Duis ac lorem sit amet nibh gravida malesuada rutrum ac velit.
Feel free to call us: Home: 905-596-0191 / Cell: 289-395-0666

Home

Work

Play

Play

Work

It can be tough trying to get the balance just right!

Click here for WORK . . .

. . . or stay here and play!


Latest Blog Enteries

Posted by: In: 2014 Winter Trip, Ajijic 09 Mar 2014 2 comments

Well 3 weeks has simply flown by. Our social calendar has never been so full. We’ve reconnected with everyone we know down here either over lunch, dinner or drinks…..actually the drinks have been a part of every reunion.

We are walking every day sometimes doing only 5 km but mostly 7 to 15 km. We are trying to walk away our belly fat but so far we’ve seen little change. The French Patisserie and the new European bakery in town haven’t helped with the anticipated weight loss. There have been some benefits though. Our breathing is less laboured, our skin is tanned and we’ve explored every hidden alley way and path in both Ajijic and Chapala.

This past Monday we picked up our friends Kay and Paul and drove into Tonala, a community in Guadalajara where there is a glass blowing factory and many stores and stalls selling typical Mexican craft ware. They had never been so it was fun to show it off to friends as we have been there several times in the past.

ChapelViewLater in the week we had lunch with Collette, a gal who’s dogs we looked after for a week last winter. After a visit with the dogs, Collette suggested a lovely place called Tabarka. They specialize in Tapas. The chef is a Spaniard. The setting was lovely and the food delicious.

We also had a wonderful “catch up” lunch with John and Joan, the first couple we met in Ajijic the first year we came.

Last night we had a very special reunion at Los Telares Greg’s favourite Friday night place dinner place. We met Gonzolo and his wife and their two lovely daughters for dinner. Gonzolo started out as our rental agent the first year we were here but in true Mexican style adopted us and included us in a Sunday Family Fest that first year, a day neither of us will ever forget. We had lost contact information last year and the year before and hadn’t seen the family but through Lucia the head caretaker at The Ranch we were able to track him down. Daughter number two is a new addition since we saw them last and she is a real little character and had us laughing our heads off all evening long. The singer/guitar player at Los Telares was fantastic as always.

Other happenings include repairing and painting the car. I managed (somehow) to get a huge dent in the front bumper when we were still back home….that’s gone now along with the rust on the hatch door. Everything is all painted like new. It set us back 100. dollars. Greg finally got his new glasses. They are very John Lennonesque and I think they look great on him. Best of all though is the fact that they seem to be correctly done and he can see once again. Night reading was particularly daunting with prescription sun glasses that were two prescriptions past.

Next week it’s teeth cleaning and a hair appointment.

Donna and Douglas are up in California preparing their American home for selling. Lina is also in the States visiting her kids. Both will be back before our departure so we can say our goodbyes.

This week on Wednesday, Susy, the owner of the home we are in returns. We will spend two nights in a beautiful B and B we have always admired. Then another week in the centre of town looking after a dog for a friend of Susy’s in her home.

We are in no hurry to return to what we understand still includes some snow and blow. We have successfully applied for and been given one last house sit. It is in Walter White Land….Albuquerque New Mexico. We’ve always wanted to see Santa Fe and it’s only one hour away. The temperatures are somewhat cooler but there will be lots of hiking and exploring to do. We are looking after a 24 year old cat. Pray it doesn’t die on our watch.

We will leave here on March 20th and head for Arizona where we spend a little time with Ron and Bev We will get to hear first hand about their adventures in Mexico this past Winter. This year our paths didn’t cross here in Mexico but we look forward to seeing them in Arizona.

It’s been quite a while since writing in the blog. These are just a few recent highlights of Lynne and Greg’s latest excellent adventure.

Posted by: In: 2014 Winter Trip 19 Feb 2014 9 comments

Those were the headlines in all the Toronto newspapers the day before we were crossing the border from Laredo Texas for our 2 day drive to Ajijic Mexico – the town where the two were murdered. We were hit immediately by a double edged sword.

