Home Tomorrow

Everette and Mitchell return to Canada several times a year to keep our specialty detail cleaning business alive and well, and taking care of our major  bills.

British Columbia doesn’t claim ‘Beautiful’ on our license plates for no reason!  Besides the beauty of the forests, Coastal Mountains and the Pacific coast, we have pretty cities, too.  The below pics are of Victoria’s harbour from where Everette and Mitchell embark on the Black Ball Ferry to traverse to Port Angeles, WA to take the leisurely drive down the Olympic Peninsula.

Collage Victoria harbour

In the bottom left photo (above)is the Parliament buildings with the copper (green) roofline.  In the bottom right photo you see the famous Empress Hotel which Everette treated me to a weekend there back in about 2003 when we attended a marriage conference.  Great memories.

Now Everette and Mitchell get the biggest treat of all….a visit at our daughter’s place in Portland, OR where they get to snuggle with our 2 granddaughters…and do yard and house work with those that they love!

Call me Jealous!!

Collage GardenBut at least the men arrive home tomorrow.  Just one more sleep, and I can live with that.  Just wish he could squeeze the 4 Burkes in his suitcase!


Fire Fighters Equipment $3M Worth!

3 MILLION Canadian dollars worth of fire fighting gear arrived here at Ajijic-Chapala from the far north.  Organized by firefighters from afar: collected, organized, packaged and shipped.  Received here at Hotel Perico where organizations like The Royal Canadian Legion, The Red Cross & Lake Chapala Shrine Club came to divi it up, to deliver to communities around the lake who need basic equipment like this.Collage Clothes

There are basics missing from each of the local fire departments situated around the lake.  Without appropriate jackets, helmets, even fire hoses and jaws-of-life, men and women commit to helping and protecting their community.  They hop in pick-up trucks armed with fire extinguishers if that’s all they have.

The department might own old fire trucks but engines don’t work or water pumps are out-of-order.  Total disarray in some situations, but the commitment to serve is there.

Fire fighters and Paramedics will be thrilled to have some of this equipment at their stations.  Gas masks/tanks, footwear, insulated pants, jackets, suspenders, even sleeping bags (donated by Coleman).  All of it precious to those who have done without, who make-do.  Canada’s cast-offs put to good use.

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Supplies have just arrived, but more will be needed in the future.  Maybe you could help?

We met several of the great men (& women) who came to organize & distribute this equipment, and there’s no way I can remember all the stories and organizations we heard about.  But I know John Kelly (left in pic,president of The Royal Canadian Legion Branch #1) could put you in touch with the powers-that-be who help make this sort of thing happen.  If you think you or someone you know could help in a similar manner those around the Lake who are in service to others by donating equipment that is past its use north of the border why not contact John rclchapala@gmail.com or jkelly203@gmail.com

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Did You Call Me Goat-head?

Upon our arrival back at Ajijic after 6 months (back to Canada) we got bad news.  A few of our friends had passed away in our absence.  I guess that’s not totally unexpected in a community full of retired and aging expats.

But Fred in particular shocked me.  A ‘foodie’ and restaurant-owner from New Orleans supposedly sat at a friends dinner table with beer in hand and cigarette between lips and….just didn’t respond when spoken to.  When tapped to get his attention, he fell off his chair.  He had just died sitting in place, without a gasp, a pain, a nothin’.  I want to go that way.  Well, not with the beer and smoke, but suddenly and without apparent pain (& with belly content!).

Anyways, I was glad one of my last conversations with Fred had been about places to eat he would recommend.  I wish I had asked for more because he had been spot on with our 28th Wedding Anniversary dinner last year.  And he recommended a great spot when I asked specifically where to get goat meat.

So in memory of Fred we (Everette, Toveli and I….after our long drive along the lake) went to check out the El Chololo for birria.  Succulent goat to gorge on.

