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Sheila last won the day on May 24 2016

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  1. I’m an experienced, full-time, Lakeside house & pet sitter (since 2013), now considering requests for November through March. My partner & I had to return to the States last November in order to help family with health care needs but I returned to Ajijic in August to continue house sitting. My current sit runs until the end of October so my priority will be booking sits for November and/or December first and then considering assignments from January through March. It’s best to plan early because my schedule usually fills quickly. A little more about me and the details: I am a homeowner and property/rental manager in the U.S.. I worked for many years as a network administrator and I still sometimes take on remote/online work in IT support but am more often offering my services pro bono to local, non-profit organizations. I have extensive experience caring for homes and pets, speak Spanish, and am a residente permanente with many local references. I’m a member of HouseSitMexico.com and HouseCarers.com. I prefer sits of 4 weeks in length or longer but will sometimes consider shorter assignments if it fits in to my schedule &/or fills a gap between assignments. I also prefer to connect with homeowners who travel frequently, or the same time every year, and are looking for a reliable house sitter. Working repeatedly together over time makes things easier since we all know the “drill” and each other. It also provides the same caregiver for your home and/or pet, which builds trust and is comforting to everyone involved. Before committing to any assignment, I’ll want to meet you and your pets at your home in order to review mutual responsibilities. Then, if it feels like a good fit for everyone involved, will confirm the details and dates. For more info: https://www.housesittingbycycle.com/ If interested, please send me a private message with dates needed, number of pets, responsibilities/special needs, etc., and I'll be in touch. Thanks! [Note: I offer my sitting services for free because I feel it is a mutually beneficial exchange and because I make an income through other sources. I adore animals and sitting allows me to travel, live, and work in beautiful places around Mexico. I provide care and security for your home and/or pet(s) while you provide me a place to live and work remotely via the internet. I feel this is a win-win situation for everyone involved.]
  2. Hi Marlayne, We have phones w/dual slots in case we ever want to have a MX sim in one and a US (or whatever country we want) in the other. So you could find a plan that works and go that route. However, we have found that we rarely use this option since US sim cards and/or cell plans are usually pretty expensive. Instead we: 1. Use only one slot w/Telcel Amigo sin Limite plan which is our main plan for local MX calls & data use. Just before we travel to the US we go online and switch the account to a Sin Frontier plan so that we can use data & make calls in US, MX or Canada at a cheaper cost - we also usually purchase extra data at that time so we don't run out while travelling (because we spend more time looking up directions, using googlemaps, tethering to our laptop to work, etc). When we return to MX we switch back to our Amigo sin Limite. 2. Have a Skype number/subscription for a local US phone number which our friends, family, tenants, etc, use to call us. You can get a local number for anywhere in the world and people calling you from that area do not have to deal with any international calling, or to even know you don't live locally. Includes voice mail feature. Set up your Skype subscription/phone number, then install the Skype app on your smartphone and when someone calls it rings to your phone. Very affordable, easy and seamless. (There's also an option to forward all calls from your Skype number to ring through any other phone number - say to your MX cell number - if you wish. But we found that you can't see Contact/ID of caller or that the call is coming from the US Skype number; if that matters to someone. And we don't have voicemail set up for our MX cell numbers so no one can leave a message that way. We might use this feature if we're in transit or travelling so as to use less data via our regular cell account -- Skype calls do use your data if you're not connected to w-fi - but we don't prefer the forwarding option). COST Total Cost for Telcel use in 2017 for 2 people = $273 (or ~$11.38 USD per month per person) Total cost for Skype subscription/use of one phone number in 2017: $59.94 USD (or ~$5/mth) Links to more info: Telcel account options: https://www.telcel.com/personas/telefonia/amigo/tarifas-y-opciones#!amigo-sin-limite Skype Number: https://support.skype.com/en/faq/FA256/how-do-i-get-a-skype-number
  3. Thanks ficklepie & AjijicBound for the info. This is trajic! Translation for the article from Laguna link above for those who can't read Spanish: The fires in San Antonio Tlayacapan, home to more than a thousand birds. The fire within the lake of Chapala, in front of the place of sighting "Alexander von Humboldt" could have been intentionally set. Eighty percent of tuna and aquatic plants in the estuary where hundreds of birds were nesting in front of the "Alexander von Humboldt" sighting spot on the San Antonio Tlayacapan waterfront burned on the night of May 6 in a fire, apparently by the hand of man. The fire was reported to the Civil Protection and Fire Department of Chapala at 9:45 p.m. and was completely extinguished after six hours. There were seven municipal firefighters and citizen support groups who fought the fire until four in the morning, authorities said. Although official data has not come to light, firefighters have telephoned this Weekly that witnesses to the ecological disaster informed them, without evidence, that the fire within Lake Chapala, a Ramsar site since 2002 (Convention Relative To Wetlands of International Importance especially as Waterfowl Habitat) was set on purpose. Ironically, hours before the fire, the inauguration of the sixth Chapala Lake Bird Festival was held at the González Gallo Cultural Center (CCGG), which will be held in various venues throughout the municipality until May 14. Biologist Moctezuma Medina, in an interview last year for Laguna, estimated that about two thousand birds lived in the estuary. "In that pure area you can see about ten different species of birds and I think they must be there reproducing and taking refuge not less than a thousand or two thousand birds, because you hear all the will," he said on that occasion. This is not the first time they have 'vandalized' the San Antonio Tlayacapan boardwalk. On the morning of 10 January this year, 16 trees, 10 covers of public lighting registers, 'graffiti' roasters and completely destroyed the six signs that mark the site of the Alexander von Humboldt birdwatching were removed. , Placed and donated to the population by the institute Corazón de la Tierra, organizer of the Bird Festival of Lake Chapala.
