Here’s some of what the Lonely Planet – Mexico chapter Western Central Highlands Ajijic:
The wonderfully named Ajijic (ah-¬hee-¬heek) is an outpost of North American retirees and by far the most sophisticated and energetic of the towns that line the north shore of Lago de Chapala. While the gringos may have put Ajijic on the map by opening boutiques, gal¬leries and restaurants galore, much of the town retains its charming, colonial-¬era vibe, with cobblestone lanes and quiet streets of boldly painted houses. It makes a delightful place to sit back and relax a while, although it’s far from the typical Mexico here: English is almost as commonly heard on the streets as Spanish.
KAPOORS ON THE ROAD
We first heard about the small town of Ajijic when our long-time friends from Edmonton Suresh and Sherry started spending part of the winter months there. They have continued to enjoy the setting and the community of other ‘snowbirds’ for several years and have always encouraged us to drop in for a visit.
We came to Mexico for the first time in 2008 and we made a day-trip from Guadalajara in mid-December just to get a sense of the town. Our friends did not arrive in Ajijic until early January 2009, so they were not able to show us around their favourite haunts.
Now we were back in Mexico 10 years later and we made a special point to visit them for a couple of nights. Adriana was kind enough to drive us to Ajijic so we didn’t have to bother with the bus. It takes less than an hour to drive from Guadalajara to Lake Chapala when the traffic is light.
Luckily the Gurjars were able to accommodate us as they had another friend from Edmonton visiting at the time. They seem to have a steady stream of family and friends who are keen to escape the Alberta winter weather and enjoy their company in the sun.
The weather had been very pleasant in Ajijic but became rather chilly just before we arrived. Luckily both Anil and I were travelling with warm clothes and not just summer attire. Most houses in Mexico are designed to keep the heat out during the summer months, so the interiors can be quite cold in the winter.
We were comfortable with sweaters and/or light jackets outdoors but when the sun went down, we decided to retreat to a pizza joint where the wood fires would chase away the chill.
Our hosts showed us around the central district of Ajijic and introduced us to some of their many Canadian and American friends in the neighbourhood. They are members of the Lake Chapala Society and regularly attend social events and guest lectures organized in the well-quipped Society facilities. The five of us attended a screening of a TED Talk on Alzheimer’s disease there.
The time passed quickly and before we knew it, Adriana had returned to transport us back to Guadalajara. I can’t believe that with all the time we spent together over the course of the two days we were there, I didn’t think to take a photo of the six of us together. I’ll blame it on the cool weather and my frozen fingers. The photo of Suresh and Sherry that I’ve posted here on my journal was taken at Anil’s birthday party in 2009.
We’ll most likely be back in Edmonton in the summer and will have a chance to reminisce about our visit then.