A Quick Update

In 2010, we moved back to the small town in Colorado that I never stopped missing while we lived in Mexico. Now I sometimes miss Mexico, but I wouldn't travel as freely as we did when we were there, camping out in remote areas and so forth.

Mexico today is in a period of change, and in many ways it is more dangerous now. That said, I have plenty of American friends who still live there very happily, just taking a few more precautions than they did in the past.

Just to say!

Rosana

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This is the second of two guest articles on being a gay expat, written by my friend Alison Soloman whose new website is on cheap travel — a topic she is also an expert on. — Rosana

Three years ago, my partner and I moved to Lake Chapala, Mexico.  Wherever we live, it’s always important to us that there’s a gay community to plug into.  People sometimes ask us if that’s reverse discrimination – we think emphatically that it’s not.  It’s no different from wanting to be part of a Jewish community or a Universal Unitarian community, or to want to make sure there’s a writer’s group or a quilting group.  We don’t spend all our time with only one group, but there are times when we want to be with folks just like us.

We’d heard about Lake Chapala and Ajijic through straight friends of ours who moved down here a year earlier.  When we decided we would join them, we went online to find out about the queer community here.  We found lots of straight people who assured us that there was a sizeable gay community and that gays were welcomed and fully integrated.  It wasn’t until we moved down here that we met our first lesbians.  We were walking through an art exhibit in the Ajijic plaza when Carol suddenly spotted two women selling jewelry.  “D.A to the left!” she whispered loudly (that’s “dyke alert” to the uninitiated.)  We strolled over to them, “Hi,” we said.  All four of us smiled that knowing smile and the next day found us happily drinking coffee and getting to know our new-found friends better.

As the weeks and months progressed, we quickly found ourselves meeting lots of other gays and lesbians.  Many were, like us, part of a longtime couple.  A few were single, and some were in new relationships that have since bit the dust.  As we got to know folks better, we discovered that being gay wasn’t the only thing we needed to have in common, and some of our newly-formed friendships didn’t last.  There were those who drank too much; those who were too ostentatious for our likes; some whose only focus seemed to be constantly renovating their upscale homes, and some who were just plain weird.  But as time passed, we found a core group of friends with whom we enjoyed hanging out and sharing holidays.

One of the disadvantages of living in this area is that there are a large number of “snow-birds” – folks who are only here during the winter months.  We know one couple who have set up their lives so that for half the year they live in Michigan and for six months they live rent-free in Mexico by housesitting for repeat customers.  Another pair of lesbians are Canadians who rent a home here so one of them can manage her arthritis in the worst months.  We love getting together with them, but dread the approach of summer, when they will abandon us once again.

There’s no organized group here – from time to time we talk about setting up an email group, or a list-serve, but we never get around to it.  There is however, a group that meets every Friday at the Ajijic Plaza in the Jardin restaurant.  So if you’re in the neighborhood, stop by!  Just be prepared for the fact that you might not want to leave.

9 Responses to “Gay Life by Lake Chapala”

  • Linnie & Rena says:

    Hi there,

    Linnie and I are from Wilton Manors, Florida and thinking about moving to Lake Chapala or Ajijic to relocate and NOT be a snowbird. We have done quite a bit of research trying to figure out where to live. Linnie has been to San Miguel and loved it, she is from Santa Fe New Mexico and we both wanted to find a new place to explore, and meet new people. I work for a university interviewing nurses on the phone and I could work from home thinking that if we relocate to mexico I can work from there. Linnie is very creative, went to school at the Fort Lauderdale Art Institute studying interior design, she is a great cook and we love to entertain. She has been a hair dresser for 30 years… We felt that between the two of us and all that we have done at the wonderful years of being 55 and baby boomers, that we would be able to live a simple life that is filled with creativity and new friends. Can you help us with any words of wisdom as expats in mexico.

    Signed, excited to hear from you.

  • Rosana says:

    Hi Rena — I think you and Linnie could do fine here in the Lake Chapala area or in San Miguel. Do visit both places together. As for words of wisdom about being expats, do read a lot on my website — I have written a lot about this… and other people’s websites too of course! And of course, don’t believe everything you read!

    Best wishes!

    Rosana

  • Paulus says:

    After arriving in Ajijic we also realized that there was no organized group, so recently we started QCM Queer Chaps Mexico, with the purpose to bring together the LGBT members living at the Lakeshore. Its still a small group, but slowly growing!

    Pleas feel free to join. The website is:

    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/QCM/

    saludos,

    Paulus

  • Rebecca says:

    When I come to visit may I look you two up?

    I'm not weird, just an easy going gal looking for a new place called home.

    Rebecca

  • Rosana says:

    Sorry, Rebecca, we moved back to the US! Details on the home page of this site.

  • Jaggeorge says:

    Keep an eye open for at least one and possibly two gay venues opening in the chapala area in the next couple of months….

  • I am a visual artist/ writer to film.I am a refugee from the Bay Area housing crunch.Am thinking of relocating there.Are there cheap rooms to be let?

  • SJC2Dominguillo says:

    Peter, I haven’t lived there in several years but I would still say yes. Especially compared to the Bay Area, where we have family and I know a bit about the prices. I suggest you look around for forums or Facebook groups of expats in Mexico and ask there… that might give you some specific info and leads. Best wishes!

  • Steve says:

    My partner and I have lived in Ajijic for 8 years and love it. We opened a B&B and I am also in real estate sales. There is indeed a group mostly of gay men that meet weekly, and organise other things on a weekly basis also but gay women seem to meet in homes, although as we are so accepted in the community, we all meet up in the heterosexual environment as well which we love.

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