Archive | November, 2012

Contrasts, Colours and Textures

18 Nov

Lake Winnipeg

Some of the things I like about travelling the world are the contrasts with life back home. They can be purely visual( and I am a visual person) or can have an impact on the other senses. Sometimes they are purely internal, something indefinable that affects the mood, the emotions. Mexico does that to me as do Italy, France or England. A key place from long ago is Japan. But these would be thoughts for later blogs.

Lake Chapala Sunset, Ajijic

Mexico is a land of colour. This time of year the place is a full spectrum while back home the landscape has become monochromatic. One place is like  an Impressionist painting, another a pencil sketch. I think I tend to the colour, although the latter has its place to ease the mind. The two pictures attached typify this contrast for me. The horse rider, by the way, was purely and accident of timing, not cliché-driven. Still the colour is intriguing. Darkness falls so quickly soon after sunset, not like the lingering twilight of Manitoba.

The only problem with so much colour is that I have to watch it does not become cliché. I have to watch that if I take a thousand pictures, nine hundred and ninety-nine of them are not sunsets. Confession time: I do not do sunrises. Just not a sunrise person. In Gimli in the summer the sky is light by 4:00 am; sunset not till after 10:30 pm. Winter is a bit different. But still,  I’m not a sunrise person. By contrast it becomes dark almost every night in Mexico between 6:00 and 7:00 pm, except for daylight saving time, summer and winter.

I am not going to get into the biggest cliché of all, the temperature differences. The pictures say it all.

A Driveway, Ajijic

Another contrast I found interesting is the texture of things.  So let’s look at driveways, roads and sidewalks. “Quaint cobblestone streets” in Mexico is code for turned, twisted or sprained ankle for the unwary gawker. We walk a lot while down here since just about everything is within walking distance. So, while scanning the colour and sites around, you have to keep at least one eye on the ground. Elevations can change suddenly and dramatically. Scanning becomes second nature very quickly. Good walking shoes or sandals are a must. These are village roads where a low slung car is asking for trouble. On the other hand Manitoba roads can be competitive, especially during pot-hole time in Winnipeg. That said, we are out walking every day and loving it, and strengthening those ankle muscles, joints and tendons.

Getting Past the November Blahs

7 Nov

T-Shirts, Shorts and Sandals Time

This post is less about country or rural  life than it is about occasionally getting to sunnier climes. We decided to get away from the dreary and incessant drizzle and cloud, the grey and the cold, the monotone black grey and brown,  to go to sun and warmth and colour for a while. So we packed our bags, turned off the water pump,set the house alarm, arranged for security, and headed off to Mexico. Yes, I know you might be thinking, “but what about the country living?” Well, it is country, just another country, and the warmth and the colour and, and, and…

Enough with the rationalizations, we are here and enjoying it  for a while: 45 sunscreen, T-shirts and shorts, sandals.  Here we are in Ajijic, Mexico, so you will see a few posts from here. We have been to Mexico many times before. In 2010 we took our RAV4 and drove around the country for three months. More about that trip in another post.

Day of the Dead Street Decorations, Ajijic

We had not gone to Guadalajara or Lake Chapala though. So it was time for a visit. We found an inexpensive casita in Ajijic and arrived just before Dia de los Muertos. Halloween is not a big deal here but celebrating and honouring the dearly departed is quite the tradition. Families set up altars and laid out designs in the street in coloured sawdust and stones. They were quite the production. I say “were” because they exist only for a day and then are removed or taken down. It was amazing to see the family togetherness in these one-day projects. Family members came home from everywhere to be part of the celebrations. In facing death there was laughter and togetherness. It makes one appreciate life and family a lot more.

Street Designs, Downtown Ajijic

I enjoy coming to Mexico for the purely sensual experience of sun and colour: sky, houses, flowers, palm trees.There is no need to hibernate here. In fact, hibernation is totally the wrong strategy. The vitality and friendliness of the people here are infectious. One can also see it in the expat community here. Their community is quite extensive and involved in the local community. Ajijic is definitely a place to live in and not just visit.

Over the next while we will be exploring the Lake Chapala area and visiting Guadalajara. Stay tuned for pics and details.