We traveled on the smaller Highway 80, heading towards Lake Chapala. I really do not know what to think of this area. It is said to have the largest concentration of Snowbirds/Canadians and Sunbirds/Americans of anywhere in the world! Is this a good thing? Nevertheless, I am curious about this area!
The riding on highway 80 was spectacular this morning. The air was clear and fresh, the diverse mountainous countryside flora changed three times as we traveled north. Our ride began out jungly and tropical then winding our way up in altitude, the landscape dried out a little and sprouted huge impressive bundles of cacti, then descending into the valleys the landscape became a patchwork of corn fields, berry fields and farms…delightful! We passed a huge convoy of Circus semi trucks caring all their gear, and of course, animals too. The Rodeo was coming to La Manzanilla this upcoming weekend and this probably was some of the entertainment!
Navi directed us up the rickety cobblestone/potholed streets directly to the "vacation rental by owner" casita called the Mexican Sunrise House, that we had secured for the week…amazing! A friendly local hombre living on the same street, stopped as he drove by and welcomed us to the area. We retrieved the keys to the property out of the lockbox, opened up the large folding heavy metal doors that secured the casita and parking and rode on in. We were very lucky to be able to rent this property. They had a cancellation that coincided with our intended dates and we took it…It was just meant to be! Our casita could not have been a more perfect arrangement including Cali, Leo the owners dog who visited us daily. Funny enough we had a dog named Cali for 10 years! Leo was also a fabulous and generous host! There was a welcome bottle of Cab waiting for us, and he also included 4 eggs, bread, butter, jam, juice, milk and coffee for our first mornings breakfast. Leo even organized a cocktail party in his home inviting his motorcycle friends who had toured extensively through Mexico to meet and chat with us.
Ajijic is a very eclectic, extremely friendly Canadian, American and Mexican community that still has that Mexican charm that we love. Horses are ridden down the narrow cobblestoned streets and then tethered to casas. Vendors sell their wares and specialties out of their homes, the chunky curbs and footpaths are sloped, uneven and dangerous. Dogs are everywhere, laundry is hung anywhere that fits, the square or centro is always filled with people on benches, children, and laughter. Unusual combinations of church bell ring patterns that have nothing to do with the time, chime and bong throughout the day and night. Chickens dart in and out of crumbling alleys, there are many artsy stores to loose your self in, Mum and Pop grocers, bakeries, fruit shops and delis, and… 3 weekly open air markets that draw anyone and everyone out…it is really quite fabulous! Kev and I quickly fell into the routine of walking into town daily, exploring, picking up tasty unusual deli items to enjoy with our wine, buying fresh fruits and veges for meals, enjoying a fresh espresso while people watching, catching an open aired movie or live show at the Rojo Piano and trying some of the fabulous local restaurants. Generally, we found ourselves continually walking in circles, eyes up, forgetting to look down, stumbling off curb ways, with me always snapping pictures!
Kev and I did manage to make a couple of rides out of Ajijic! We enjoyed a day trip to the Guachimontones, ancient circular pyramids, discovered in 1970 although recently excavated dating back to the Aztecs. The circular structures had a large pole extending from them and were used for Voladore ceremonies, an ancient pole dance performed by a priest to honor the wind god Ehecai. Another day trip to the quaint adobe town of La Manzamita Pez, later lunching around the lake. Kev and I decided to postpone the Tequila trip, due to my love of the beverage and the impairment it may have with riding…Tequila will need to be a sleep over destination!