Monday, May 1, 2017

Hacienda del Lago

If you google Weight Loss in Mexico you will discover only three retreats that are open as of April 2017. One of the newest and most luxurious places to get your body and mind right for losing excess baggage is at the Hacienda del Lago – This boutique Hotel and Restaurant only has nine rooms so you are guaranteed specialized attention. It is located just 45 minutes from the Guadalajara airport in Ajijic, Jalisco and just one block from the gorgeous Lake Chapala. This resort offers aerobic swim classes, daily walks in various lakeside locations, yoga classes,
and mountain hikes. Nutritional meals are served daily to include special coffee, fresh juices and exotic salads. The Weight Loss Seven day Retreat is held twice a year. 2nd week of June and in September. The price includes a lovely room, two meals per day, walking, and swimming. A variety of talks will be hosted along with an ADIOS AMIGA shopping trip at lakeside. For an extra excursion fee there is also kayaking, horseback riding, art classes and golf. The treasured goal of this Spa is to assist you
in adopting the healthy habit of walking daily, staying active and eating healthy foods. If you compare Weight Loss Spa prices, the Hacienda del Lago offers the most for the best price. Consider inviting a girl friend to join you. Spoil yourself with a new hairstyle, a new outfit, a massage, a facial!  All services at this one beautiful location. The only thing that the Hacienda del Lago overlooks is the water! Mexico 011 (+52) 376-766-0907 7 days + 7 nights = $1050.00 USD (Suite = $2100.00) Check in on a Tuesday and fly out lighter the following Tuesday. Click this link to make your reservation Hacienda del Lago

Sunday, April 30, 2017


If you are just planning to visit Mexico, order pesos before you get on the plane. If you plan on moving to Mexico, I suggest that you open account with Wells Fargo in the USA. Order pesos from Wells Fargo International 800-626-9430 before you leave the USA. When you arrive in Chapala, open an account at Bancomer in Chapala right near the water fountain. Bancomer is a sister branch of Wells Fargo. Bancomer is #1 bank in Mexico.
When you return to the USA, go to your Wells Fargo branch and request to SIGN a Wells Fargo Express Send Remittance CONTRACT.  800-556-0605. Your account name in the USA "MUST" match your account name at Bancomer "exactly".  (Mary Sue Money/First, Middle, Last) Unless it matches exactly the Express Send will be disabled.  Express Send allows you to transfer funds from your USA Wells Fargo account to Mexico directly into your Bancomer account. You can transfer up to $10,000 per month, at $1,500 per transfer. Each time you transfer there
is only a $5.00 fee.  This is a great advantage because the ATM fee's are excessive for every withdrawl while in Mexico. Research affirms that boarding a plane in the USA with less than $9,900 USA dollars/ converted into pesos, is safe, and okay. It is NOT very EASY to convert USA cash into PESOS once you land in Mexico. It is good advice to order pesos before departing. In 2014 laws changed and cashing a USA check has become an issue at many banking institutions. The USA now demands that all funds leaving the USA be tracked by social security number.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Cultural Center in Chapala

