamCatcher – it’s been a wonderful trip!
Ajijic - Chapala
19 May 2017
We were blessed to have Ronnie again as our guide to explore Mexico’s largest fresh water lake, Lago Chapala. It is located 30 miles SE of Guadalajara and has been their primary source of water since the 1950’s. We started the day at the ranch of Vicente Fernandez (Mexico’s most loved singer), and next stopped at the town of Ajijic on the shores of Lago Chapala. Ajijic has numerous art galleries and curio shops, as well as restaurants and B&B’s. There is a large ex-pat community here (5,000) and the town plaza has lovely restaurants and a chapel with many unusual art exhibits to entertain. Chapala town is located just 3 miles away from Ajijic and is a weekend getaway destination primarily for the residents of Guadalajara. We enjoyed a short panga ride over to Scorpion Island, the largest island in the lake.
18 May 2017
What a fun day! Our Viator guide Ronnie picked us up at 9:00 am and we headed for the town of Tequila to visit both an artisanal distillery, Amanecer Ranchero, and the larger distillery of Casa Sauza. Ronnie gave us a glimpse of the world of agave and tequila creation – he owns an agave ranch! He is a full time guide, but farms on the weekends at his family’s ranch. He sells his agave plants to both small and large distilleries – so our first stop was at a friend’s tequila distillery to see how the operation worked and to sample the different tequilas – Bruce of course had to take one of the bottles home with him! Our second stop was Casa Sauza, a large operation where we learned about planting, harvesting, distilling and packaging the agave plants into tequila. It was a great learning experience (and we decided the highlight of our trip). I must report that two more bottles of tequila found their way home with us – one is destined for my brother and dad in OKC, so no worries for over consumption!
17 May 2017
May 16 – 17, 2017 Guadalajara is considered the cultural center of Mexico, the home of mariachi music and beautiful plazas and monuments. Our hotel was located in the city center with nearby cathedral domes lit at night and music playing from the plaza down below – magic! We walked the streets admiring the beautiful public buildings, statues and fountains that link together walking promenades throughout the city. The city’s economy has two main sectors – commerce and tourism employ about 60% of the population, but surprisingly the electronics and information technology businesses have named the city the “Silicon Valley of Mexico” and is the main producer of software, electronic and digital components for Mexico (approx. ¼ of Mexico’s electronics exports).
15 May 2017
May 11 – 15, 2017 A short one hour drive brought us to the lovely colonial city of Guanajuato, located in a narrow valley which makes its few streets (one main in, one main out) narrow and winding. The city was originally split by a small river that serves as a main thoroughfare, but now nine underground tunneled streets are located above the original river and manage the major traffic flow. Unlike the regular layouts of many other Spanish and Mexican cities, the streets of Guanajuato follow the extreme irregularity of the terrain, with small alleyways, plazas and in some cases steep staircases up hillsides. We stayed at the lovely El Meson de los Poetas hotel, with a balcony overlooking the square cut stone street. We visited the Christ the King monument, took a walking tour, rode the funicular up the mountain and walked the streets enjoying the plazas, restaurants, markets and people (can’t forget the ice cream and coffee drinks!). I also had fun sketching Callejon del Beso!!
10 May 2017
May 8 – 10, 2017 Our two week land trip via bus (8.5 hours NE of PV) has begun with the industrial town of Leon. Leon has a strong leather industry offering shoes (approx. 70% of all Mexican shoes are made here), boots, belts, jackets and other leather accessories to both national and international markets. We were able to buy two large pieces of leather to use on the boat for chafing gear – yay! The photo is the view from our hotel room – just beautiful!
07 May 2017
April 15 – May 7, 2017 Let the work begin! Our time in marinas are always busy with boat projects – one of our bigger ones was to have our davits repaired and a solid bar lifeline installed in the cockpit area – we love it! Lots of sewing chores (refurbished all 17 roman shade porthole curtains, new cockpit weather cloths, etc.), wheel wrapped in French twirl and canvas cover, ottoman reupholstered, engine and generator servicing, new strainer, etc., etc. And our favorites – lots of reading, sketching and watching videos. Yay for VPN and Amazon prime! We watched the first three seasons of Downton Abbey – love it!
14 April 2017
We have finally given in to the Costco addiction! Now where to put it all??????
13 April 2017
We have had our first shakedown with the Mexican police! Bruce accidently made an illegal left turn in our rental car, and the next thing you know we have two motorcycle police parked behind us. Hummmmmmm. Officer – “Sir, do you know what you did wrong?”. Bruce - “honestly, haven’t a clue”. Turns out left hand turns should be made from the far right lane only, not the left lane and only when there is an inconspicuous green arrow. Sigh. After the officer collected his license (license to be retrieved at city hall after payment of 2800 pesos) in five days (Easter weekend), the whining from Gina and Elaine started. After much discussion, the “fee” of 1400 pesos was paid and the license returned. No paperwork, as he didn’t have his receipt book. We later learned that 200 pesos is the customary “fee” for all traffic violations. Now we know. And now we know how to make left turns!!!
13 April 2017
April 8 – 13, 2017 Elaine is here!! Woohoo! We are always so excited to see her (last time was our canal transit in August 2015 – much too long!). We spent the first two nights anchored out at La Cruz, then returned to the slip in Paradise Village to continue our touring of downtown Puerto Vallarta via Segway (actually Chinese knockoffs - only one crash – the dog of course!), exploring Banderas Bay by car (Sayulita, Punta Mita, San Francisco) with our friend Jeff (s/v Sailors Run) and just enjoying her sweet company! Come back soon Elaine!