We really have been enjoying Roca Azul. I’ve been walking around the park each morning for at least 2 laps. This will get me more than 2 miles of walking plus it’s a great opportunity to meet folks. There are many people who live in the community right outside the park gates that will walk here too. I’ve met Rena and her husband Lonnie. She is from Ontario, Canada and he is from the US. They bought a home and have lived here for over a year now. I thought I might have talked them into hiking with us to the cross but they didn’t make it the day we went. People have told us that this area has the best weather in the world! So far, we are loving it!
On our walks, we have discovered a spot that has tons of chrysalis on the wire fencing. Now I regularly stop to see what is happening there each day and sometimes twice a day. We have found the caterpillars there too. I am expecting a large monarch population in the next 2 weeks. We have already found many flying around close to the lake where the orange wildflowers grow. Larry and I chase them for hours to get the perfect shot. We have also seen many other butterfly species plus some moths. We have discovered that butterflies are even harder to photograph!
We found a bike trail along Highway 23 from Chapala to Jocotepec that is almost finished. There is one part near Ajijic for about a mile that is still being built. We drove to Chapala on Tuesday to ride our bikes on a portion of the trail. On the way, we found a store where we bought some pool floaties. Yeah! And found an amazing spa that we plan to visit soon. We first rode around the Malecon in Chapala and found a large park that had waterslides and soccer fields. The waterpark was closed and we only saw a few people at the park. There was one soccer game going on but we didn’t stay long. We headed out of town on the bike path and discovered lots of fun things along the way. So many stores for anything you could want. Lots of places to eat from big to small. Lots of fruit and veggies stands too. I get so excited when I see all the produce that I can buy here…. so yummy and so cheap! I took pictures along the way. We found another colorful Chapala sign but it was roped off. Most of the gathering places, like centros and parks have been closed.
The town of Ajijic is where many Americans and Canadians buy or build homes to live in full time or seasonal. We saw many large beautiful homes up on the hills overlooking Lake Chapala. I get a very good feeling from this little town. It’s nestled up to the mountains and close to the lake. The people are friendly and kind. We are very comfortable. When the bike trail got crappy...not finished, we rode down the cobblestones to find the Malecon. The west end was open so we rode along until the end. The end was roped off but we went under the rope. Larry was getting super hungry so we found a cute little bar with snacks right by the lake. Tequila Bonanza. We both had shots of tequila and beer. We had some peanuts and chips. Larry said that would be good to get him back to the truck. We walked our bikes up the cobblestone road. This gave us the opportunity to see the church, some amazing murals and the cute colorful stores along the way.
When we got back to Chapala and the truck, Larry spied a tree with fruit on it.
He climbed up to pick us some oranges! Then we drove back toward Jocotepec. They have a long stretch of restaurants right on the lake that looked inviting. It was nearly 5 pm so we decided to grab some dinner on the way back. We stopped at the place that had an old Ford truck outside. Looked like our kinda place. It seems that it also attracted other classic trucks too. The place was nearly empty. They could probably seat 200 guests but we only saw about 10. We had a table right on the water and by a wooden dock.
We saw a few folks walk out on it. Lots of birds were here too. Our dinner was very good but a little high for Mexico….maybe $20 for two entrees and 3 beers. I had ceviche and Larry got a teriyaki vegetable with rice dish. We shared because he looked so good! They also added large shrimp to his meal...so yummy! We got to see the sunset on the Lake. It’s a different view than from our campground. We enjoyed this day immensely. We are planning more bike riding in this area.
Robin, our next-door neighbor, had a birthday on Thursday. We weren’t sure if he wanted to do anything so we offered to take him out to dinner. He said he was going to order Pizza and make some salsa and just hang out at his trailer. He invited many of the other campers. Some Larry and I had already met, like Max and Debbie. A few folks that we met at the get-together. He even invited a few locals that are Mexican and live at the park. We had a very nice group. We enjoyed chatting with Carol and Marvin. They are seasoned travelers but this is their first time driving in Mexico. They are from Virginia and their son has been in Mexico for 3 years. Now they are traveling here together. Jona lives directly behind us. She and her boyfriend have 2 trailers. One big and one small. They are both Americans but live here in Mexico more than in the states. Jona brought over her hula hoops and performed while Robin played his guitar! Live entertainment. It was just a lovely evening. It ended by our 9 pm bedtime too! Perfect!