President Porfirio Diaz
In 1888, Chapala had become the preferred resort for most "Tapatios".  People native to Guadalajara flocked to the beautiful shores of Lake Chapala and enjoyed staying in a variety of hotels that were built to accomodate those who came to relax, dine and golf. The mild temperatures, the beauty of the circling hills and the passenger boats all added to the charm of many affluent Mexican families. In the 1800's the winding roads
El Manglar - The Mangrove
to reach Chapala from Guad made the trip very hard.  Porfirio Diaz had made that trip many times before becoming the President of Mexico and he stayed at his
brother-in-laws casa named "El Manglar"  This Mangrove is where President Diaz and his entourage enjoyed the many fruits of Chapala.  Many proposals to connect Chapala by rail to Guadalajara were made.  The Train Station's
original Grand Opening was to be May 15, 1888, however, the reality of the terrible unrest of the Mexican Revolution interveneed and more than 25 years passed before the station was built. The Chapala Train Station finally opened to
The Architect and Engineer
the public on April 8, 1920.  From 1904-1909, Chapala was the chosen spring time vacation destination for Mexico President Porfirio Diaz and his family and friends. The architect and engineer Guillermo de Alba designed the building based on his studies as a student in Chicago.  De Alba reflected the town's hope for a brighter future with elegant pillars and grand rooms for hosting cultural events.  On the ground floor, two rooms are dedicated to
temporary exhibits.  The 16.2 miles of rail to connect Chapala with Guad were installed in 1917. The Museum today holds many artifacts from around lakeside. The water level of Lake Chapala rose dramatically and flooded the station in 1925. The lakeside property passes through many hands until Jesus Gonzalez Gallo acquired it.
Once the flood waters receded, the Gonzalez Gortazar family agreed to lend the property to the expats in Chapala to use as a clubhouse much like the Lake Chapala Society property in Ajijic. Eventually the building was abandoned and was left to decay for years.  For the purpose of creating a cultural
Ave Christiana in 1930 - Chapala
center, Mrs Paz de Gonzalez Gallo chose to donate the property to the State Government of Jalisco.  In 1997 the restoration work began with the collaboration of the Cultural Heritage area of the Secretary of Culture, the Chapala City Council and the organization "Adopt a Work of Art".  The old Train Station was re-baptized as the Gonzalez Gallo Cultural center and was officially opened on March 28, 2006.  It is open to the public every day except Mondays.  Hours of operation is Tuesday through Saturday 10:00 AM - 6:00 PM and Sundays from 10:00 AM - 3:00 PM. For more information contact: The Gonzalez Gallo Cultural Center at 376-765-7424.  The admission is FREE.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

A Great Church

An audio sample of Brother Bob's sermons is found on the right side of this blog.   LAKE CHAPALA BAPTIST CHURCH (LCBC) Address: 147 Santa Margarita, Riberas Del Pilar. Pastor Bob Hendrick is a great bible teacher.  Tuesday each week over 20 men and 10 women meet for Bible study at 10:00 AM.  It is a very friendly congregation. Join us Sunday morning at 11:00 AM, the pastor speaks Texan English.
The Mexican congreagation starts at 12:30 PM and it is in Spanish Check out the sermons online.  Off the Carretera (lakeside highway) across from Lakeside Medical Center.  TURN toward the mountain when you see the big Catholic Church with the bell on the Carretera which is near the 7-11 in the town of Riberas. The ladies of the church organize great trips to Guadalajara for shopping, to the zoo, and the beach.  Come join us!  Pastor Bob lives on campus and he makes the coffee each Sunday and he is the great man of God pictured in the middle. Click the link herein of a YOUTUBE featuring the humor appreciated during the Easter Play 2011


It is a short walk for me from San Nicolas to the Country Club where we enjoy Friday night buffets, Mahjong, hitting golf balls, or just walking the lovely 9 hole course in the evening. Drive to the Country Club de Chapala along the road that leads to Mezcala.  You will pass the town of Santa Cruz, then San Nicolas, then enter through the gates of Chapala Country Club. A beautiful paved
road takes you up to the security gate.  Pause and tell them you are going to the golf course, the guard lifts the gate and you will drive up another few hundred yards and turn right into the club.  The green fees for non-members are 1,200 pesos for 18 or less holes which includes a cart between the hours of 7:00 AM - 2:00 PM.  If you tee off after 2:00 PM it is 650 pesos.  If you wait to tee off after
4:00 PM it is only 400 pesos. Golfing ends at 7:00 PM. It is a nine hole course, but 18 holes can be played.  Get a Social membership for only 500 pesos per year, per couple. It includes line dancing, Zumba, Yoga, Majhong and social dinner parties.  Check in at the stone
Pro Shop where you can purchase a bucket of balls and go to the driving range or take lessons from Romero.  All golfers must hire a Caddy who will spot your balls and guide you through the course.  Standard Caddy fees are posted in the clubhouse which are dependent on the size of your group.  No fivesomes allowed, only two people per cart and each player must have their own clubs. The course was designed by Harry Offutt in 1956, a golf Pro from the USA.
All other information is on this link. Country Club de Chapala