AjijicBoyBetween living here for a year and a half and a lot of other winter months, we’re spent a lot of time over the last 4 or 5 years here.  We feel as safe here as we do anywhere. You have to have a few ‘street smarts’ anywhere these days. I must admit that, I feel a bit nervous for the first hour after we cross the border heading south. Truth be known, although the border is where the most drug violence takes place, Drug Lords don’t want the extra heat that murdered gringos brings down on then, but, I think there is just a bit more of a chance of getting hit by s stray bullet along the border than anywhere else we travel.

We always spend the night in Laredo Texas when we’re heading down here. We do our last minute shopping there where we can buy familiar foods at regular, not imported prices. We finalize our car insurance and, no matter how hard we try, there are always a few last minute details we need to look after. We grab a room in fairly standard US hotel and get our butts up early so that we can cross the border bright and early. We figure that no self respecting drug lord gets up before 11:00 am!

It was the night before we crossed that we got emails, phone calls and Facebook messages from just about everyone we know telling us about the murder, telling us to be careful and telling us they were worried about us. That brings us back to that double edges sword thing.

On one hand, it’s great to know that so many people care.  On the other hand, it would have been a lot easier on our nerves if everyone had waited a day or two. All those messages sure tuned up our nerves for our night before the crossing. I don’t think either of us got the best sleep ever that night.

In case you didn’t read the original story, here’s a link to the original report.

We got to town here after a beautiful, uneventful 1100k drive. The only thing that happened to us was that the sun came out, the temperatures rose to the 80′s, and we drove through some beautiful country side and into the mountains.

It took us all of 2 hours to get the story from down here. The basic facts written about the couple were correct. The initial published story made it sound alike a random murder though.

The part of the story that was missing was that there was a construction site beside these folks house. I’m not sure if an old house was being knocked down or if a new house was being build on a vacant lot but, apparently there were a couple of Mexican labourers staying on the site. It’s not an uncommon occurrence here that the labor families practically move into the site while the work goes on. (It takes a LONG TIME for a house to get built here!)

The two guys were making too much noise for the woman’s liking. Rather than taking over a couple of beers and asking them to keep it down, she apparently took to yelling and screaming at them. That’s the wrong approach in most places and most certainly here. They lowered  the noise for a bit but, turned it back up shortly afterwards. I think this went on for a couple of days until the women went to the La Floresta (Rosedale of Ajijic) folks and complained. The guys were fired. They’d seen the women take a nice new big TV into the house a few days earlier. They broke into the house at 2:00am on e morning to steal the TV.  The couple were still awake and could identify they burglars so, in a stupid attempt to protect themselves, they murdered the couple. I think the fact that they took I’m out quickly but let her bleed out tells a bit of a story of it’s own.

It’s not a nice story but, somehow, knowing the facts feels better knowing there was a dumb reason for the killing and that there weren’t just a band of bandits running wild on the town.  The police / army forces that descended on the town was fast and numerous.  We’ve been told that every level of security forces was here, helicopters flying overhead and some big shot from the government came to town to address the nervous townsfolk.

I was told recently that there have been 17 Gringos murdered here over the last number of years. The full total was 34 I think but, suicide, spousal murder and drunk guys falling over balconies don’t count.  There were 598 homicides in Canada in 2011

The worry about “Murders in Mexico” makes me laugh. I always want to answer with, OMG, better not go to the United States, there was a murder in New Orleans. It really does make me realize how much we are manipulated but sensational headlines.

The bottom line from all of this for us is . . . . . thanks for caring guys. We love you all too.

Posted by: In: 2014 Winter Trip 06 Feb 2014 2 comments

We are in Venice Beach tonight at a hotel that is not on the beach.  We will explore the town and beaches a wee bit in the morning before heading overland to Daytona to spend an evening with Greg’s cousins Carol and John.