  4. I saw a huge fire last night over by the peninsula jetting out between (I believe) San Antonio and Riberas. Noticed it around 10:30 when I took the dog out to go potty and it raged until at least 2:30 when I finally went to bed. I could see it clearly from my veranda in Rancho del Oro. It was immense and scary - the winds spreading the fire quickly. Anyone heard anything about it? I pray no one was hurt or killed. (Giving thanks this morning for firefighters.)
  5. Unless you're using encryption (and even then there is no guarantee), no email in the world is secure or private. Nothing you do virtually is private. That's always been true from the beginning and always will be true.
  6. We've been sitting full time in Lake Chapala since 2013 and have many references. We're currently available from October 1st through November 15th. If you have any home or pet care needs during this time, please learn more about us and contact us via our website: http://www.housesittingbycycle.com/ Thank you!
  7. For bike rentals on day of the Via Recreativa in Guad, as I stated in my blog post linked above: " Via RecreActiva even provides bicycles on loan if you don’t have or can’t afford a bicycle of your own (one I.D. gives you access to two bicycles for the day) as well as maps of the route and guided bicycle tours of the city." For rentals in Chapala/Ajijic I would check with several bike shops in the area. I'm sure some of them would be flexible and rent something to folks for visits here. There used to be an adventure group here but I don't ever see them advertising bicycle rentals any longer. You could also post something in WANTED in the Ojo del Lago or Chapala.com's advertising section. I'm sure a few people have bicycles here that don't regularly use them and might be willing to lend or sell you something that would work for short-term. :-)
  8. Hmmm, not sure why. I checked settings and can't figure out why that would be the case. I'll try PMing you. Thanks.
  9. Hi Elizabeth, My partner and I bicycled across the States then through Mexico to arrive in Ajijic. We've cycled thousands of kilometers throughout Mexico and our bicycles remain our main form of transportation here so we can give you an accurate idea of what your husband can expect. Right off the bat, I have to eliminate some myths about cycling here. Bicycling in Mexico is no more dangerous than anywhere else. In fact, we feel safer riding here than we did anywhere in the States. People here are used to seeing, and therefore are more aware of, pedestrians and cyclists (not to mention livestock) on the roads so people tend to behave and drive more reasonably here than in the States. They slow down, give us plenty of room and often even turn on their hazards when passing to highlight our presence to other drivers. The demeanor of Mexican drivers compared to drivers in the States is exceptionally different. When you ride in the States people regularly and purposefully pass too close and sometimes at fatal speeds, often throw things at you out of open windows or yell loudly or honk in order to scare the crap out of you. They think it's funny (not life-threatening). Also, you have the jerks who honk at you angrily or sometimes even express road rage (i.e. in California I had a guy in a van literally stare me down as he ran me off the road; in rural New York I had a guy pass within inches of me at 60+mph on an empty two-lane road). In the five years we've been cycling in Mexico we've never had any aggression expressed toward us by any Mexican (driver or otherwise). In fact, we've received exactly the opposite - thumbs up signals, drivers pulling off to make sure we have food/water and directions, and locals who also ride (not because they can't afford anything else but because it's healthier & better for you & because they enjoy it) befriend us and offer to ride with us around the area. That being said, there are certain holidays and times of the week or day you don't want to ride due to heavy traffic and increased risk of holiday drinking. And one of the biggest threats when cycling are motorcyclists who like to pass moving traffic on the right side of the road. But, honestly, the largest threat we've experienced here in Ajijic/Chapala is related to older gringo drivers. Some honk a lot (that entitled and disgusted honk), will park in the bicycle lanes, will act like they can't slow down for anything or anyone (no matter how much danger they put others in), or they don't even comprehend the possibility that there are pedestrians or cyclists using the roads so they will often make turns without notice or turns right in to people on the bicycle paths. I think this may be more accentuated because of aging drivers - you do tend to lose your awareness as a driver as you age. All the locals who walk, run or cycle are well aware of the elderly-gringo danger and we take it in stride and often laugh or shake our heads about it (what can you do other than to put a wide bike lane through towns with huge signs notifying everyone that its a bike path and using road markers/concrete blockers along side it to warn drivers of its - and our - existence?! LOL). Relating to possible rides/routes here: 1) The cobblestone streets make it harder to ride around town. They're truly annoying for cyclists and unless you have wider tires, don't bother. 