Travel Info for Expats

This info is ONLY for expats who live in Mexico full time or part time. Make sure to carefully fill out the FMM form CORRECTLY. HAND WRITE Resident Permanente across the TOP of FMM form. Country of Residence is MEXICO. Purpose of travel: Other.As an RP visa holder (Resident Permanent), any time you fly out of Mexico you will have to fill out an FMM and give it to the airline carrier to be attached to your boarding pass. The shorter lower segment of
the form will be collected at the INM desk prior to entering the boarding area. The tricky part is how the FMM is handled when reentering Mexico. Airline personnel usually hand out the forms on board the flight to Mexico. Permanent Residents MUST fill in the information boxes in the top portion of the form, including noting Mexico as country of residence (box #7), the number shown on the back of the INM green card (box #8), checking OTHER/OTRO as purpose of trip (box #9). ADD the hand-written notation Residente Permanente across the top of the form and detach the lower portion of form to KEEP until you arrive home. Once off the plane, pay close attention as you go through the immigration filter. First of all show the official your INM resident
green card and passport and verbally state "soy residente." Then hand over only the top portion of the FMM. Cooperate if the official on duty insists that you fill out both segments of the form, but make sure that the gray areas designated for Uso Oficial are filled out properly before leaving the immigration desk. ALARM: If there is a check mark in the section labeled Estancia Maxima 180 days you will be registered as a visitor in the INM data base, automatically losing your resident status. Stand your ground to see that the mistake is corrected and the section below, titled "Unicamente Para Efectos Estadisticos," is CORRECTLY checked off in the box labeled Tarjeta Permanente Temporal. Resident.  Expats NEED to follow the same procedures when leaving and entering the country by land or sea. Guillermina Cortés also pointed out that RP and PT holders are not subject to paying any processing fees to airline companies or immigration checkpoints since they have already paid the requisite taxes for obtaining their visas. All it takes is a seemingly minor clerical error committed when going through immigration stations at border crossings and as you make your way through international airports.
ALERT yourself to the DETAILS of each FMM form you fill out, and before leaving the WINDOW at Guad Airport, make sure the correct BOX below USO OFFICIAL is correct. A Residente Temporal (RT) or Residente Permanente (RP) status could be MISTAKENLY SWITCHED to a visitor permit good for a maximum of 180 days. According to INM's Chapala office chief Guillermina Cortés, at least a dozen lakeside area immigrants have lost their residency visas due to paperwork glitches when returning to Mexico from trips abroad. Essentially the problem stems from errors in processing the Forma Migratoria Multiple (FMM), a standard form that must be submitted individually by all foreigners entering and exiting Mexico. PRINT THIS AND KEEP PAPER INSIDE PASSPORT.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Mexican Baseball is GREAT

Mike and I were thrilled to ride to Guad with "Zed" the man from the Lake Chapala Society in Ajijic who organized our van trip to the game.  We departed from the artistic rendering of the TRAIN WRECK in La Floresta at 9:45 am on a Sunday morning. We arrived at the fabulous Charros stadium
in time to watch the batters warm up. The 2014 season was Zed's first experience with the Charro team, and for this final Winter game in December, we were seated in the VIP section along with the family of the team members. Two van loads of rootin tootin baseball fans from all over the USA stood and cheered "Si Senor" with every base hit!  Vamanos Charros
Vamanos is another frequent shout!  Zed pointed out many items of interest along the one hour drive and he expects to get better seats with perhaps a pass through the dug out prior to the games of 2015. As a member of the Lake Chapala Society you get the benefit of discounts on the tickets as well as access to their online newsletter.  It is a wonderfull experience so check your calendar and plan on catching a few games this year and check out the bronze statue of Fernando Valenzuela.  He was a Charro before he became a Dodger!  Wear your teams hat and have FUN!!!

