So what is it about Housesitting that we love? We get doggie time… and a load of other benefits of living in a house away from home…
And so we went to Ajijic (pronounced Ah he heek).
Ajijic is an expat community on the shores of Lake Chapala. There is a large population of ‘full timers’ and and equally large population of snowbirds. (those that chase the summer weather from the US and Canada) We heard a lot of English spoken and that felt strange, we weren’t supposed to understand what people were saying! The menus were English, the waiters mostly spoke English, and there was white haired Caucasians were everywhere!
There is quite an American influence evident and huge American cars squeeze through the narrow cobbled streets along with the horses still riden by the local Mexican population. This is also where the wealthy from Guadalajara have their weekend homes! Yep there are some pretty special pads here.
Although we’re here for the mexican culture the western influence suited us pretty well for this leg of our journey as we managed to get a tooth job from a great dentist each for around $45 each, a nice pedicure, (des got one too!) haircuts and for me my regular blood test. All in all we’re both very healthy and I think it’s due to the ‘clean food’ without fertilizers and hormones! Speaking of clean food – the tomatoes, carrots, eggs and chicken have a really flavorsome taste here, way better than N Z.
Our reason for going to Lake Chapala was to be housemates to Rosie – a 4 year old part Rhodesian Ridgeback and Lucas a 16 yr old Cockapoo.
They kept us company in Ajijic while their parents jetted off to Europe. Rosie and Lucas live in a gated community with 2 parks including a swimming pool. It was a very pleasant and relaxing time taking care of them. We had a spacious and charming casita in a secluded community with gracious gardens and brightly colored flowers. It was the perfect setting for getting some work done in between playing with our housemates.
Now let me tell you about these two ragamuffins who live in Ajijic. Lucas is a sweet, stubborn and very strong old man. He is almost totally blind and deaf and will get his own way most of the time! He would try to get out of his walks or taking his meds … ah but Des and Jo are on hand so he can’t get away with that. At night he likes to perch himself amongst the cushions or on the duvet with us. He was very cute!
Rosie on the other hand is relaxed and independent until she knows it’s walk time… then she leaps around like an excited pup.
It didn’t take very long for us to grow very fond of these 2 kids!
Besides the peacefulness of living in Ajijijc and Lake Chapala, the wild aquatic birds, local fishermen and amazing weather all contribute to the magic of the area.
If you find yourself in Ajijic start your visit at the plaza, visit the church and continue through Colon street until you meet with the boardwalk, (known as the malecon) stroll at sunset is the best to view the multicolor rainbow change and the reflection on the lake is amazing.
And of course like all mexican towns and cities there is an amazing cathedral, lake Chapala is no exception.
Food is pretty good in Ajijic, there are loads of restaurants dotted along the cobbled streets. Looking for a different flavour to Mexican, we tried Simply Thai but it was not more Thai than fly to the moon. Mexican Thai maybe. We practiced some more tacos at Lago Taco which were pretty good.
La Nueva Posada right on the lake edge served a beautiful salmon (the first since leaving N Z!). Then we went to Tango the top restaurant on Trip Adviser, which turned out to be pretty much a gringo restaurant. I have to say we were a little disappointed – my fillet mignon was served dead plain – no mushrooms, no bacon and no sauce – this must be Mexican Fillet Mignon? The service was great but that is as far as it went.
We are mostly chilling out on beer these warm days, and you know, every time you order a beer out comes some salsa and crackers or some other tasty snacks – complimentary! Remembering that beers are generally only around 25 pesos – about $2, so it’s a pretty good deal I say!
Lake Chapala or Lakeside as it is often called is a funny sort of place, there aren’t any water sports on the lake, there’s no crowds and life is pretty quiet.
We loved our time there with our doggie companions, although I wouldn’t say it’s a must see travelers destination.
You’ll either love or hate it.