Collage Birria

In retrospect, I think I ate some intestine, maybe some liver, but the meal was delicious and I’d definitely recommend it.  We’ll be eating here again sometime, probably on some trip to the airport since it isn’t far from there.  If you time it right, we’ll pick you up at the Guadalajara airport and stop by El Chololo where the parking lot is always full because the goat is that tasty!

When were you coming?



Driving the Lake

We went on an excursion (Everette, Toveli and I) intending on viewing a house that a friend at Hotel Perico saw online.  We knew it would be accessible if we went north and caught the highway that would lead east to Morelia, but instead we decided to take The Scenic Route!

It’s important to not have time restrictions when one chooses to make such a decision.


The view was great at times.  This, looking back from whence we came, was possibly the active volcano (hidden behind the cold volcano) near Colima puffing ash, forming this odd grey cloud that continued to grow from one source.

The ‘short cut’ was NO short cut but certainly an adventure….one of those “I survived ________ and lived to tell about it!” adventures.  Truth be told, I would do it again but next time in a Jeep.

Everette had slowed down to peek at the view when we suddenly heard a quick soft Peep! behind us…. a bus full of people heading to only-god-knows-where.  And when the road turned terribly bad, like a dried up river bed but with jagged stones Everette said, “I doubt the bus came this way!” but I doubted that very statement.  We’ve run into buses in the most unlikely places before.  They are tough machines down here!  A bus ride in Latin America is NOT for the faint-of-heart!

The following video gives you a taste of what the road was like, but unfortunately I missed the worst of it.  Think I was holding on instead of filming!!

So we got stuck behind a truck picking up crates of fruit (chayote) along the side of the road, and there was no possibility of passing him so we waited.  Everette conversed with the driver while all his ‘boys’ did the grunt work.

We bumped along the lakeside for about 2hrs total before we found a road up and over the hills.  This is the view as we left the lakeside, entered a sparse pine forest (looked like Ponderosas!!) atop the hills and was met by lovely agricultural land (and an intimidating bull) as we dropped down towards the highway a couple kilometres east of Poncitlán.

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All told, it was a great day along Lake Chapala.  Just not what we had originally expected.  Best thing to do is….go with the punches & embrace the moments.

Guadalajara: Second Half

As I mentioned earlier, we took a day-trip into Guadalajara with our friends, Dee and Gerry.

More wandering the streets, cathedrals and squares after lunch.  I can’t keep them straight, so I don’t even remember what this cathedral was called.  But we enjoyed the architecture inside and out.  We scouted around, and when Everette went looking to find stairs to what might (not) be an operating balustrade he discovered instead some burial memorabilia underneath the main platform.

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Beatriz Hernandez is commemorated here as the person who chose the location for the city’s founding.  The bronze sculptures are done by Rafael Zamarripa.

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The statue on the bottom right (above) is a 4m bronze of Miguel Hidalgo, who on Dec 6, 1810 decreed the abolition of slavery.  He’s holding a broken chain to represent that victory.

It’s amazing to see all the fancy dress stores.  Low-priced flounces galore, Everette thinks we could just use a bunch of green poofy dresses to make a ‘garden’ look green and not worry about watering!  Or possibly use them as shade from the sun?!!

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We were looking for a place for some cold drinks as we headed in the direction of the bus station but never did find something to satisfy the four of us, so we hopped on the 5pm express bus to Chapala ($50MX/person) where we decided to eek out more parent-time-away to check out a restaurant we’ve been eyeing since our daughter Layne was visiting us.

We climbed the four levels from the street up ‘n out of the way onto the top patio where we sat under huge palm trees beside the water fountain.  We ordered our cold drinks, the others ordered meals;  I just wanted to quench my thirst, so when Everette didn’t like the Vampirito he ordered I volunteered to finish it along with my Pina Colada so he could get a cerveza.  I could have drank 2 more I was so thirsty, but might have struggled a little with the stairs back down to street level.

