Saturday, March 31, 2012


Petatan is a small town located on the south shore of Lake Chapala.  It is an hour and a half drive from the Lakeside area.  Every year, for the last 30 years, American White Pelicans winter here.  They fly 2,500 miles from habitats in central Canada.  There are thousands and thousands of these snow birds.
Debbi at one of the smallest Malecons you will ever see.   
The El Pescador doesn't look like much, but it's great for viewing the Pelicans. 
The fish are cleaned and prepared for Mercado Del Mar in Guadalajara.  The leftovers are fed to the Pelicans.
The feedings are very orderly.  No fighting.  Everyone gets something to eat. 
Coming in with the days catch. 
Most of the fish are 6-8 inches long.   
A tranquil setting in Petatan. 
These Pelicans have a 3-4 foot wingspan.  They slap a lot of water before they  become airborne.  
On Sundays, you will not see any birds in Petatan.  That is the one day a week that there are no workers cleaning fish.   The Pelicans must have an internal clock that tells them not to come. 
J. C. and Debbi walking on the one street in the small village of Petatan.

Monday, March 26, 2012

The Brick maker

Our next door neighbor is a brick maker.  He and his helpers work long hours  six days a week.  He told me they make about 15,000 bricks per month.  He sells them for 1 and 1/2 pesos each.  That equals $1,730 U. S.per month.  Then, he needs to pay for labor, material and all other overhead.  He probably nets $500 per month.  You can see he works very hard for his money.
The soil used for the bricks is all hand mixed.
Those are wood forms by his left leg.  He dumps the material in, smooths it, then lifts the form.
Needs to dry in the sun for several days as part of the curing process.
 Constructing the kiln.
Almost done.  The openings at the bottom provide spaces to add wood as needed to complete the firing of the bricks.
This is the owner.  He tells me they need to be careful when handling the bricks because there are lots of Scorpions!
The total time needed for firing the brick is about a week.
This looks like the smoke is forming the clouds.
The finished bricks are used to construct an entryway at a house down the road from us.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Plaza de Toros San Nicolas

The Plaza De Toros in Pueblos and small towns are not used for bullfighting any more.  They are generally used for bull riding, rodeos and music concerts.  Some of these events are free, other times you will pay 10 to 15 dollars U. S. per ticket.  The Plaza is about 100 yards from our house, so we hear the concerts for free.
Outside the Plaza de Toros.
Waiting for the bull and rider to be released from the green chute.
Rider is jumping onto the bull.
No helmets or flak jackets.  These guys are the real deal.
Yee Hah
Ready to dismount.
They treat the bull with careful consideration and respect.  And the best thing is he will live to ride another day.
This is not a Mariachi band.  This is the typical band that played at the Sunday concerts.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Plaza de Toros Guadalajara

My friends Joe, J.C. and I went to the bullfights in Guadalajara on Sunday.  I truly had no clue what I was about to see.  There would be six bulls and three Matadors.  A Mariachi band entertained outside the Plaza de Toros.  Tables were outside the arena so you could eat and drink to your hearts' content.  Admission was 28 dollars each, which I thought was kind of pricey.  If you wanted to sit very high and in the sun, you could buy tickets for about 16 dollars.

The bullfights lasted 20-30 minutes each.  I am not going to describe what happens at each stage of the "fight".  I will say that from start to finish, it is sheer torture for the bull.  The bull has absolutely no chance of coming out on top of this "fight".  Some people tell me it's part of Mexicos' culture.  In response to that I say slavery was part of the United States culture!  So was burning witches at the stake!  I do have pictures that follow, however none show the killing of the bull.
Joe and J. C.
Mariachis' entertaining outside the Plaza De Toros.

The sunny side of the Plaza is pretty well deserted.
I like the horse pads.  Keeps them from getting gored.  They need to protect the bull in the same way!
The seats are very narrow and made of concrete.  Buy a pad for $1.50.
I have no idea why there are two circular chalk lines.
Shade seat sections were more crowded than the sun sections. 
We think the reason for the light crowd was the burning of 25 cars and buses 2 days earlier in downtown Guadalajara.  Luckily, the perps allow people to get out before they set the vehicles on fire.
When the crowd thinks the Matador has done a good job, they throw their hats into the arena.  This gentleman (in the white T shirt on the right photo with his hand on the rail) started out dressed in a suit.  I think he was a little tanked.  He ended up in his underwear.
I wanted to end this blog on a light note.We have fostered 9 Pit Bull puppies for 6 weeks.  These are the last two.  Lukas, the one on the left is going to our neighbor Tori, the runt still needs a home.  We found the other 7 really good families.  We are definitely going to miss these guys.  We have learned that, by nature, Pit Bulls are not bad dogs.  Some people transform them into vicious animals.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Hiking the local trails

Last week we hiked the Vista Del Lago trail.  Translated, this means "view of the lake".  This hike was not in the book so we named it ourselves. The trailhead is 1 mile from our house.  A steep climb for the first mile leads to wide open grasslands that reminds you of being on  safari in Africa.  We continued to hike for six miles in a loop that ended at our front door three hours later.
Debbi and J.C. at the trailhead
Lots of loose rock in this dry streambed that doubles as the trail.
When the rains come in several months, this could turn into a river.
This guy lives at the top of the trail.  I don't know how he maneuvers his wheelbarrow one mile down the trail with all the rocks and boulders.  The Mexicans are very resourceful and persistant.  He is taking three bags of compost to sell in San Nicolas.
The trail is very narrow when you get to the top of the hill.  There are outstanding views Lake Chapala.
Found some shade under these trees to enjoy our lunch.  Diablo's having a good time.
This man had 20 goats grazing nearby.  Notice the rock walls.  These contain the livestock.
When the rains come in several months, this will look like a jungle.
Steep and rocky.  Diablo loves to go on these hikes!
We had to bushwhack for one mile to get to the main trail that led us back to our house.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Specialty stores

There are many small specialty stores in the Lakeside area.  The ones that I'm featuring today happen to be in Chapala.  But the other Lakeside communities have them also.
Ferreteria  is a Hardware store.
Inside you will find everything from garden tools to nuts and bolts.
Caseta Telefonica means telephone booths.  When my computer goes down and I have no Majic Jack, this is what I use to call family and friends.
They charge 4 pesos per minute to call San Diego, California.  That is 32 cents per minute.
These Pharmacy stores dot the main street in Chapala.
You can get prescriptions filled here or buy over the counter.
This sign says Veterinarian, but it really is a pet supply store.    
Easter bunnies for sale in the cages.
I love the color on this office supply store.
They sell notebooks, pens, pencils and sometimes greeting cards @ 75 cents each.