imageWe left our most adorable waterfront, family run hotel in Clearwater early this smorning in a misty light rain.
We drove through Indian Rocks, Bradenton Beach, St. Petes where we had breakfast in a cute little place.  After our meal we drove across a huge causeway  to Long Boat Key where my Aunt Rose and Uncle Carl owned a place for many years.My Aunt was a very classy lady and as we drove through her little piece of paradise I could just picture her on the golf course and living in one of the many stunning high-rises or town houses.  I never visited her there so don’t know how   or where she lived.
From Long Boat Key we drove into Sarasota and stopped at Publix to buy some sandwich food. We had a picnic by the expansive, white beach.  We then went into the town which is like Disneyland for the very rich, very WASP, very old. The cute little shops were mobbed and filled with expensive baubles.  I call what we saw today….”sport shopping.”  Lots of that going on there.  We saw many badly done facelifts as well…..and many, many post 80 year olds.  Sarasota in NOT for us.
We were told to go to Siesta Key next because as our hotelier told us in Clearwater, it is the last of the Florida Fishing villages.  Although it was more laid back than Sarasota, we didn’t see any fishing boats, fishermen or fish for that matter.
Florida is densely populated, every square inch has a condo, a motel, a restaurant or retail. There are a few exceptions.  I think we’re very close to Sanibel which is supposed to be different, but which we don’t have time to explore this time.
That being said, so far, I think we concur that Clearwater is our favourite Florida destination.  I think perhaps when we’re older we could come to that town and rent a place for a month for some quiet relax time.  Now we know.
Posted by: In: 2014 Winter Trip 04 Feb 2014 7 comments
We took a day off from traveling yesterday and hung out here in Tallahassee. The downtown is kind of small. No shopping to speak of. Tons of government buildings and guys in suits walking around. I guess they were government guys but, I kept mistaking them for Jehovah’s Witnesses. I expected them to reach into their little self important briefcases to try to sell me a Watchtower!
We wandered all through the old parliament buildings. Tons of displays and lots to read about. It never ceases to amaze me how cruel we are to one another and how big the struggle to control everyone else is. Thank your lucky stars you were born white!!
Lynne and Janet on Panama Beach.

Lynne and Janet on Panama Beach.

Our trip through the south has been a bit of an eye opener for us. First of all, it’s been like driving through the Twilight Zone somewhat after the snow storm. I understand how they don’t get much snow so, if an comes at all, traffic comes to a screaming halt but, by the time we drove through both Atlanta and Birmingham, the snow had melted 24 to 48 hours earlier. We couldn’t  figure out why there were still hundreds of abandoned cars everywhere along the sides of the roads. Some were damaged, and I’m told some were out of gas but, most were not. I would have thought that by 48 hours later, at least the car thieves would have been out!

The underlaying attitude towards blacks is shocking too. Maybe we (Canadians) live in a very save, liberal or, as George Carlin called it, a pussified world. I’m used to looking at people as individuals and deciding from there what I think of them. That big bad black brushstroke seems to be still swinging widely down here.
We took our time driving through the ‘Florida Panhandle’ or, the ‘scrotum of God’s waiting room’  as I prefer to call it. Nature is beautiful here. Huge sparsely branched but with huge bright green needle pine trees mixed in with palm trees that are constantly opening up to white sand beaches and ocean are spectacular. The number of small towns with more abandoned stores and houses than populated is scary. I’m still seeing signs for houses for sale, no deposit, just take over the payments around, even here in the capital. At home I hear folks talk about how they haven’t received a raise in a few years or, they are working a couple of jobs but, it seems like there are a lot of hopeless folks who have lost everything down here. It makes me think we should thank our lucky stars that we have whatever it is we have. There’s a ton of folks out there with a lot less.
OK – enough depressing shit. We’re heading down the coast today. We’re setting the GPS to Venice. That should get us through the Sarasota / Tampa area’s. I’ve been there years ago on a training trip I was on. I didn’t see much from the front of a classroom and, Lynne has never been down the west coast of Florida so, we’re looking forward to another fun day.
It’d tell you what the temperature is here but, I don’t need another flurry of endless “Screw You” emails today!  :-)
Posted by: In: 2014 Winter Trip 29 Jan 2014 2 comments

We’re off on another adventure trip of sorts. The plan is to meander through the US for a couple of weeks and then make our way back down to Ajijic Mexico for 5 weeks. At the end of that time, if the weather is still cold and snowy at home, we’ll head up to Arizona and Utah and travel around until home temperatures get comfortable.

