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Zoomania, goodbyes, and more critters - Week Seven 3/6 - 3/14

Updated: May 21, 2021

Our weeks here at Roca Azul and Lake Chapala are winding to an end. We are trying to make sure we make each day count. We still enjoy our time here at the resort and visiting with our new camping friends. Our days are mixed with the usual things like pool time, walking, bird watching, baseball, laundry and shopping. We did have a few adventures off the resort this week that were interesting and fun!

We drove into Guadalajara with our friend Tino to see the zoo. It was about one and one half hour drive and with only a little traffic going around the city to get to the zoo. We found the Zoo easily and that was nice. We stopped at a cute coffee shop named Pajaretto outside the zoo for a snack before going in. They don’t allow you to bring your own stuff in and generally the food is expensive and not all that good. The coffee shop looked like a nicer Starbucks and they had fabulous restrooms with toilet seats, toilet paper and paper towels! What a great bathroom experience, they are hard to find here in Mexico or anywhere during these times of Covid19.

At the zoo, they had three price levels. One just to enter the zoo which was about $5. The first upgrade would give you a ride on the train for a few bucks more. The second upgrade would include a safari and a tram ride much like a ski lift over the whole park. We got the expensive tickets for under $17 each. Seemed like a great deal for a whole day of fun. I was very impressed with this zoo. I’ve been to a few different zoo's like the San Francisco Zoo and the San Diego Zoo. The Guadalajara Zoo is a whole lot bigger than I expected it to be. It was lush with green tropical plants and flowers. It was a very warm day, almost 90 degrees but the park was shaded for the most part. It was very comfortable. We did tons of walking, over 5 miles that day! When we took the ski lift tram, we realized that we had only walked about half of the zoo so far.

They have a great reptile collection with venomous snakes for all over the world. I was very excited about this exhibit. They have a few places where they have crocodillos too. The safari was Tino’s favorite. We had to wait in a small line for about 20 minutes to get on the jeep. They were running it at 50% capacity because of the Covid19 pandemic. The tour was all in spanish so I don’t know the names of all the animals but I recognized the zebras, giraffes, rinos and ostriches. We even saw a few iguanas running around. Not out of cages but just living their lives there. LOL

The train ride gave us a small sample of where the animals were but it was pretty short. I still liked it though. We spent a lot of time in the aquarium and the penguin exhibit. It was a nice cool break on such a hot day. We did buy a snack and some water in the afternoon as our coffee shop snack had been used up by all the walking. Larry and I got some yummy salty popcorn. Tino and Larry also had ice cream sandwiches. So much for not eating junk food guys! We ended our day with the ski lift tram ride across the park. We were able to get a few more pictures of some of the animals that we missed on our walk. It’s a very big zoo. I would highly recommend it.

We made it back Club Roca Azul our temporary home right about dinner time. We were able to go hang out with Carol and Marvin, who are leaving in the morning. I wasn’t sure if I would be up in time to see them off in the morning, so it was important for us to make it back from the zoo in time to have dinner with them. Carol’s kids John and Stephanie were there when we arrived too. Robin was there of course. Deb was there with her dogs Max and Buddy. Max isn’t doing so well walking and Deb got a doggy assist (doggy wheels) to help him. Amazon is great. They even ship to Mexico! We had everyone but Max. They ordered pizzas and we talked about where they were heading next. Lo De Marcos, which is on the Pacific Ocean just Northwest of Puerto Vallarta.

That’s great. We will be heading that way in a few weeks and we are planning on meeting up with them when we arrive. Unfortunately, they took the cornhole set with them! We all enjoyed playing that game and we may need to invest in one ourselves or have my talented husband make us one.

I was able to get out of bed in the morning to see Carol, Marvin and the kids off on their next adventure. They are heading out to Lo de Marcos which is almost a four hour drive to the Pacific Ocean. They have a very large 40 foot motorhome and tow their jeep behind it. So its about a total of 60 feet. It is so big! Marvin is the driver and Carol is the navigator. Same as Larry and I in Mexico. I really don’t drive much down here in Mexico but I do my share of driving in the States and in Canada.

We had a lazy rest of the day. We walked to the lighthouse and Gypsy followed us down there. She was very accommodating for an impromptu photoshoot. Lots of cat pics!

We met Jose at the pool but I didn’t swim with him. We supported him. He did 80 laps. That made me tired just watching it. Some newer campers, Josh and Jody stopped by our table and chatted for a while. They have been here just over a week. They had come from Boca Beach so we asked them about the park. They are heading to Belize and hopefully they will be able to drive. They have a huge motorhome with scooters and bikes on the back. This is their first time driving in Mexico. We shared what we know...which isn’t all that much!

Larry got to practice with the baseball team and Robin, J.J. and I cheered him on. Larry has such a great time. They seem to have filled up the roster because they haven’t asked him to play again in Guadalajara. Maybe we still have a chance with 2 sundays left before we leave.

