I spent 3 months in Aguascalientes last winter and never saw one raindrop. This morning I ventured out to my favorite gordita stand for breakfast and noted the gloomy skies. I made it home just before it poured.
I decided that it’s a good day for writing. But before I dive into my WIP, I thought a blog post might be in order. In Leavenworth I didn’t spend much time at home so the blog posts were few and far between. But here in Mexico I am determined to spend more time writing this winter.
These containers are found everywhere in the neighborhood. There is absolutely no excuse to litter. The trash is emptied daily.
May God forgive me for taking this photo. A funeral procession came by and I couldn’t resist at least one photo. The mariachi follow the casket. The mourners in turn follow the mariachi as they walk through the streets from the church to the cemetery.
In the area where I live, clothes dryers are rare. Many people wash their clothes by hand and hang them out to dry in the sun. They are quite creative and merely string a line across the sidewalk or put items out on a chair.
As for myself, I prefer the lavenderia. I drop my clothes off in the morning and pick them up later in the day, neatly folded in a bag. I just picked up two weeks worth of laundry and the cost was a mere 69 pesos. Well worth it.
Minutes away from where I’m staying is Expoplaza. I often walk to the park there and color.
In the evenings, especially on the weekends, the playground here is very popular. also on the weekends, bordering the park are various vendors selling everything from sunglasses to churros. There is a cinema in the expoplaza itself which I frequent. I like to watch movies in Spanish, without subtitles. I get braver as the years go by.
Tomorrow I am looking forward to the tienguis. There is also no rain in the forecast.
This winter my home base is in Las Flores, Aguascalientes. I discovered this neighborhood last winter and love its proximity to the historical center and several museums, all within walking distance.
The name of my street is Begonias. All the names of the streets are flowers. (Las Flores is Spanish for “flowers.”)
This is a photo of the hotel where I live. You won’t see a Hyatt sign here. It’s an old house that’s been renovated into a hotel. Each room has its own bathroom. Common areas include the kitchen and laundry area.
Raul is the owner and takes good care of his properties. He is currently renovating a house where I first stayed for a week when I arrived. Not only did he move me and my luggage from place to place, but also a fridge and a microwave. I guess you could say that my room has now been transformed into an executive suite. None of the other rooms here have these appliances.
The following photo is the bull ring at the end of my street. It sees a lot of action during the Feria in the spring, but otherwise sits empty.
On my morning walk I encountered this neighbor across the street from my hotel. Cute, isn’t he?
There is no shortage of tiendas (corner stores). These two are at the other end of my street.
Two blocks away is the church I attend. It occupies the main floor of an apartment building.
Today is Thursday which means the tianguis (flea market) occupies a street a block away from where I live.
There is also an abundance of food available in this area, but I will save that as well as some other places in my neighborhood for another blog post.
I am constantly being asked this question. My friends up north wonder why I spend 6 months of the year in a country ruled by a drug cartel. My friends in Mexico wonder why I spend 6 months in the gun-toting state of Washington.
I think about my hometown in Canada. Winnipeg for several years was synonymous with the highest homicide rate per capita in the nation. Just last week a three year old child was stabbed to death by his mother’s boyfriend.
So where exactly in this world is “safe?”
I long for the days when air travel was fun. Security has become an ordeal. Take off your shoes and jackets. Take out cell phones, tablets and laptops. No liquids over a miniscule amount. And I have knee replacements. Bring on the body scanners and pat-downs.
Do all these precautionary measures make me feel safe? Nope. Just makes me wonder what might come next.
Please stop asking me if I feel safe. In this crazy world we live in, no-one is safe. But what we can do is enjoy the time we have left in our lives instead of dwelling on whether or not we feel safe. After all, when you were a child, did you not just enjoy life without a thought to being safe? Maybe it’s time to start being a child again.
Halloween was always one of my favorite holidays. As a child I loved going door to door with my friends and collecting treats. Those were the days when neighbors made homemade popcorn balls and all the apples you collected were passed on to mom for baking.
Flash ahead a couple of decades to when I had kids. Safety concerns dictated that an adult accompany them and that all candy was carefully inspected by a parent before consuming.