As I write this can’t help thinking “What’s wrong with those folks” who could retire but “Don’t know what they’d d with themselves” Maybe we’re just lucky being born with this adventurous spirit.

We left on Monday and made our way slowly to Pittsburg where we spent the night with Lynne’s cousin Judy. I’ve always liked judy but, never really spend any time with her. We had  a GREAT evening. I’m so glad I got to know her better. We went out for dinner to a place called Br Gr – Is that not the best name for a really classy burger joint. My Bison burger was fantastic!

Tuesday we made it to Cindy and Ed’s place in North Carolina. Cindy and I worked together years ago. We re-connected a few years back and, the four of us have a great time together. They are both fantastic host and hostess and . . .Ed is a GREAT cook! I had one of the best steaks ever last night for dinner!

We thought that the weather would have warmed up a bunch by the time we got to NC and, it had. It was only about -10 and snowing as we pulled into town. All we heard about in the morning though was how bad the roads were everywhere. I gave Ed a hand pushing a half inch of snow off of the driveway before we left. The side roads had a tiny bit of snow  but, the highways were clear and, for the most part, totally dry.  They warned us that Atlanta was shut down because of the  snow.

4 1/2  - 5 hours got us to Atlanta.  The roads are dry . . . and empty. It was like driving through a ghost town. There’s a 1/2 inch of snow at the sides of the roads. People here just don’t know how to deal with snow around here. I’m told it snows about once every two years here. . Cars are abandoned everywhere. No restaurants open. Grocery stores are open and are CROWDED! We have no idea why the cars are still abandoned. I met a fellow at the store. He’s an older black guy. Really nice and fun to talk to. He said to us that NOW he understands why the sough lost the war!

The sun has been shining, roads are 98% clear and dry but, all these abandoned everywhere. There are an unbelievable number of cars sticking 2/3 out into the lane they were driving in. No reason that we can see of at all for them to still all be out there. Crazy.

I generally figure that, it’s good to have stuff go screwy on a trip. If you get home and everything was perfect, what have you got to talk about.  So far, we’ve got tons.

We’re off to Birmingham tomorrow. They tell us it’s been closed down too so, I’m counting on empty roads again!

Posted by: In: 2014 Bike Trip 19 Jan 2014 0 comments

I find that the ‘planning for and getting ready’ for a trip is almost as much fun as the trip itself. Where to go, who to see, what to see, how to pack, what to take etc is a blast for me.

I’ve played a bit with the route I’m thinking of going on. I bought a copy of “The Milepost,” advertised as the Bible of North Country Travel since 1949. I’ve been reading a few books that other riders have written about Alaska bike trips. I usually don’t like to know much about what I’m heading into. I’m easily influenced by other people and I’d rather have my adventure be my own, not confirmation of someone else’s experience.

EnzoFramedI am concerned about the roads in the north.  I’d heard lots of stories of guys pushing their bikes through mud and trying to ride on gravel roads. I love my new bike but, it’s an 800 pound cruiser, not a 300 pound off road bike. From what I’m reading, it looks like I can do the trip on all paved roads unless I want to take the Klondike Loop up to, yup – the Klondike. I’ll make that decison when I get there I expect.

I have crossed the Rocky Mountains several times in my life. I’ve done a few trips in the car, either from Ontario making my way to Victoria, or a few times from Calgary, and once from Toronto up to Prince George. I rode Red (my old 2006 750 Honda Shadow) across the country and the mountains. and crossed back from west to east a few times through the US. I’ve never travelled north/south though. It looks like I’ll have to go back south east from Anchorage to Whitehorse and then cut south through the mountain to Vancouver.

I think that whole north end of this trip is going to be spectacular. I can see too, that I’m going to be out of cell coverage area a lot on this trip. I “don’t-play-with-others” and therefore ride alone. I LOVE it that way but, it’s not the safest way to travel. I only got caught out one night on a trip a couple of summers back when I ended up spending the night near Big Sur that there was no phone or anything that would let me let Lynne know that I was OK. I’ll be in a number of those areas on this trip so, I’ve done some research on GPS transmitters. I think having something on the bike that was pushing my location up to a map online is a good idea. I’ve looked at a few units over the year but, they’ve always seemed pretty expensive.

