Category Archives: Uncategorized

A Day in Zacatecas

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A Day in Zacatecas

Last week I went on a day trip to the city of Zacatecas. My primary destination was the silver mine that had been made into a museum, La Mina del Eden. The bus trip from Aguascalientes took about an hour and a half. The taxi from the bus station to the mine took another 15 minutes.

Admission is 100 pesos, but half price for seniors and children. To my surprise, I was told that a tour in English was available. I decided to opt for that one. I have taken several tours in Mexico in Spanish. While I do grasp most of the content, sometimes details are missed.

Clad in hard hats, we boarded the train that would take us deep into the mine.

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We disembarked in the darkened mine. To my delight, I was the only one on the English tour so I had the tour guide all to myself. Ruben is Mexican but had lived in Illinois for a while and his English was amazing. He was very knowledgeable and I thoroughly enjoyed my private tour. We stopped several times as he explained the history and the logistics of the mine. We were several meters below the surface ourselves, and we were able to view the water running through several meters below us as well. This photo shows just one of the many displays along the way.

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We continued our tour and it was interesting to see the gold and the quartz embedded in the rocks overhead.

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My guide further explained that there is still untapped silver in the mine. However the city of Zacatecas has grown and is now encroaching on the mine, so official mining has stopped and the mine is strictly now a museum only. My guide also pointed out that there is actually a night club  in the mine that is open in the evenings and nights on weekends.

After I left the mine I decided to walk a little, no easy feat in this city. The streets are extremely steep. I found myself at the teleferico, the cable car that goes up to the top of the mountain. But that day my fear of heights triumphed and I wound up taking an Uber to Centro instead.

I checked out the Basilica and some stores close by. That was when I noticed the tour bus.

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The tour itself was in Spanish. The bus navigated the steep, narrow streets providing me with an amazing view from the upper deck of the city below. Our guide pointed out the various historical buildings, parks and statues along the way. It was most informative and interesting.

After the tour, I came across this man sitting on a bench.

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I realize that Zacatecas has numerous museums and other attractions, but it was getting late and time to return to the bus station to board a bus back to Aguascalientes.

While I can envision another day trip in the future, the silver mine was definitely the highlight for me on my first visit to Zacatecas.

The Power of Prayer

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The Power of Prayer

Prayer has been on my mind a lot lately. Actually, it’s been much more intense in the last few weeks.

I participate online in a home group with Church of the Rock in Winnipeg, Canada. We watch a short video and then discuss it. One of the pastors serves as a host. The series we are currently studying deals with prayer. And it has me thinking about prayer a lot more than usual, especially the circumstances surrounding when, why and how I pray.

We tend to pray for ourselves when we are in need much more than when things in our lives are going smoothly. Somehow praise for God isn’t always included. But there is a reason why our church services begin with praise. This strengthens our communication and relationship with God.

I plead guilty to praying for others more often than praying for myself. But I am trying to change that. My prayers with God have become more like conversations with a friend. I take more time to pray each day, always including praise.

And now, what prompted me to write this post.

Last week, someone in my past contacted me, someone I haven’t heard from in years. We are blood relatives and although we lived in different cities in Canada,  we were quite close. But it’s interesting how my divorce and my becoming a Christian has completely changed our relationship. While I have reached out to him when he has experienced crises in his life during the last decade, I have undergone four major surgeries without hearing a word from him. My daughter got married. My first granddaughter was born. Still no acknowledgment on his part. And yes, he was well aware of all of these events. Last week I received a text on Facebook Messenger from him. Not a text to sincerely inquire as to my well-being. Nope. He had an agenda. He had a new venture on his mind and he would have benefited financially had I gone along with this.  Needless to say I have had no response to my text informing him that I was not interested in this venture. And I wonder if and when I will ever hear from him in the future.

When he needs me in his life and it’s convenient for him, then he reaches out. Otherwise I am ignored and forgotten, like a book that gets put up on a high shelf never to be dusted.

However God forgives my sins and I need to forgive others. There is no room in my heart for anger or bitterness. I want my heart to be filled with peace, love and tranquility.  So I have chosen to pray for this cousin instead.

Prayer is powerful.

The Power of Prayer

Standard
The Power of Prayer

Prayer has been on my mind a lot lately. Actually, it’s been much more intense in the last few weeks.

I participate online in a home group with Church of the Rock in Winnipeg, Canada. We watch a short video and then discuss it. One of the pastors serves as a host. The series we are currently studying deals with prayer. And it has me thinking about prayer a lot more than usual, especially the circumstances surrounding when, why and how I pray.

We tend to pray for ourselves when we are in need much more than when things in our lives are going smoothly. Somehow praise for God isn’t always included. But there is a reason why our church services begin with praise. This strengthens our communication and relationship with God.

I plead guilty to praying for others more often than praying for myself. But I am trying to change that. My prayers with God have become more like conversations with a friend. I take more time to pray each day, always including praise.

And now, what prompted me to write this post.

