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


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! 

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

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.

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."

Friday, April 7, 2017


For many, there is nothing better for the body, mind, and spirit than to take a drive in the country to de-stress.  There is plenty of parking at the "Body Solutions Spa" in San Nicolas! On January 26, 2017 we moved to San Nicolas de Ibarra, Jalisco. Within our new small town we have met so many wonderful people. We hosted an open house and our German architect and his lovely bride Rosa Ena graced
us with their sweet attendance.  Rosa Ena had a SPA in Ajijic on Cologne before she moved to San Nicolas.  Rosa Ena speaks very good English and she gave me the best massage I have had at Lakeside. She is a marvelous masseuse and she is training a local girl to work with her to do pedicures and manicures.  She does gel and acrylic. She works out of her garden home in San Nicolas.  Take a country drive towards Mezcala and before the Country Club golf course you turn LEFT onto Ignacio Madero, the first exit into San Nicolas. (WHITE TIRE)  Call Rosa for an appointment (52) 331-240-3997 and embrace the JOY of being touched by an angel.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Hormone Therapy

Dr Juan Aceves in Ajijic is a microbiologist who speaks English.  Dr Aceves can help women who have night sweats, the inability to sleep, hair loss, mood swings and memory loss.  If a woman is low in testosterone it could be the cause of her inability to lose weight! After your first visit he will have you get a blood test to measure your testosterone and estrogen levels. I have had three pellet implants since living at Lakeside. Dr Aceves is assisted by a nurse while inserting the pellet which takes about 10 minutes in his office. Four of my friends have also raved about the improvement of their sleep and their moods.  The use of this hormone replacement therapy has been around since the late 1930's.  For years I used oral hormone pills, and I have also used the patch, however, because cancer runs in my family I stopped all forms and just suffered with insomnia and mood swings. After your initial visit, Dr Aceves will order a blood test so that he can order a customized hormone pellet that suits your symptoms.  The cost is 5,000 pesos and because of having had a complete hysterectomy, my body no longer produces any hormones so I require a pellet every 6 months and for me and my husband, IT IS WORTH every cent.  CLICK into his website: Dr Juan Aceves

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Unleashed, NOT bored

Unleashed without boundaries, without a limit of fresh air to breathe, without an edit of any emotion, we embark upon unknown trails. Without a compass, but in complete FAITH, with a destination, and great expectations, we explore wide eyed and exuberant! Without the need for a life jacket,  we stretch to utilize our gifts and bless others. With FREEDOM to roam about the planet and witness great NEWS, we remain resolved to be tested and proved! Our spirits are refreshed by legions of others who have gone before us! In a CLEAR COLORFUL VISION ~~~ Imagine yourselves laughing with the locals of Chapala as they attempt to comprehend your Spanglish.   With excitement the Mexican people embrace all who habla um poco Espanol.  Walking along the Malecons of Chapala and Ajijic and down the stony streets,  you will thrill as locals greet you with huge smiles!  Flowers and people seem to bloom and emerge easily inside unkempt, imperfect, unexpected places. WOW, a humongous tree with an enlarged trunk and vivid orange blossoms grows next to a poinsettia that towers like an aged California oak.  Our mind fills up with lavish images, beyond any of our past, and there we stand riveted by God's absolute BEST!  We left behind what was known along highway 99 and highway 88 to Silver Lake and we marvel at the green hills surrounding Lakeside. Our ears hear His voice whispering "Well done My good and faithful servants"  Our spirits are lifted as we put our hands to good use among several great organizations. We tred with grand delight, feeling unleashed, but not unprotected as we walk the streets of
Ajijic, La Floresta and Chapala. The picture above is of the lush garden at the Lake Chapala Society in Ajijic. LINKS on the right of this blog will take you on a vivid tour of Lakeside. Uncharted walks makes my soul respond with giddyness to the bromide elixir that the lake emits. A cobbled street runs thru La Floresta to connect Chapala and Ajijic. This stroll allows your eyes to witness horses and children at play without an ordinance! A spot where artesians yearn to stay and participate in the MAGIC of artsy AJIJIC.
Our weekly calendar is full of fun activity and local invites. We have met folks from around the globe! Daily walks to lakeside include hugs and chats. Much to do as grateful volunteers. Each March we raise money for Love in Action at the Annual Chili cook off.  FUN times galore!  Monday we attend a Spanish class in Ajijic.  Tuesday morning after our malecon walk with Donna, Dan, LC, Lucinda and a bevy of others, Mike attends
Bible study with a groovy group of gringo men. Tuesday night Barb hosts a women's CR group in our home while Mike enjoys a boys night out. Wednesday Barb serves at UPSCALE RESALE a second hand store much like Superior Thrift in Stockton.  All proceeds help fund HOPE HOUSE. Thursday we attend Spanish class again, followed by a Spanish practice session every Thursday evening at 5:00 pm with at least 15 local people from Lakeside.  Friday Mike works for a few hours at HOPE HOUSE, a boys orphanage, then we generally catch up with Villa Santa Paula resident neighbors Jack & Albert, Gary & Mila, Dan & Lynette, Amy, or Virgina.   We have booked passage around Lake Chapala on several Sunday afternoons with a group from Church.
There is also a Kayaking and Sailing Club in La Floresta which offers sails around Lake Chapala on Tuesday mornings and Thursday evenings. Adventures await as the surrounding forested places give oxygen to the villages within the state of Jalisco. As we abide in Him where EVER we travel, we rest in His hands as He opens the doors for our safe passage. My hopes, dreams and best plans have always been surpassed when it comes to swallowing fully that which has been made possible for my senses to intake. With our anchors pulled up in California, we float freely among English speaking people that blend with a variety of snow birds seeking paradise -- We mix it up within the small town of Chapala (population 20,000) and the colorful culture in Ajijic (population 10,000) along the shores of Lakeside! A fishing community feel of GLEE abounds. A local Hotel on Hidalgo offers all day swimming in an olympic pool that faces the lake for only 50 pesos! The Hotel, the cafe, and the pool are kept very clean. Hotel Villa Monte Carlo is a great place to cool off on those hot days! LINK on sidebar.
 An awesome gander of what "is"allows any person to be struck with wonder at this simple truth --- that regardless of language, color, education or the economy - we are united by our reverence for untamed, natural beauty. Trusting God, we remain surrendered to the AWE inspiring grandeur of His Spirit that is resplendent! Our path is filled with His GLORY to behold! Men and Women of truth, grace and spirit. Mothers, daughters, fathers and sons, globe trotters, and California giddy gurls shop and adorn themselves with color. We were born into being with a body that responds to color, music, food and the fantastic elements of nature -- people discover their unique best in Mexico in the midst of poverty and the riches, we have mucho to be thankful for. We are here to experience God's love as we marvel in all that He has so abundantly provided. COME to Chapala and expect to be astounded!  Focus on what delights your soul and come and explore!  Watch, listen and be ever AMAZED! We all are the "BE" in being unleashed. Go with courage and become the Columbus of your imaginings. Pack light, wear that LOVE that cannot be worn out! "He has commanded His angels concerning you." Therefore confidently "Cast all anxiety on Him" and travel in faith that Jesus has gone before you! Buen Provecho! Enjoy LIFE to the fullest!