I started setting my alarm 30 minutes earlier each day to start getting up sooner. We were planning on hiking to the cross again and I feel like leaving early before it gets too warm. I was able to take my own picture of the orange sunrise on the lake by Friday!
I did my usual walk and talk with folks. I average 2 miles and then I do some ab exercises. I also stretch a bunch too. It’s easy to get lazy in paradise with the pools and laid back lifestyle. I want to keep up on my exercise so we can do bigger and harder hikes. This afternoon, we decided to ride our bikes into Jocotepec. There is a narrow road into town right outside our gate. It’s not on the map though. It’s a combination of cobblestones and dirt and potholes! It was a bumpy mile into town and then we parked at the Centro. We walked around to see the church.
I think it was closed as we never found an open door. We walked some more and found the Cultural Center. It had beautiful murals on the outside walls. When we walked in, we were greeted by Chile de Joco.
He is an artist and works at the Cultura Jocotepec. He spoke good English and told us they were changing out the displays but we could look around. He also took us in the gift shop where everything displayed was made right in the town of Jocotepec. He asked us if we wanted to try some wine….Yes! He gave us generous samples of raspberry wine, blackberry wine, and cranberry wine. We decided to buy a small bottle of raspberry wine. It was only 100 pesos ($5 US). He told us the art that was hanging was from the oldest and most famous artist in Jocotepec. It was very interesting and so was Chile. He told us where we could look to see some of his murals. We had ridden our bikes past one of them on the way into town!
Saturday was a pool day. I swam 10 lengths in the cold pool. I realized how long it has been since I swam laps….I will need to practice more. 10 was a good start. Since it was Saturday, many Mexican families were here on weekend vacations. The pool was fuller than ever. Maybe 15 folks in and out. They were swimming and playing. It was great to watch. Larry and I tried out our new floaties and they were spectacular. I can turn over without getting wet! The ice cream truck came around and we watched the parents buying treats for their kids. A few kids didn’t get out of the pool but enjoyed their treats at the edge. I saw one teenage boy jumping in the pool with his Slipknot t-shirt on!! I wanted to ask him if he listened to Slipknot but I didn't have my phone to translate. Now I will never know.
Sunday we got up early to hike the long way to the cross. The long way is the way we came down the first time and is much less steep. We had to drive 2 cars because Robin, Max and Deb were all going. We eventually started hiking at about 9:20. Somehow we missed the turnoff to the trail and walked down the road too far. We took several small trials that looked hopeful but ended up nowhere. We hiked around lost for over 2 hours and decided to head back to the cars. Larry was pretty sure he found the right trail up but it was nearly 11:30 and too late to start up the hill. I was sad because we had not found the right trail and that both Robin and Deb had fallen. Deb had 3 wounds that were bleeding….for nothing!
Larry and I hung out at the warm pool in the afternoon. We met a young man in the pool that spoke good English. His name was David. He and his girlfriend Jessica and their 9-month-old son Vladimir were staying in a casita for the weekend. They were from Guadalajara. He was super friendly but his girlfriend spoke no English. She didn’t understand any either. He wanted to stop by and see our trailer. We said we would have a beer if they came by. It was almost 8 pm when they came so we had almost given up that they were coming. They started for an hour but it was too late for me to have a beer. I was drinking my tea already. We chatted more with David and Jessica just smiled and giggled. Soon they needed to check on Vladimir so we said we’d see them before they left the next day.
We had such a great week exploring the area, the towns nearby, and meeting so many new and friendly folks. We are feeling like we are part of this community. It's very comfortable and easy here. The weather is almost perfect and we are finding lots to do. We are making fun plans for next week and I can’t wait!