Snapshots from Ajijic

With a scant four days left of my almost seven months here in Ajijc, there were a few memories I wanted to capture of the house, neighborhood and village. Hopefully I can show the charm that attracts so many people to the area, as well as highlight the quirky, artsy aspects of this house I’ve lived in so comfortably on Rio Yaqui in a fraccionamiento known as Villa Nova, just west of cental Ajijic and just north of the Carretera that winds along the north side of Lake Chapala from Chapala to Jocotepec.

The current owners of the house split their time between Oregon and Mexico and had just bought the place a few months before I started rented it last spring. It had been owned for many years by a Canadian fellow who met a new amour and moved back to that country over a year ago. He was the one who added so much of the wonderful decor that showcases the home’s local vibe.

There are two outdoor spaces, a large courtyard in the front and a smaller one in the rear of the house, off the bedrooms. Art is everywhere in everything from wall tiles to sculptures to artistic ironwork. All of that, coupled with the lush flowering plantings, makes for a relaxing respite.

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Nestled among the landscaping and adorning the patios is artwork and colorful decor that sets the stage for the Ajijic experience. All of these photos are “clickable” for a closer view.

In addition to the tile-work and trompe l’oeil outside, the design scheme continues with hand-painted frescoes and dramatic tiling and accents on the interior.

Mexican paintings (including a evocative one of a lane leading to the lake), pottery and furniture are on display. The cantera (read more about that here: Facts – Cantera Stone) fireplace is a work of art in itself.

The village of Ajijc is just one of the small towns that are situated lakeside, but it is one of the largest and most photogenic. As I strolled around the cobblestone streets down toward the lake I was able to capture some photos that contribute to the memories of those who visit and live here.

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Stalls are popping up everywhere selling items for the upcoming independence day celebrations set for September 16. Holidays are huge here and the pageantry, tequila and noisemakers will all be epic (especially cohetones, the grenade-sounding, mind-numbingly loud, rocket-type firecrackers that are among a type of explosives no longer sold in the U.S. and Canada). Read more that tradition here: Facts – Mexican Fireworks.

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Rains have been frequent and heavy this summer and Lake Chapala is higher than it has been in several years.

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As I mentioned in a previous post, stray and wandering dogs are everywhere and, at times, is heartbreaking to see. Some have homes, yet are allowed to roam the neighborhoods and streets unattended with sometimes grave consequences (drivers here are not known for their reticence). Horse riding is a pastime frequently enjoyed by the Mexican families who have homes here, as well as those coming up for day trips from Guadalajara. Some are for rent and others are privately owned, as I believe is the case in this photo.

Interestingly, I am settling soon in Tucson which was the last portion of the continental U.S. acquired from Mexico in the mid 1800’s (interesting read here: Facts – Gadsden Purchase). Mexican heritage, art, culture and food are deeply rooted in that community and I look forward to having a little bit of this country in my new home town.

I will carry memories of Ajijc, the friends I’ve made and the fanciful and dynamic heritage of Mexico with me for the rest of my life. My wanderlust continues.

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