It was quite perfect just the way it was.Collage dinner drinks

Our day with Dee and Gerry was an absolute delight.  Memories to treasure.

Too many pictures to share even in these two posts.  Gotta hit Guad again!!



Happy Pi(e) Day

When we remember to, our family celebrates Pi Day each year.

What is Pi Day, you ask?  Its the date 3-14 (mo/day) the first 3 digits of π (rounded).  But this year it was special since it is 3-14-15… that won’t happen again for a hundred years!

No mathematicians live at our house but certainly eager pie-eaters!!  This year we had Jerry and Dee along with my sister Joanne and her hubby Kevin here to help us celebrate so there were pies galore!!

Who invented π?

How to Celebrate

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Guadalajara: Touristas

While Tina took some of our youngsters to the waterpark Tobolandia, Everette and I did the whole tourist thing….the bus, the “Peace” photo sessions, the sampling & indulgence of ethnic foods, tired feet and sweaty bodies, markets and more markets, mariachi bands blaring, searching for cold cerveza.  Art, cathedrals, street performers, seedy streets and moments of confusion.

Wonderful day with great company (other Canadians, to boot!)

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Reminiscent of London, UK and Victoria, BC there were both double-decker red buses and horse-drawn carriages for hire for sightseeing.  But here there are statues peeing!  I don’t recall those in London or Victoria but I might be wrong ;)

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As is common in all Latin America there are large squares with churches or cathedrals facing onto them.  Guadalajara has numerous squares of which we strolled several and poked our heads in a few of the churches.  This one is San Juan de Dios (y La Santa Cruz), built in 1551 as a chapel dedicated to the Holy Cross but also operated as a hospital.  It was built in the Baroque style, completed around 1750.  The hospital was later removed to accommodate the growth of the city.

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Everette spotted this Tequila Tour Bus but we just continued to wander on our weary legs!

We wandered through outdoor and indoor markets such as Mercado San Juan de Dios and Mercado Libertad, peeking at jewelry, passing on “For you, Amigo, good deal today.  Just for YOU!!”  We investigated various food options and some scouted out steamed coffee.  We passed by goat (skulls) lookin’ at us, and octopus curled up, and all sorts of other seafood.  We watched women stirring hot soups or stews, flipping meats and flat breads in vats of boiling oils.  Overwhelmed by the eager vendors trying to convince us to be their patrons, we finally plopped ourselves down at a very busy counter with a great view of the kitchen.  We eeny-meenie-minie-moe’d the menu and picked 2 meals for Everette and I while Gerry and Dee sought out ceviche and other things then returned to join us.

The burritos where stuffed & rolled on the other side of the workstation from us, then the final embellishments of ham, bacon and cheese were added right in front of where we sat and slid into the oven.  And when I ate my Burrito Especial, I sweat up a storm from the spices of the food and the heat from that oven.  But my, was lunch delicious….and filling!!

Everette’s meal was….I don’t know what it was called :) but he wrapped fresh tortillas around ground (beef?) and beans with green onions, cilantro and guacamole.  Collage lunch

Dee treated us to helado (ice cream) bars for dessert.  See Everette’s Oreo: a version of Cookies n Cream.  And mine was like a bowl of strawberries locked in a wall of frozen whipping cream.  Delicious!!

We spotted several windows up high with little girls in costumes, giggling, waving, running away.  Later we saw them near the plaza where they were having their pictures taken with family and friends while the opera man sang and both Ironman and the Smurfs posed for more pictures.

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We popped into a music store to buy a harmonica for Anders. We were surprised to find mandolins (Everette used to play) were about $45 and up, and guitars (half & full-sized) started at about $50.  Violins were about $110+.  Great buys at least for “starter” musicians like the kids!

The ‘keyboard’ below are the stairs going up!

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Very very tempting store, that music store is.  I’m sure we’ll visit it again sometime….if we can find it.

Our day was full of more…..I’ll share in another post.  Hold on till tomorrow!