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Solar Savings

With our CFE bill wavering close to the red zone, and with the annual 12% increase across the board for electricity at Lakeside, we chose eSun Energy in Ajijic. eSun has the highest quality installations in Mexico and their sevice is excellent! We look forward to paying CFE about $7.00 USD every two months!!! WARNING to home-owners and renters.  Once your CFE bill hits the RED ZONE, your bi-monthly bill triples. So if your CFE bill goes from 800 pesos to  2400 pesos, it never reduces.  Those who do rent at Lakeside, call the office and make an appointment to discuss how you can reduce your CFE bill.  Owner maintenance responsibility is simply to toss a bucket of water across each panel during the dry season.  WARNING: Do NOT use soap, do NOT use a squeegee.  Removing dust with a splash of water is sufficient to maximize efficiency.  To remove bird droppings"  1 cup white cider vinegar mixed into a 5 gallon bucket.  Toss the mixture across the panel, then toss a clean bucket of water across the panel. Professional annual cleaning is available by eSun for 30 pesos per panel.  Check out their website.  They are professionals!!! eSun Energy
An English speaking salesman came to our casa, went up on the roof to inspect location and get the data on our two air conditioners on Tuesday. We provided eSun with a CFE bill and on Wednesday a written quote was delivered based on our personal two year consumption. Our capital investment will pay for itself in 4 years, but the BEST NEWS is that we can crank up our air conditioners for four hours per day, during the four hottest months at Lakeside. Since we live at Lakeside full time, we have now increased our travel budget by reducing our cost to run the air conditioner!  Hallelujah! 

Monday, April 24, 2017


What a great find! ISHOP  is located in San Antonio near Paninos. All those who serve you speak English.  UPS, FEDEX, FAX, DHL, and regular US Post mail will safely arrive to your family and friends when placed in the
 capable hands of ISHOP. We do not have a printer at home because we do not need one.  When we must print, I send ISHOP an email with the attached document and they print for me. For just a few pesos, you can do anything.  A coffee shop is right next to the mail boxes.  We rented a box here and share the annual cost with a few neighbors as we rarely receive anything but email. We used ISHOP to FEDEX docs to close escrow in the USA.  With the cost of a box, you can receive packages delivered to ISHOP and they call you to come and pickup. PHONE: (376) 766-1933 and the FAX (376) 766-2755.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Mothers day 2017

Mothers Day 2012 Tower Park Cabin vacation on the delta. Remembering Jason on Mothers Day 2017.  He was so excited for our annual reunion on Mother's Day 2016, but God interrupted our plans with His.  Jason went to be with Jesus on April 20, 2016.  I miss his hugs and laughter so much.
We are growing and blooming in His time! Elton John in concert outdoors, candle in the wind! When Barb lived in Houston, Texas - My son 2008 Christmas show at Teen Challenge
Living with Aunt Sue in Acampo 2013
Jason got baptized at LifeSong in Stockton
Modesto, California playing golf, riding go-carts 2014
Grandma Maria RIP March 2016 + Jason RIP April 2016

Monday, April 17, 2017


There is so much GOOD we can do in Mexico.  It is a wide open mission field which enables "retired" folks to stay busy doing something that builds the kingdom, while giving us peace about how we can help. There are many worthy organizations.  The Hope House is an orphange for boys. For more information click this link:  HOPE HOUSE
The American Legion post #7 is located on the corner of Morelos and Guerrero in Chapala. The Legion also raises money to assist those who are less fortunate.  Whether you are visiting Lakeside, or living at Lakeside full time, your monthly ONLINE donations to HOPE HOUSE will enable the facility to provide housing, schooling and vocational training to young boys who are destined to be self-sustaining residents of Lakeside. Hope House is a state run organization that has been excellent at managing donations. Volunteers keep coming back, and that says a bunch about the Board of Directors. Thank you for your consideration!

Saturday, April 15, 2017

CHAPALA Annual Tax/Fees

In Chapala, we get to PAY taxes in person, before Feb 28th each year and receive a 15 % discount.  We do NOT have to wait to get a bill in the mail, we simply bring last years receipt to City Hall to pay our Property Tax.   Pull a numbered ficha from the ticket dispenser and wait for that number to light up.  City Hall, the Simapa, and DMV offices are open from 9:00AM to 3:00 PM Mon - Fri.  The Numero de Cuenta is your account number.  The Chapala Water Bill office "Chapala Simapa" is located next to City hall.  The Chapala DMV for vehicle registration office address: Degollado 306. The DMV cashier only requires the car license plate number to access account documents. You pay in cash, pesos and receive car registration receipt and sticker for car immediately. PAY fee in January or February and get 400 peso discount.