Costumes have become more outlandish these days, focusing more on the dark side. Gone are the clowns and cowboys.
I used to love decorating the windows of the house and hanging spooky mobiles my kids had made.
Decorating cookies and making a “spooktacular” cake was also a favorite pastime.
But I am in Mexico now where the northern influence has not yet made Halloween the popular event it is in Canada or the USA. Instead Day of the Dead is the big event here.
I ate at Cafe Angel yesterday and the traditional marigolds adorned the entrance.
Katrinas were visible in some storefronts.
And I found this display in a mall near my house.
If you are celebrating, have a safe and happy Halloween.
Last week was a week of goodbyes and last times for 6 months. This was intended to be my last post from Leavenworth but has turned out to be my first post from Aguascalientes.
Saturday night was the last music night at the senior center. I will miss my group of friends there and the music we enjoyed throughout the season.
I went to church on Sunday and had one last brunch at the golf course with friends.
Monday night was my last life group for a while. This is the fourth year I’ve been in the group and will really miss our weekly times spent together.
Tuesday was farewell day to Wenatchee. Karen and I spent the day there and on our way back we hit the drive-thru at Wendy’s for one last frosty. We also had one last apple fritter from the bakery in Cashmere that day.
Wednesday was my last lunch at the senior center and my last bridge game with Hilda, Karen and Betsy.
Thursday Linda and I had one last lunch in Cashmere at Agave Azul. And I said goodbye to my tree, which has lost so many leaves.
On Friday I finished packing and went for one last walk with Joyce and Coco. I will miss our evening walks when I am back in Mexico.
On Saturday Ann took me to Peshastin to get the shuttle to Sea-Tac. Then a flight to LAX and then a flight to Guadalajara. The last leg was a bus ride to Aguascalientes.
It’s now Monday afternoon here in Aguascalientes, temperature in low 80s, bright and sunny.
I had breakfast at my favorite gordita stand. The lady who runs it welcomed me back. A 96 year old neighbor was there and we enjoyed a lively conversation. Apparently I haven’t forgotten my Spanish.
Tomorrow I look forward to spending the day with my friend Iracema and her one year old son.
Time for a siesta now.
Two weeks from today I’ll be on the Wenatchee Valley Shuttle headed for Sea-Tac. It feels like only yesterday it was the reverse. The past few months have passed by in a blur. The older I get the faster the time flies by.
Just the other day I told one of my friends that I don’t want to leave yet because there is still so much I want to do here. But the Reindeer Farm and an Amtrak trip will have to wait until next summer.
October is one of my favorite months here. The leaves on the trees are a glorious sight as they change color. The Autumn Leaf Festival and Apple Days are most enjoyable. Three weekends of Octoberfest are a bit much for my liking but are good for the tourism industry.
I’d like to share some of the beautiful fall colors here in Leavenworth.
And here is my favorite tree in Cashmere.
Yesterday dawned cloudy and cold in Chelan. But at least the snow had stayed up in the mountains. Very different weather from last year at this time.
We arrived at the dock just before 8 am to board the Lady Of The Lake Express. Coffee was most welcome once we left the pier.
The view along the way was spectacular. The snow-capped mountains drifted in and out of the clouds. Or maybe it was the clouds drifting in and out of the mountains.
We made a brief stop at Field’s Point and then headed for Stehekin. Along the way our captain was an awesome tourist guide, pointing out various areas and their histories.
Upon our arrival in Stehekin, we hopped on the red bus for a tour. We stopped at Rainbow Falls and at the Pastry Shop. Other interesting sights were Carl’s organic garden, the original old schoolhouse, the new schoolhouse, the community hall/church as well as a beautiful log house.
We wandered up to the visitor center and watched a slide show. We sauntered through some displays and wound up in the art gallery where this captured my eye.
We ate lunch on the deck overlooking the water and then checked out the gift shop.
All too soon it was time to board the Lady of the Lake and head back to Chelan.
I hope to return someday and stay overnight. One day really isn’t enough time to explore this area, which also is renowned for its hiking trails.