SPOT Gen3

SPOT Gen3

I saw a unit, a SPOT GEN3 at the Annapolis Boat Show last year. It’s reasonably priced. The service plan didn’t cost all that much. It’s promoted as “Giving you a critical life-saving line of communication using 100% satellite technology.”  Sounds impressive doesn’t it?  :-)

It will allow me to send text messages home to let Lynne know that i’m OK, regardless of where I am. It has a single push button that will alert the GEOS International Emergency Response Coordination Centre if I need it and, if something happened and I couldn’t push the button, at least I can be found.

I’m playing with it now to make sure it’s working fine and, that I know how to work it.  It tracks movement and posts to a map that I’ve embedded at www.GregCollett.com/gspotmap. I had it turned on last night when we came home from friends out it Mississauga. John was watching the map and, within 30 seconds of getting home he texted to ask if we were safe in the house or, had we driven into the lake.

I love electronic toys and, this one look alike a lot of fun as well as having all of the safety items. I love getting  ready for another bike adventure!!

Posted by: In: 2014 Bike Trip 01 Dec 2013 0 comments

I have no idea if my blog still updates my social media sites or not so, this is a two part post:

1. Do I need to re-configure my blog to update social media
2. Start the ball rolling on next summers bike ride.

A big part of the fun of heading out on a trip, for me, is in the planning of it. I must admit, the thought of just heading out with no plan at all feels even more exciting to me but, I’ve been thinking or riding to Alaska since I got my first bike a couple of years ago. I’ll save that ‘No Destination” ride for 2016. (2015, if all goes to plan) will be my East Coast Canada and US trip.

This summers trip will be, Home to Alaska, to Vancouver, to San Diego, to Kentucky and Home again. It’s about 18,00 kilometres. I expect to be gone for no more than 6 weeks.

None of my mapping software seems to want to save the complete route so, I’ve had to break it down into legs. Here’s the preliminary leg 1, Home to Dawsons Creek. The only planned stop for this leg is in Sheboygan for what is turning out to be my annual dinner with friends from work days gone by!

 

Posted by: In: Ajijic, Traveling 28 Mar 2013 5 comments

We’ve been home for a week already. Looking at the huge pile of snow at the end of the driveway and the ice covering the lake, I’m wishing we’d stayed a tiny bit longer!

I was concerned before we left for Ajijic this winter that I’d be disappointed and might ruin my memories of the place. It ends up, I has about half right. Mexico, and specifically Ajijic where we stayed is wonderful. The weather is amazing. Folks are friendly. Family is of utmost importance and trust is abound. There’s lots to do and see. I’ll carry a warm place in my heart for the place until I die.

RedPianoIt was very different though, visiting for a couple of months versus living there indefinitely. I was disappointed to find myself “doing this again” as opposed to being on an exciting new adventure. There were 4 people I was looking forward to re-connecting. That ended up a 50/50 split. We had a great time with Donna and Douglas. Dinners, parties, weird lunch at a HUGE BBQ pit and, a cool night with Douglas and I playing a few tunes together at the Red Piano! Lina started out as my Spanish teacher but, became one of my best true friends in the world. Dinners, movies, great conversations mixed in with some business plans made for good times again too.

I really didn’t connect with the other two folks. I saw them briefly, but the excitement of re-connecting was one sided. That situation puts in a tailspin of insecurity and self doubt. It’s an uncomfortable space for me but, maybe it’s good to ‘reflect on self’ once in a while. I think I may need a shot of “Humbling” once in a while. (Maybe we all do)

It was interesting to see how little changed. we looked at a house that was started to be built before we left 2 years earlier. It’s looking like it’s going to need another two years to finish it off! I talked with a shop owner that I knew from before. She was very excited to tell me about her marketing plans. I don’t know if she was aware that, they were the same plans we’d talked about before. The only thing that had changed was, we were 2 years older!.