Last week, someone in my past contacted me, someone I haven’t heard from in years. We are blood relatives and although we lived in different cities in Canada,  we were quite close. But it’s interesting how my divorce and my becoming a Christian has completely changed our relationship. While I have reached out to him when he has experienced crises in his life during the last decade, I have undergone four major surgeries without hearing a word from him. My daughter got married. My first granddaughter was born. Still no acknowledgment on his part. And yes, he was well aware of all of these events. Last week I received a text on Facebook Messenger from him. Not a text to sincerely inquire as to my well-being. Nope. He had an agenda. He had a new venture on his mind and he would have benefited financially had I gone along with this.  Needless to say I have had no response to my text informing him that I was not interested in this venture. And I wonder if and when I will ever hear from him in the future.

When he needs me in his life and it’s convenient for him, then he reaches out. Otherwise I am ignored and forgotten, like a book that gets put up on a high shelf never to be dusted.

However God forgives my sins and I need to forgive others. There is no room in my heart for anger or bitterness. I want my heart to be filled with peace, love and tranquility.  So I have chosen to pray for this cousin instead.

Prayer is powerful.

My Faves

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My Faves

I’ve traveled a fair amount in my years in Mexico. The culture and food vary greatly from area to area, as does the geography and climate. People often ask me about my favorite places and foods, so I’ve decided to write a post about some of my favorites.

Tlaquepaque is still in the lead. It is a quaint typically Mexican area only 20 minutes away from central Guadalajara. The Jardin Hidalgo, Calle independencia and Calle Juarez were my favorite haunts. Dia De Los Muertos is amazing. The best churros, rotisserie chicken and pizza are found here. The shops are quaint and ATMs are plentiful. But best of all, the locals are all friendly and there is always music in the air night and day. Uber and public transit are accessible, making commutes to Parque Mirador, Tonala, Zapopan, museums, art galleries and parks easy. Lots of day trips to smaller pueblos in Jalisco are most enjoyable.

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I’m about to begin my third month here in Aguascalientes. I live in Las Flores, a neighborhood adjacent to the Centro Historico. People are friendly and I have found a wonderful church two blocks from where I’m staying. The best gorditas are two streets over. My favorite coffee shop, Buenos Aires Cafe, is close by. The woman who runs it is from Argentina and the food she prepares is outstanding. The best omelets are at Loncheria Fer, run by my friend Fernando. Day trips to Leon, Zacatecas and the three magic towns are great. There are museums, art galleries and churches to explore.

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I spent two months this winter in San Ciro de Acosta in San Luis Potosi. This small town didn’t even have a bank. People are friendly and collectivos are available to Rio Verde, a larger town that even has two museums. Christmas celebrations in the plaza were most enjoyable. Day trips to other areas in the state as well as in Queretaro are best done by car, as buses and collectivos don’t go to many of them. I found the food very greasy as everything is fried. Finding fresh vegetables was difficult as beans, rice and tortillas were the norm to accompany the main course. I did find one place that made Chinese food, but it too was quite greasy and used frozen vegetables in their dishes.

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Culiacan is probably the most dangerous city I’ve lived in here in Mexico. It’s also home to the best tamales and incredible bakeries. I go back there often as my Mexican family live there. The first school I taught at in Mexico is also here, and occasionally I go back to visit. Culiacan has some lovely parks and the main cathedral is beautiful. I also explored art galleries and museums when I lived there.

I first went to Mazatlan in 2010 and dreamed of retiring there at some point. I moved there in 2015 when I was still teaching. But after three years, it was time to move on. The quaintness is gone and the city has become far too touristy for me. But Mazatlan has the best beaches and the most beautiful sunsets, and I’ve been to quite a few beach towns along the west coast. When I lived in Guadalajara I even preferred Mazatlan to Puerto Vallarta. Carnaval  is the third largest in the world. Fabulous concerts are found at the Angela Peralta Theater. Motorcycle Week and Semana Santa I can easily do without.

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I think my favorite park is Chapultepec in Mexico City. It boasts a castle, a zoo, botanical gardens, boats and more. The city itself is much too large for my liking, but it does have so much to offer in terms of art galleries and museums. The pyramids in Teotihuacan are awesome and are a must for visitors. My least favorite place in this city is definitely the airport which desperately needs more than a face lift.

I was very disappointed in Rosarito in the Baja. A few years ago I had planned on spending the winter there. After one week of a very dirty beach and warnings of not to go out after dark because of the high crime rate, I headed back to Tijuana, another not so great place, and then found my way back to Guadalajara.

I also lived in Irapuato, Guanajuato for a few months. This is another area I wasn’t too fond of. Day trips to Leon and Guanajuato City were good escapes. There really wasn’t much to do in this town. Even the Centro are was disappointing.

Let’s end this post on a positive note. A ride on El Chepe in the Copper Canyon is the train ride of a lifetime. The spectacular views made this quite the experience. I opted for a five day tour with overnight stays in four towns along the way. I actually hope to do this again someday.

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Mexico is one huge country and there is so much more I want to explore. My plan is to explore the Yucantan next winter. I also still want to go to Oaxaca, Chiapas, Morelia………the list is endless!

