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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Feb 9, 2007 — This question was in one of the comment threads, and I thought I’d answer it here where it would be more visible.

My wife & I visited Ajijic last year and are seriously considering doing what you have done, so we’re keenly interested in your experiences. We looked at property in Chapala and Ajijic, and took the bus to Jocotopec (through your San Juan Cosala). Would love to know more about your decision to be there, instead of Ajijic. — Fred, Oakland, Calif.

We are living in San Juan Cosala because a string of circumstances brought us here. This included Kelly breaking a rib, which is not recommended! But it forced us to spend more time lakeside. We *thought* (but what did we know?) that we would be returning to a town (Bernal, Queretaro) several hours east of here, where we had lived before and still had a house we had rented. We even had a cat there, being fed by our landlord.

We weren’t planning to buy a place in Mexico till we had lived in this country quite a while, the standard good advice. We had sold our home in Colorado and were enjoying the sense of being more footloose and fancy free than usual.

As Kelly’s rib healed some, just for fun we looked around a bit at real estate in the whole lakeside area. I think this is called playing with fire… We came across 1/4 acre lovingly planted many years ago with fruit trees (banana, papaya, lemon, lychee, pistachio, loquat) and other lovely landscaping, with a modest but charming two-room cabin recently remodeled, and a small swimming pool. This was for sale for $80,000 US, which was at least 20k below market value at that time (a year ago), in this location. We succumbed, justifying that it was very likely a good investment. Oh, and I forgot to mention the peek-a-boo lake views.

So that’s how we ended up on the edge of San Juan Cosala. I’m sure this place if located in Ajijic would have cost a lot more.

At first, I kinda wished that we were in Ajijic, with walking access to more restaurants, shopping, the Lake Chapala Society, ATMs, medical, and all that. But it’s only a 15 minute drive or a slightly longer bus ride, and we are really small town / rural type folks. We’re both writers who are online a lot and we enjoy the relative quiet here. I say relative, because Mexico is not noted for its quiet. Like Ajijic, our town too has fireworks, live brass bands at any hour, etc., though on a smaller scale.

We have a routine of going to Ajijic and further east as needed for errands one morning a week, getting cash if needed out of the ATM at the corner of the libramiento and carretera, a few imported groceries at Superlake in San Antonio Tlay., meat at Tony’s next door to it (the only place we’ve found good lamb), library books at the LCS, and having lunch at Pedro’s, the Secret Garden, or one of several other favorite restaurants we’ve found. I’m always glad to get back home. Often something else takes us in that direction at other times during the week too. We like Jocotepec and go that way too, though much less.

This week we were amazed at how hectic Ajijic was and how everywhere you looked there were lots of Americans and Canadians. I like the more Mexican feeling of San Juan Cosala, with the plus that there are enough foreigners to have friends of our own culture nearby too. We’re making good friends among the Mexicans, and this may be easier here than in Ajijic, from what others have said to me. I don’t really know. But I do know that the longer we are here in San Juan Cosala, the more at home I feel here.

Comment from the old blog:

Fred Schultz said…

I appreciate the time and thought you put into your postings, Rosana. You give us a great window into your experiences. Thanks for your experiences re: Ajijic vs San Juan Cosala. Perhaps your & Kelly’s facility with Spanish makes SJC more accessible to you, also. For us (with very little Spanish), Ajijic (and its Canadian and US expatriot community) would have an advantage (even with the higher prices). Having been Lakeside once, even briefly, I enjoy your references even more– we know the Superlake, the ATM, the Lake Chapala Society, the carretera. . . (BTW, we stayed at La Paloma B&B with Doc and MarCia. Excellent.)
Fred
Oakland, Calif

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