A Day Trip to Another Pueblo Magico: Mazamitla

We’re slowly making our way to the Pueblos Magicos of Mexico, at least some of the more local ones. Even so, the attractions of the selected towns seem so attractive, we’re looking ahead to visiting some that are further and further afield.

Yet, for now, we’re exploring those in our home state of Jalisco.

This weekend we visited Mazamitla. It’s been labeled as replicating a Swiss village.

We kinda missed that resemblance. It’s pretty, to be more, but in a traditional Mexican way.

Mazamitla is a drive around to the south shore of Lake Chapala. The road snakes along, sometimes seemingly right on the lake and at others, the lake is nowhere to be seen.

There are three striking qualities of the south shore.

The first is the close-up view of what at a distance appear to be greenhouses. They’re all over the slopes of the mountains that ring the lake. And, to be sure, they’re not really greenhouses. They’re not enclosed. They are heavy plastic on metal frames under which are grown a myriad of crops. What we saw appeared to be mostly tomatoes.

The second quality was the heights of the mountains on the south side. One of the tallest was shrouded with clouds on the sunny Saturday of our trip.

And third, the south side seems to be dominated by agriculture and by country living in Mexico. No lines of stores and restaurants. No big box stores, no, not even a Walmart. Instead, quaint villages and not gringos in sight.

To get to Mazamitla, we drove west to the end of the lake and then circled around to the east until we seemed to be directly across from Chapala. Then we turned south and make our way through a rolling mountain pass and finally into the pueblo.

Like every village centro we’ve visited on a Saturday, it was rockin’ and rollin’. We keep our eyes on the cathedral spires, knowing that the centro historico would be right there. Parking was at a premium; not by price, but by availability. We finally found our way into a private lot and set off to explore.

One item of particular note: there were Voladores, the flying natives that are prominent in many Mexican towns and cities. The costuming has been identical each time we’re encountered them. It was here too. However, we saw no pole for them to fly on.

Instead, there was an odd contraption the use of which was not immediately apparent. So we settled in to await the dance and the show and sure enough, the show in Mazamitla is different from any other we have seen.

(Sorry about the video quality! I’ll try to do better, I promise.)

We walked around a little, soaking in the sights and finally landed in a restaurant on the square for lunch. We shared a paradilla which pairs grilled sausage, beef and chicken, with cheese, onions, nopales and yummy little egg rolls.

All though the meal, a caged parrot kept its back turned to us.

And the dragons on the lamp kept watch as well.

A thoroughly enjoyable day here with the magic of Mexico!

Comida Chronicles of Chapala

Netflix recently unveiled a short series called The Taco Chronicles. Yep. All about tacos in Mexico.  We’ve been devouring it (pun intended!).

Mexico City is prominent in the series as are several states to our west. The state in which Chapala resides, Jalisco, is not featured in the series.

Still, Jalisco has its very own tradition of comida (Spanish for food and in Mexico, my Spanish teacher informs me, also refers specifically to lunch). The local specialty is goat, marinated and slow cooked til it is literally melt in your mouth. It’s served with a rich broth, beans, cheese, onions, and tortillas. Truly wonderful.

In several of our discussions of food, my Spanish teacher strongly suggested that I visit a Guadalajara establishment called Karne Garibaldi.  I checked it out on the web and made the trip. As Bonnie was in the States at the time, my intrepid neighbor made the trek with me.

We arrived around 2PM on a Saturday. The place was rocking and rolling. We got seated immediately but the place was pretty densely packed and full. (By the time we left there was a line out the front door.)

We managed to order with our limited Spanish and the wait staff limited English. And immediately we had food. Up first, a plate of tortilla chips and one of Karne Garibaldi’s signature dishes, frijoles con elote (beans with corn) and guacamole.

Yes, we do know that we’re supposed to present the pictures of the food in their splendid glory before they are tainted by munching and crunching. But we couldn’t resist. It looked so good, and, well, you’ll have to take our word for it, it was that good.

What we didn’t know was that the frijoles with corn and chips was the house staple. When we’d finish a plate, a wait staff member would pop by, take the empty and leave us a replacement. Don’t we just love restaurants???

Our order can very quickly as well. And I mean very quickly. Turns out that Karne Garibaldi holds a Guinness Book of World Records record for fastest service.

And all without sacrificing any quality for a sit-down restaurant.

We had karne in its own juices. Literally melt in your mouth.

One of the treasures of Jalisco. Hopefully The Taco Chronicles will spawn more programs about Mexican specialties. The food is indeed wonderful here.

 

 

New Housing in Chapala

We often get asked about housing in Chapala.

We rent; we do not own (yet).

Why, you ask? We want to get a great feel for the area before we make a long-term commitment. Some people, though, feel quite differently. There are a lot of stories of expats coming to visit lakeside, falling in love with it and buying a house immediately. Sometimes this works out; sometimes it doesn’t.

Our purpose here is not to wade into the middle of this (or any) controversy. We’re simply sharing our everyday experiences with you here in Chapala.

As long-time readers are aware, we frequent the train station for concerts and cultural events. Across the street from this beautiful building runs a high brick wall, squaring off what appears to be a big piece of property, although who really knew, given that the wall was quite high.

Then we started to hear rumors that a housing development would be built inside the walls. And sure enough, over time, a modern Mexican house rose up. Just one.

And then, the open house signage.

So my neighbor and I ventured to have a look.

Turns out that an entry with what appears will be a guard station has appeared on the side street off Gonzalez Gallo. We walked in to see an open piece of property with the one house constructed and a team of construction workers building a second right next door.

The salesman was with a couple, so we poked around exploring both the first and second floors. The first floor consists of a decent sized kitchen and breakfast nook, a living room and a bedroom with bath, although no shower.

Upstairs, there are two more bedrooms, one a master and the other a guest, each with their own full baths. Also upstairs, a nice patio overlooking what will be the development.

As you can see from the photos, this property is not traditional Mexican. I guess you might call it Mexican modern.

Talking with the salesman, we learned that the development will contain some 28 houses, with a clubhouse and pool. Monthly maintenance fees are set at $800 pesos or about $40 U.S. at current exchange rates.

The property are in the general range of $170,000 to $200,000 U.S.

Our speculation is that the target market for these houses are weekending Guadalajarans. Most expats seem to prefer bungalows rather than multiple stories.

If you desire, you can learn more here.

Still, these appear to be the wave of the future here at lakeside.