2) Riding on the cycle path along the highway from Chapala through Jocotopec is fine and the path is generally in good shape, excepting the occasional section of potholes or gravel/mud washed in to the lane from recent rain storms (if it's rainy season), in which cases many cyclists take the road. I see workers clean up sections of the path at different times of the year and cyclists themselves will take the time to shovel off mud or sweep off debris. There are only a few short sections through downtown Chapala & Ajijic in which the bike path disappears for a bit but traffic is generally slower in those areas because of stoplights. My partner & I regularly ride between Ajijic and Chapala without incident and the ride from Ajijic to Jocotepec is quite pleasant, a round-trip of around 23 miles. 3) Riding east of Chapala is quite nice - my partner often rides in that area and he has said the traffic is minimal and views/landscape can be spectacular. You will likely encounter some cobblestone roads on the way through Chapala to get to paved roads and if you want to explore the pueblas you will likely have to ride in to town on cobblestones. 4) There are plenty of backroad adventures around the area but you'd be better off with a tour or mountain bike for those rides. If you're interested in more info on those, pm me and I'll have my partner connect with your husband to give more details. 5) There is a local cycling club which does occasional night rides and sometimes longer weekend rides to other locations throughout the area. We've done a few night rights w/them. This isn't a pro/road-cycle group but if you want to meet local cyclists and get more involved in local cycling culture, this is their facebook group. https://www.facebook.com/LakeNiteRidesChapalAjijic/ 6) We have cycled with several groups from Guadalajara, in Guad and here. They have a Via Recreativa every Sunday in Guadalajara in which 64 km of city streets are closed from morning to mid-afternoon so that pedestrians, skateboarders, runners, and cyclists can use the streets. It's quite amazing and fun, and they've grown to around 200,000 people attending most Sundays! We made a video about it when we first arrived in Guadalajara (below). I also mention other groups in Guad (cycle groups & activists) that might lead your husband to connect w/road tours in the original blog post I wrote here (links to groups in the text of the lower half of the post): http://2cycle2gether.com/2012/12/gdl/#.V6PUmPkrK00 7) There is a group from Guad that comes down occasionally to do rides through this area. Every weekend they do an interesting ride somewhere around Guad/Jalisco and the one we attended included at pretty large group of cyclists. Most of the time the routes include some off-road cycling and a stop for food/drinks along the way. They are a really fun group. Here's a video of a trip we did with them in which they rode from Chapala to Jocotepec, visiting each malecon along the way. (their facebook page announcing weekly rides: https://www.facebook.com/camararodante/posts) 8) I see road cyclists come through here a lot on the weekends, some clubs and some just friends. Many are friendly and I'm sure would be willing to chat to share more information about road cycling in the area. I've found other cycle groups from Guad that ride in this area via Facebook and google. There are many groups you could get involved with down here. So don't let your husband be deterred from cycling in Mexico or in this area! The cycling culture is alive, well and growing. :-)
  10. Tried to pm but it wouldn't go through.  I need a  pet sitter and would like to talk.  Won't post time or number where others can see.  Pls contact me- Kitty

  11. We're so sorry for your loss, Bob. Barbara had an incredible spirit and I am imagining that spirit has only expanded outward and upward, now sharing the same space and energy as the stars she loved so much.
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