How Dry It Is!

The big story here at lakeside is that the lake is shrinking, seemingly faster and faster. It’s palpable; it appears each day that I walk the malecon, the lake has fallen a little bit lower.

Among residents here, few have seen the lake at lower levels. It’s really quite an astonishing sight and the topic of much discussion.

Here’s what we’ve come to expect as “normal” for the level of the lake. Specifically by fisherman’s pier. The picture immediately blow is from a typical “dry” season. The lake is low, about as low as it gets. Not that the areas under the pier are all well covered by the lake.

Contrast this with the level of the lake by the pier after a rainy season (June, July, August, September).

Note below, again after a rainy season, that the lake is very close to the malecon and the pier is just above the lake.

Compare this to now:

The pier is totally exposed and even sports a little (rocky) beach around it.

Of course, your intrepid reporter just had to venture a peek under the pier. So along the beach and around the corner I went!

Definitely rocky and definitely required care in walking.

And sure enough, the four openings below the pier which are normally covered by the lake are now dry enough to walk to the end of the pier.

The opening closest to land was the most dry.

This afforded me a good look at the structure and craftsmanship of the building of the pier.

The second opening was the most precarious. Only a relatively thin line of stones led from the land side to the lake side.

The third and the fourth openings were dry dry dry.

Here’s a look back. Hopefully a rare sight!

And up and away!

One final comparison.

We’re all hoping for an abundant rainy season upcoming to restore the level of the lake.

Trip Around Lake Chapala, Part 1

A couple of weeks ago, I met with Hector, my Qi Gong instructor, in Christiana park where we have an early morning session. Joining us was Hector’s esposa (wife), Ilda, and another student and professional, Lolita. I’m the odd man out in the conversation given my lack of Spanish, although I’m working on that. They are very conscious of including me, despite my communications challenges.

I asked them to speak only Spanish with me so that I’d have to learn. At some point I mentioned, in Spanish, that I’d love to take a trip around the lake one of these days. Well, lots of Spanish flew and before I knew it, a trip was planned for Wednesday (it was Monday). Wonderful!

We met at the main entrance to the park at 7AM and drove off in Hector’s car. We drove west, headed through Ajijic and other populated lakeside towns along the north side of the lake.  Lots of restaurants and houses and several towns. After Ajijic, the populations are mostly Mexican. There’s several expat enclaves that are gated communities, little fortresses of the homeland here in Mexico.

After an hour or so of driving, we arrived in Jocotepec at the west end of the lake.  It was time for some coffee and some breakfast and a little stretch.

Every town in Mexico, at least all I’ve encountered has a public square which is anchored by a Catholic church. We parked just off the square and walked toward the mercado area, or the public market.

Jocotepec was just coming awake. Vendors were setting up, preparing good and cooking.

We even encountered an old but still functional foosball machine!

After some sustenance and a breath of Jocotepec, we headed off to the road around the south side of Lake Chapala.

After Jocotepec, we’re in local Mexican territory. No gringos here, except a few renegades.

The south side of the lake is primarily farming territory. Miles and miles of covered crops, in this case, lots of berries. Blueberries and raspberries. Tomatoes. Lots of goodies!

The shore of the lake here is wild. Farms extend right down to the shore. There are no beaches in the traditional sense of the word.

And there’s the occasional town.

After another hour or so, we arrived at Tlazapan. An inviting town!

More to follow.

Walking on Water, Er, Well, Lake Chapala

Mexico is experiencing a severe drought. The second largest lake in Mexico, Lake Cuitzeo, has basically dried up. Farmers are desperate for water for crops. Hopefully we’ll have a wet season, which should kick in a little in June and then full force in July, August and into September.

Last month I blogged about the rapidly diminishing water levels of Lake Chapala. The shoreline in Chapala has receded more than I’ve witnessed in the last four years that I’ve lived here now. Here’s a comparison.

In the photo below from June of 2018, we see that the shoreline encompasses the pier and the breakwater to the far right of the photo is clearly out in the lake. Accessible by boat only.

Compare then to this photo, taken this month, May of 2021.

The entire time I’ve lived here, the lakeshore has stayed around the base of the pier in these photos and lapped on the foundation of the restaurant. The area between the restaurant and the breakwater was covered by the lake.

Here it is today!

The breakwater is now accessible by foot!

It’s kinda wild over there. And, it turns out, there’s a rocky beach of the other side of the breakwater.

I’ll keep watch on the receding lake. While it’s fascinating, it’s also a little troublesome. Hopefully we’ll have a very wet rainy season this year.




Hector and Me and More in Chapala Spring (Redux!)

A few weeks ago, my neighbor told me that someone was teaching a class on Qi Gong, sponsored by the city, and free to participants. This immediately conjured up visions of Chinese geezers slowing pantomiming around in Beijing parks. Nevertheless, I was intrigued, never having experienced Qi Gong and happy to try something new.

Little did I know.

We went to a “preview” class over in the park. There we met Hector, a gracious Spanish wizard. Dressed in white and speaking only a smattering of English, he ended up teaching one gringo and four gringas Qi Gong over the course of several weeks.

Hector has a heart of gold, or pure crystalline water as I’m sure he would prefer me to say. And he was truly generous with his time and energy and attention. We all enjoyed the class and his sharing.

Life moves on slowly here as we move into the hot season in May and June until the rains start during the summer.

With the pandemic still being in the headlines and on people’s minds, the usual activities here are fewer and life a bit slower. And that’s just fine. One of the little things I’ve noticed is a delightful discovery when I tried a delicious new (well, new to me at least) Thai food delivery service. They serve the mango coconut tapioca dessert in a container made of fast renewing, biodegradable bamboo. Yes, indeed!

A neighboring friend told me about all the products now being made of bamboo, inviting me to check out bamboo undergarments on Amazon. Sure enough, there they are. And he presented me with a covid mask made of bamboo fiber. Very comfortable!

Finally, finally! We’re slowing getting music again. My favorite venue recently hosted an outdoor event with Orchestra Tipica of Chapala, our old friends. Crank up the volume and dance!

Last for now, I witnessed a work of nature that I’d not seen here before. I leave you for now with a video of this wonder!