We went into Ajijic for bird watching again. We went to the road that the Lake Chapala birders showed us. We had a great hike and went up the canyon further but saw less birds. We didn’t see anything new. We didn’t see the Mot Mot but a few squirrel cuckoos. We went to lunch in el centro at The Spot. Lunch was good and we had a few beers. We watched the people in the centro. There are lots of Expats in Ajijic. Lots of English speaking folks. We chatted briefly with some ladies at the next table.

One of the campers at Roca Azul told me where she gets her hair done in Ajijic. I had an appointment at Angies at 2:00 pm. They did an amazing job on highlighting my hair. It only cost me 600 Pesos ($30 US). I was so very happy. I’m not sure why I waited so long! When we got back, it was time to shower and get ready to go out to dinner.

We had made plans to take Robin and Deb with us to El Rincon de Frida. They have live music on friday nights and we asked Tino to meet us there too. I told Jose to bring Luis if he got off of work early enough. Everyone showed up but Luis. He had a late dentist appointment. We haven’t gotten to meet Jose’s boyfriend yet….it might happen before we go. The guitar player played mostly classic romantic mexican music and Tino sang along to all of the songs. It was adorable! Dinner was great! I had one of their amazing salads and 3 glasses of Cabernet Sauvignon. Deb too. It helps her wounded ankle….. She’s walking much better this week but is still very bruised. As we drove into the park, we noticed a fire just outside the gates. I walked over to it and it looked like a wildfire with no fire trucks there yet. The flames were up to about to the power lines and I wondered if anyone would come. When we got into the park, the night watchman was on it. Shortly after the fire truck's came but did nothing but make sure it was contained. No water hoses. It’s much different here in Mexico.

The next morning the fire was still smoldering and flaring up. The fireman just watched it. Larry and I walked around the park to see how bad it was and watched it start up again. It was just very interesting how they watched the fires. That’s it. I never saw one fire hose.

After a few days of smelling the smoldering fire, we decided to drive around the south end of the lake. I wanted to get some fresher air. We thought we might drive to Mazamilta in the mountains again because it’s a lovely drive. Well, we found enough interesting places to stop along the lake that we just did that drive. We went into several small villages along the highway 15.

We stopped at the cemetery just before San Luis Soyatian. We drove into inviting villages to see churches and malecons. We searched around for the crocodillos after we saw the warning signs but didn’t find any. In Tizapan De Alto, Larry found the centro with their church. It was locked up so I was taking pictures through the gate when a gentleman asked if I wanted to see the church.

He led me to the side gate and unlocked the church for us. It looked like it was being renovated. The grounds were beautiful and inside the church was spectacular. Larry climbed up the stairs to the clock and bell tower. He didn’t ring it though….we didn’t want to make our new friend mad. He seemed quite proud of his church. It was a real treat.

We had lunch at El Mirador in Mismaloya The restaurant was right off of the highway and had a great view of the lake. I had ceviche de camarones and Larry had hamburguesa con papas. Afterwards, we went down through the small village which probably never sees tourists. We watched the locals on the beach. It looks like it’s just a fishing village and the birds know this. Thousands of birds everywhere. We had one very interesting local come up and speak only spanish to us. He was super friendly and perhaps a bit drunk….he had a beer in hand. I thought he was going to hug Larry but just shook his hand. I was cautious and didn’t shake. I hate that I have to be that way. When we got to the truck I had Larry wipe his hands with disinfecting wipes. Crazy world and crazy times.

We saw more wildfires on the side of the road along the way to our turning around point. We needed to be back by 4pm for Robin’s going away party. We had pizza being delivered at the gate at 4pm. I think I’m just about over the pizza thing here. LOL We’ve had it at least 4 times in 2 months. We turned around in the village of Petatan which is on a point of land on the lake. We drove around and it was a very happening town this sunday afternoon. Pretty hard to drive and almost impossible to park close to the colorful sign of the town. I got a driveby pic. We stopped on the way out, to climb up a bunch of stairs to the church on the hill. I was disappointed that there was no view up there. Oh well. Then Larry had to drive like a crazy Mexican to get us home in time for the pizza.

We had the usual group, Robin, Deb, Max, Larry and I minus Carol and Marvin. Our campers are all leaving us behind! Pizza was pretty good. We ordered it from Rustik Pizza instead of Gil’s pizza this time. We had a few drinks and then Robin wanted to play his new song for us. He’s such a great guy and a very talented musician. He reminded me that a few nights ago, I had told him to make a list of my faults. We were joking about something. He said he woke up in the middle of the night with the inspiration to write a song about me!! I was shocked and flattered.

Then he sang the song, Mariposa Mauler. OMG!!! It wasn’t flattering at all but it Was freakin hilarious!

He says now I’m immortalized in a song. Well then….give me half your royalties Robin!

We had a great time by the fire on Robin’s last night here on Lake Chapala. He’s heading back to Tennessee tomorrow!

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