One one hand, the slow pace makes me crazy. I like to jump, occasionally a bit too quickly, on a new idea and see it up and running in a heartbeat. We, which includes just about every Gringo (Canadian or American) laugh at the way Mexicans usually conduct business. “If they did this or that differently” is the common statement we make when we know, or think we know, there is a better or more efficient way of doing something.

Lynne pointed out something that made me think a lot about that sort of thing. I sum it up as, “We may know how to conduct business efficiently but, we have no idea how to conduct a balanced loving family life.” A friend of mine wrote an article about the power and joy of saying “Hello” to a passer-by on the street. “Buenas Dias”, “Buenas Tardes” and “Buenas Noches” flows from the lips of almost everyone, everywhere, all day and night long. There’s no question for a native Mexican that 3 out of 4 Sundays are spent with the wife’s family, the other Sunday is spent with the husbands family. If you want to see a look of disbelief and shock on someone’s face, go and explain the governed “Family day” in Canada to them.

I think we may have a lot of advice to offer in the ways of making more money but, I think we should shut up, look and listen as to ideas on how to live a life. Moving slow has it advantages too.

GuanajuatoWe made a couple of trip to other towns. Guanajuato, with the roads running through old silver mine and river caves was fun and exciting. The GPS just doesn’t work well at all underground! Watching life in the town square may not sound like fun but, it goes on 24 hours a day and, is an adventure in itself. Street vendors, families hanging out, bands playing and, others just watching the wheels go ’round.

San_Miguel_de_AllendeSan Meguel de Allende is an artist town about an hour away from Guanajuato. Guanajuato was about a 5 hour drive from Ajijic through beautiful countryside. It seemed that, beside the obligatory town square and the cathedral, every other shop was an artists gallery. What I learned there was that, just because you call yourself an artist and own a shop, it doesn’t mean you’re art is good! (A bit like calling myself a musician I think!).

We had a great time on that trip. The towns, the shops the people, everything was new. I may have decided that I almost never want to do ANYTHING twice. ‘Something new’ versus, ‘that again’ is a no brainer at the moment anyway.

Our trip home was a blast. I was sad to say goodbye to the dogs on the ranch. (I’m trying to not call them ‘my dogs’) Sad to be saying ‘See you later” to friends there but, on the road was a hoot. We had a touch of excitement at the Mexico / US border, but that worked out OK. That was the first time we’ve ever been sent over to the ‘rip your car apart’ area. A couple of purchases from ‘Knife Town’ may not have been appreciated but, our guy was in a hurry. A quick look into a couple of bags and, we were on our way.

We ended up doing a bit of a musical journey coming home. We got to Austin Texas at the end of the South by South West music festival. The main shows were over but, there was still music everywhere. Memphis likes to say it’s the music capital of the world but, we heard that again in Nashville. Both towns were great. Music dancing out of every pup and bar along the strip. I could easily become a strolling alcoholic minstrel in any of those towns.

LakeHouseAnd now, back at the Lake House. Still lots to do here finishing off the inside and starting on the outside when the weather gets a bit warmer.

I don’t know when we’ll get back to Mexico. I can imagine living there, but, not for a while. We both have a pretty big itch to travel and see a lot more of the world. We’re thinking of heading to South East Asia for next winter. We’ve only heard good things about Thailand and Vietnam. With Jordan still working in China, we could see him as well. Time will tell. We need to fill the well up a bit after all we’ve put into the house and this last trip.

It looks like we’ll be here for just about all of the summer. “Come on down, sit on the porch and have a cold one with us”

 

 

 

 

.

Posted by: In: Traveling 16 Feb 2013 0 comments
Posted by: In: Traveling 14 Feb 2013 9 comments

Guanajuato

Unfortunately when we woke up Tuesday morning to head out on our road trip to Guanajuato Greg had a very upset stomach.   We got off to a later start than expected as we decided a clinic visit might be in order. The diagnosis was a bacterial stomach infection, easy enough to get here as we know from experience.  A visit to the pharmacia to fill the prescription and we headed out.  He wasn’t cured instantly but anti-biotics are quite amazing and by the time we passed Guadalajara he was already feeling better.

