Chapala Facelift

Last week Bonita and I made a quick trip to Houston. On our return, which coincided with the end of Carnival, we found that the city restoration program has progressed significantly. In our last post (which you can find here), I described the streets of Chapala and mentioned the restoration program. Well, in the course of a week, the program had beautiful results, especially on our street. Check this out:

Bright colors, fresh paints, streets paved in stone squares and curbs and corners marked for parking/no parking and handicap access are now all in place on almost the entirely of our street.

Oh what a mix of colors and textures. Would this pass muster in city codes in the U.S. and Canada? Probably not. But this is Mexico and folks here like local flair and colorful paint. And it totally works.

The city is hard at work on the streets. Yes, it’s disruptive and messy, yet the results are bearing fruit. I must admit, I hold my head a little higher now walking down our street to the city center and our favorite mercado.

We have particular favorites of the newly-painted homes and businesses. And if some are not quite to our tastes, we immediately spot many that are.

Chapalans are rightly pleased with the progress of the city. We love the friendly atmosphere and how much care and respect folks here have for the city and for each other. Come and enjoy.

Streets of Chapala

What do you notice most in this photo of a typical Chapala street?

Perhaps the paving? Yes, indeed, many of the streets, the residential streets at least, are paved with stone.

Or maybe the vibrant colors? The tightly clustered buildings are a kaleidoscope of eye-popping mixes.

Or the dust? It’s winter in Chapala and pretty dry (we only had two cloudy days in our first two months here and just a smattering of rain–every other day beautiful sun). Plus, there’s lot of road repair and construction happening all throughout downtown Chapala, part of an infrastructure upgrade and beautification project.

Part of the beautification program too is fresh paint on street-facing exteriors. Near us, some of the homes were recently painted.

Or the mixing of commercial and residential areas? It’s typical to pass house after house with a variety of shops on the ground floor (note that many buildings are two-story). Carnecias (butchers), tiny mercados (mini convenience stores would be the closest equivilent), pharmacies, professional services (doctors, dentists, tailors, key makers, bakers), and prepared food shops (typically selling one or two particular Mexican dishes).

The streets of Chapala are simply a feast for the eyes. But watch where you are going! The sidewalks are pretty narrow and often uneven.  And with workers doing repairs, painters, and sign hangers as well as loading and unloading happening, we’re compelled to step into the street with frequency.

Also, watch out for the dogs (and their droppings). There are lots of them roaming around and they have a habit of simply lying down on a sidewalk and sleeping. They’re all friendly (at least the ones we’ve encountered). Still, someone who has a dog phobia will find Chapala difficult to navigate.

We love walking the streets. It’s typical as a person passes by to greet them with a smile and an “Hola” or “buenos dias” (good day).

So buy yourself a couple of pairs of really comfortable walking shoes and join us. See you there!

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