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cookj5

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cookj5 last won the day on November 24 2019

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  1. Likes: Weather, friendly people (both expat and Mexican), beautiful lake and mountains, gradually improving infrastructure, access to many wonderful colonial towns within 2-5 hours drive in any direction, still reasonable cost of living. Dislikes: Ever-increasing traffic, parking problems, getting anything done without excessive complications, too many rumors/too little accurate up-to-date info, costs of rentals and house purchases pricing out many people (both expat and Mexican).
  2. I just tell people to look for the taxi booth near the exit from aduana. All they have to do is ask for Ajijic (or the town where you live) and the official will sell them a ticket.The taxi costs about $450 pesos and will take them right to your door. If you like, you can reimburse them for the taxi fare. You can even email them the directions in Spanish to your house and they can just hand it to the driver. Beats the heck out of dealing with all the traffic and trying to find guests in the busy airport pick up area.
  3. You can rent from any of a number of different agencies at Guadalajara airport. I have never rented a car at Guadalajara airport, but have done so at several other airports around Mexico. I have had good luck with National and Budget. You can also rent a car in Ajijic itself. There is a rental agency on the north side of the Carretera (the main drag) between Donato Guerra and Javier Mina streets. Keep in mind that if you rent in Ajijic, you will still have to get back and forth to the airport. Cab fare for that runs about $450 pesos ($23,50 USD) each way plus tip. Auto rental rates are not unreasonable in Mexico, but you will need to buy Mexican insurance to cover damage to the car because your US insurance is no good here. This can run your costs up considerably, particularly if you rent for a week or two. Most auto rental prices include liability insurance, which covers damage to someone else. You will need to provide your US driver's license and a credit card and possibly also your passport. Driving in Mexico can be a little unnerving to the uninitiated. Many Mexicans seem to regard traffic laws as guidelines rather than firm rules, so defensive driving is an absolute must. The most difficult problem I encounter is directional signs. They can be confusing, and not only because they will be in Spanish. Sometimes they will be absent altogether, or impossible to see because of foliage or other obstructions. Signs with street names are not on poles on corners, clearly visible with large type like you may be used to. Here, they will be on a small sign on the corner of a building, sometimes a fair distance from the street and with fading print. Mexican planners absolutely love one-way streets and you will find that they always seem to be heading in the wrong direction. When traveling in areas of Mexico with which I am unfamiliar, I always plot out my route on Google maps in advance, taking note of every necessary turn. At such turns, I check out Google street view to see what the landmarks are, in case there is no directional sign. If you have GPS, that can be helpful too. If you are just here for a few days, there is a local travel agency called Charter Club Tours that is excellent. It offers numerous day trips to places in the immediate area and also trips for several days to locations further away. You can also avail yourself of the services of local real estate agencies that will tour you around to various local villages where you might want to rent or buy. There are also local professional drivers who will take you to specific locations and even on all day jaunts. There have been many posts on Chapala.com about these drivers. Finally, taxicabs here are relatively cheap, compared to US rates. I hope all this is helpful. Others may have additional advice.
  4. It never ceases to amaze me to observe or hear about expats who bitterly complain about these migrants, as the person described in this comment did. The expats here nearly all have vastly more wealth, power, and opportunities than these unfortunate people. The migrants are, in fact, only trying to better their lives and are suffering danger and privation to do it. People like the person described should be ashamed of themselves and, if they are not, then the people around them should shame them.
  5. There is a guy (maybe more than one) who sells Panama hats at the entrance to the Artists' Walk leading into the eastern end of the Ajijic Plaza. Look at the inside of the hatband. If it says "Product of Ecuador" it is a genuine Panama hat. The truth is, "Panama" hats are made there rather than in the country for which they are named. The hats should have a very tight weave and be very flexible.
  6. I hike up to the chapel 5 mornings a week before breakfast. There is always foot traffic, both expat and Mexican, on the trail, so I am not surprised that Valerie had someone come to her aid almost immediately. In fact, over several years of these morning hikes, I have never yet had a morning when I didn't meet someone. I have never been bothered by anyone, but then I am a male, in reasonably good shape, and I always carry a hiking stick. So, I'm probably not a good target. The only problem I have ever encountered was tripping on a root and falling on the rocky trail. It's a bit like sliding down a cheese grater and I came home with a number of cuts and scrapes. Taking a fall like that, with possibly immobilizing injuries, is the main reason to avoid hiking alone. This is especially true for routes that are less frequented than the chapel trail. On some, it could be days before anyone happened by. The Ajijic Hiking Group leads hikes every Tuesday and Friday morning (meet at Min Wah Chinese Restaurant at 8:45 AM). There is always a group that just goes up to the chapel and back for new hikers or those with limited time. That is the safest way to hike this or any of the other trails.