Manzanillo Resort

At port city beach near Colima can be reached by car in just 3 hours from Chapala.  Enjoy beautiful, safe toll roads all the way.  Love meeting up at Mom's cafe with friends at 8:00 AM and getting on the road by 9:00 AM to arrive at the beach by noon.  Just past the volcano in Colima, the coconut groves wave and point you towards this under populated port beach town. For the Starbucks, Carl's Junior, Dairy Queen, Domino's Pizza junk foodies - there is a new mall as you come into town and the upstairs, air conditioned food court is outstanding!  We have stayed at the HM, Pepe's, Las Hadas and the Camino Real in Manzanillo.  While in town I always check out new places and I give  The Barcelo Karmina five stars.  It has a private beach, it sits on the Las Hadas golf course, four swimming pools, WIFI and it is ALL INCLUSIVE.  By clicking the above link, you join the Premium Club for FREE and you get points in peso rebates for each stay.  The Barcelo has hotels worldwide.  Stayed for Mothers Day and plan on New Years Eve in a deluxe suite at a great price as a Premium Club Member.

Saturday, April 8, 2017


Driving through life with a song in my heart, a skip in my step, a reason to smile wide and a good word for those who cross my path. "Yet I will show you a more excellent way" A wise daily practice is to praise God for at least 5 things each morning. Thank you Lord for color, adventure, a variety of people, freedom, and opportunity! Keeping the Word of God my preferred Source of GOOD news, I indeed profit by remaining "in Him" as He is in me. Listening to what the spirit maybe hearing....I listen and hear giggles of the horse riding nino's, and the hum of a sweet innocent girl seeking to sell some green beans today.  When I choose to look and notice God in action, I will catch the flash of "hope in God" gleaming through the eyes of those He sends across my path. Thanksgiving is not unnoticed by God. Awakening to the ceaseless love of our Father is found in all things.
A grateful heart explodes through the lips of a person compelled from speak words of appreciation. Gratitude is the highest form of thought and happiness is indeed doubled by our fascinations.  Our world needs less complaining and more proclaiming of all that is glorious! God reveals His invisible thunder, His eternal power in countless ways so that we are left naked without excuse. "For although they knew God, they neither glorified Him as God nor did they give thanks to God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done." Romans 1:18-28  Oh Lord, let not the
root sin of ingratitude be found in me. What is the worst sin of all? God's word seems to point to our thanklessness!  Consider Eve in the garden of Eden, she had it all, yet she resented God warning her about a particular tree, and one bite of an apple. "For although she knew God, she neither glorified Him as God, nor gave Him thanks.  Her thinking became futile, and her foolish heart was darkened. A heart full of ingatitude is wicked. A simple refusal to thank and glorify God is the real beginning of wickedness.  Many believe that wickedness is found in the
ghetto, in a drug deal, in a prostitute's heart, however, Roman's 1 gives us insight into why God gave them over to a depraved mind. "Their" thanklessness was His reason to send them into madness! Great artists and deep thinkers are riveted to the many wonders and mysteries of God and they glorify Him in their work. Abba Father, awaken the spirit of thanksgiving in me.  Give me eyes to see what You see, engage me in the highest of thinking. Forgive me for forgetting to take time to give thanks in all things. Change my heart so that I may
think of whatever is noble, or praise worthy in all place You lead me today this day. Thank You Lord for making Your will known so clearly. The living Word of God splits my heart wide open with the plain truth. Paul writes in Romans 1 "First I thank my God..." I praise You for the smallest hummingbird, the tallest tree, the purple blooms, the dark clouds, the rain, my good days and even what pain may come.  "Our Father, Who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name, Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth (in me) as it is in heaven"  AMEN -  then God said "I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, (challenges we all face) 'GO, throw yourself in the sea,' and does NOT doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done unto him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours." IF the least bit of ingratitude, bitterness, jealousy, resentment,
ill will, or animosity toward anyone TRIES to creep in and take root --- convict me so that I may choose to speak "PRAISE be to GOD" and trust that God will be glorified. To all perceived resistance, or danger I shout with immense authority "GO in the name of Jesus!"  I cast OUT the destroying power of evil, with the very holy power that God infused me with. As careful as I am to NOT drink poison or handle a rattlesnake, I am also quick to avoid harboring ingratitude, envy, jealousy, or any wrong feelings towards others.  "FINALLY, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble. Do NOT repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with BLESSING, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing!" "For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you."