Calvillo……Pueblo Magico

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Calvillo……Pueblo Magico

I have visited several magic towns in my travels in Mexico. On Wednesday I took a bus to Calvillo, about an hour away from the city of Aguascalientes. I discovered a colorful pueblo with friendly people. I spent hours strolling through the streets and shops, and visited two beautiful churches.

The Plaza Principale was only a ten minute walk from the bus station.

It was also adjacent to Parroquia del Senor del Salitre, a magnificent church.

I wandered into the mercado and was surprised to find an escalator in this building. All mercados I’d been to previously in Mexico had stairs and ramps.

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I took this pic in front of the Santuario de de Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe. It gives you an idea of the steepness of the street leading up to this church,

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On my walk to the museum I came across this colorful street as well as an amazing candy store. Unfortunately the museum was closed for renovations.

All too soon it was time to leave this magical town and board the bus back to Aguascalientes.

Dos Parques

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Dos Parques

I don’t spend all my time in museums and churches. I do spend a fair amount of time outdoors. There is a lovely park about a away from where I’m staying, and it’s my favorite place to go when I want to color. I pack up my gel pens and coloring pages and enjoy it far more than coloring indoors. People are curious and I get into some interesting conversations. Just the other day I taught a little girl how to count up to ten in English.

Parque Hidalgo is another park I visited a couple of weeks ago with my friend Iracema and her four-month-old son Ian. It goes without saying that there is an abundance of greenery due to the beautiful weather here in Aguascalientes.

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This park also has animals. Most are caged but some of the larger birds roam free.

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There is an amusement park area with rides for the children.

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My favorite part was the fountain area. I always find water calming. I was also delighted to see ducks swimming around in the pond. 

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Another park Iracema took me to was Rodolfo Landeros. This park was huge and I intend to go back there. This time I will rent a motorized golf cart as it was impossible to see everything in one day only walking. Bicycles are also popular rentals here. 

We came across a beautiful lake with an abundance of swans, geese and ducks. I even got a close up of one of these beautiful creatures.

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As much as I would have liked to sit there all day and meditate by the water, there were other places to see in the park.

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We climbed up a flight of stairs to the top of a hill where we had a magnificent view of the park and the lake below. We actually did stay there for a while admiring the view.

We continued our walk and came across some animals.

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Unfortunately the aviary was closed. Apparently one of the animals had gotten loose and had feasted on the birds that were non-flyers. Only a handful of birds perched up high were safe that day.

Our final stop was Cabana Juan Chavez, home of the Mexican equivalent of Robin Hood. This is not a place for anyone with vertigo. I have climbed pyramids, explored underground caves and mines. And I can now say I have experienced the Cabana. I am thankful for the guard rails but not so thankful for the slippery black stones.

 

 

On our way back to the car, we passed by an area with trains and other animals. There is also a miniature city here and paddleboats. But these areas will have to wait for my next visit.

I am definitely going back to this park! 

Dos Parques

Standard
Dos Parques

I don’t spend all my time in museums and churches. I do spend a fair amount of time outdoors. There is a lovely park about a away from where I’m staying, and it’s my favorite place to go when I want to color. I pack up my gel pens and coloring pages and enjoy it far more than coloring indoors. People are curious and I get into some interesting conversations. Just the other day I taught a little girl how to count up to ten in English.

Parque Hidalgo is another park I visited a couple of weeks ago with my friend Iracema and her four-month-old son Ian. It goes without saying that there is an abundance of greenery due to the beautiful weather here in Aguascalientes.

003

This park also has animals. Most are caged but some of the larger birds roam free.

012

There is an amusement park area with rides for the children.

026

My favorite part was the fountain area. I always find water calming. I was also delighted to see ducks swimming around in the pond. 

031

Another park Iracema took me to was Rodolfo Landeros. This park was huge and I intend to go back there. This time I will rent a motorized golf cart as it was impossible to see everything in one day only walking. Bicycles are also popular rentals here. 

We came across a beautiful lake with an abundance of swans, geese and ducks. I even got a close up of one of these beautiful creatures.

IMG_20190216_125644

As much as I would have liked to sit there all day and meditate by the water, there were other places to see in the park.

IMG_20190216_125627

We climbed up a flight of stairs to the top of a hill where we had a magnificent view of the park and the lake below. We actually did stay there for a while admiring the view.

We continued our walk and came across some animals.

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Unfortunately the aviary was closed. Apparently one of the animals had gotten loose and had feasted on the birds that were non-flyers. Only a handful of birds perched up high were safe that day.

Our final stop was Cabana Juan Chavez, home of the Mexican equivalent of Robin Hood. This is not a place for anyone with vertigo. I have climbed pyramids, explored underground caves and mines. And I can now say I have experienced the Cabana. I am thankful for the guard rails but not so thankful for the slippery black stones.

 

 

On our way back to the car, we passed by an area with trains and other animals. There is also a miniature city here and paddleboats. But these areas will have to wait for my next visit.

I am definitely going back to this park!