  7. Our wall clock just crapped out and we're looking for a new one. They seem to be somewhat hard to find. Anyone seen reasonably priced and decent-looking wall clocks in the North Shore area?
  8. I arrived in Ajijic in July of 2007, but didn't get my blog "Jim and Carole's Mexico Adventure" underway until October of that year, so I missed chronicling the 2007 Independencia Fiesta. However I did do 2008 and several other years since. Here are three links to posts I did on several different parts of the Fiesta: The Parade: https://cookjmex.blogspot.com/2008/10/independencia-16-de-septiembre-fiesta.html The Charreada: https://cookjmex.blogspot.com/2008/10/independencia-part-2-charreada.html The Globos: https://cookjmex.blogspot.com/2008/10/indendencia-part-3-globos-rebozos.html
  9. We have an old, but still comfortable, recliner chair that badly needs re-upholstering. We're trying to figure out whether it makes sense to do that or to just look for a new one (or find one for sale among expats). A new one costs approximately $6000 pesos. Does anyone know a good place to get recliner chairs re-upholstered and what might the ballpark cost be? Thanks for you help on this!
  10. Does anyone have an upholstered recliner chair you are interested in parting with for reasonable price? Alternatively, does anyone know of anywhere in the Lake Chapala area that sells such chairs? Thanks in advance for any assistance on this.
  11. Mijo- I have visited all of the cities mentioned above. All are worth a visit. To give you a taste, check out my photo-journal blog: San Miguel Allende: https://cookjmex.blogspot.com/2008/06/san-miguel-allende-part-1-of-4-parts.html Queretaro: https://cookjmex.blogspot.com/2009/05/queretaro-part-1-beautiful-city.html Guanajuato: https://cookjmex.blogspot.com/2008/08/guanajuato-spanish-treasure-city-part-1.html Morelia: https://cookjmex.blogspot.com/2008/03/morelia-colonial-city-glowing-in-sun.html Patzcuaro: https://cookjmex.blogspot.com/2008/04/patzcuaro-doorway-to-heaven.html Zacatecas: https://cookjmex.blogspot.com/2009/10/zacatecas-treasure-of-north-part-1.html San Luis Potosi: https://cookjmex.blogspot.com/2014/08/san-luis-potosi-part-1-silver-city-on.html One more that was not mentioned but definitely deserves a visit is Aguascalientes. It is part way to Zacatecas and is often overlooked by expats: https://cookjmex.blogspot.com/2014/04/aguascalientes-part-1-centro-historico.html FYI- many of the posts above are the first of a several part series. To go to Part 2 in any series, scroll down to the bottom of the page and look for "newer post" in the lower left corner. Click on that and it will take you to the next part, and so forth. Have fun!
  12. "Is there anyway to buy land completely risk free in Mexico?" The short answer? No. Never invest any amount of money in Mexico that you are not willing to walk away from. Because that's what you may have to do.
  13. Keep in mind that, to fly out of the country, you will first need to go to the immigration window. Sometimes there may be a dozen or more people ahead of you. It helps to have a copy of the form in hand, already filled out, when you show up. If you haven't filled the form in advance, make sure you have your own pen. They won't provide one and other people may or may not be willing to share. Once you get a pen, you'll have to fumble with the forms and your documents in line or even step out of line and lose your place. I usually ask for extra forms when I go to the window so I have them for future flights. Also keep in mind that if you show up at the airline baggage check-in less than 1 hour in advance, the airline staff may have left already. This happened to me with US airlines a couple of different times at Guad airport. I was screwed and had to take a cab home and fly the next day. Take it from me, you certainly don't want to get tied up in the immigration line and end up with no one at the check-in desk when you finally get there, 55 minutes before your flight leaves. Also remember that you still have to get through security before you go to your gate. There may be a big line and you can count on it that your gate will always be in the the most distant part of the airport. If you cut it too fine, the airline may give your seat away to a standby. This also has happened to me.Too bad, so sad, next! It's a drag to have to get to the airport 3 hours before a flight that leaves early in the morning, but it's even more of a drag to miss your flight and have to go later or even the next day. Bring a book or your iPad, and get a cup of coffee. Happy flying!
  14. I don't understand. All of these items mentioned above could be brought here in your checked luggage. Why try to carry it through security?
  15. Actually there are 3 seasons: 1) Cool and Dry (December-March) 2)Hot and Dry (April-early June) 3)Cool/balmy and Wet (late June-November. The ranges in temperatures are narrower than many other parts of Mexico, even at the same altitude and time of year, because the Lake moderates our climate.
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