It took about 4 hours with stops and we arrived in the Colonial city of  Guanajuato the capitol city of the state by the same name.  We had been warned that the city was connected by a series of tunnels that are built over the rivers that used to run through the town.  After 2 unsuccessful attempts to find our pre-booked hotel we parked in one of the tunnels and we were approached by a kind of creepy looking street urchin who we hired to lead us to our hotel which was not accessible by car at all. He did so very easily  and we were delighted to find a very chic and modern “boutique” hotel in the heart of the town, two minutes from the square.  We checked in and were told we had to park our car on the outskirts of town and then take a taxi back.  George (our questionable guide) lead us through the entire process.  People are very inventive here in Mexico when it comes to making a living.

After a bite to eat and a wander through a most lively square we went back to the front desk of our hotel to book a tour for the following day.  Only Spanish speaking tours were available unless we wanted a private guide and a tour that would only be for the two of us.  It was more money than we had wanted to spend but we bit the proverbial bullet  and reserved for 10:30 the next morning.

G. is a University town with over 42,000 students.  That is part of why it  is such a vibrant and exciting place to be.  Lots of young people, lots of activity.  It’s in the bowl of a series of mountains and the multi-coloured homes that dot the hills make for a gorgeous site.

After breakfast in the hotel on Wednesday morning we met our guide and driver.  We visited a Hacienda that had been at one time a place where silver from the many mines that dotted the hills of G. was brought for refining.  We visited the different stations were a variety of processes took place and the house where the owners lived at least part of the year.  All quite grand and the grounds were stunning.  It is now deemed a heritage site and is owned by the government but the last owners were not miners but rather the family who brought type writers to Mexico.  We visited a church built by the spaniards up very high in the hills.  The most fascinating part of the tour was seeing the mommias (mummies) which were found in a cemetery on the outskirts of town by two French archeologists about 70 years ago.  These bodies were buried against the wall of the cemetery because they had no known relatives they were in cheap wooden coffins, buried standing up.  Due to some natural phenomena relating to the dry weather and the positioning of the coffins, the wooden boxes decayed but the bodies became naturally mummified.  They are all now preserved behind class enclosures and it was quite macabre to see their shoes and clothing and in many cases their facial hair and their teeth  and their wide open mouths.

We saw some of the grand homes where the rich mine owners had once lived….now converted into hotels or government buildings.  Our tour ended around 2 and we both concurred that we were glad we had decided to do it.  Guanajuato is a very European looking Mexican city with very few English speakers.  It is colourful and lively and one of the nicest town I have seen so far.  We had a lovely dinner last night in a fancier restaurant in the square and enjoyed people watching and were entertained by a carpet vendor who kept lowering his price on one particular carpet that Greg really considered buying.

That brings us to today.  Feliz dia de San Valentin everyone.  The Mexicans are into this celebration in a big way.  Makeshift shops were everywhere selling candies, flowers and big balloons to buy for your Lover.  We thought it was appropriate that after another lovely breakfast in our hotel, we visit the Calle de Besso, a street so narrow that if you lived on one side of the street you could lean out your window and kiss your neighbour on the other side of the street.

San Miguel de Allende.

We wandered back to our hotel, packed up, checked out and hailed a taxi to take us to our car.  The journey to San Miguel Allende was through more mountains and we snaked our way around hair pin turns that had me gripping tightly to the seat and holding my breath.  We had heard it was not as friendly here as in Ajijic.  This is another town that is populated by many Gringos and unlike other places we have been all the buildings are painted the same brick red colour which makes for a very pretty site in its own way.  We parked and meandered.  One American who lives here lead us to a hotel but it wasn’t to our liking.  More wandering and then the realization that we were starving.  We happened upon an adorable cafe and had a wonderful lunch and a great chat with folks from Oregon who are visiting family just for a week.  We still didn’t have accomodation and finally found a Mexican style hotel and checked in.  We had a little geeking time after finding a parking place for our car…..supposedly a valet was supposed to take our car but he said he was too busy so we parked it ourselves.  We found a fantastic dinner place.  They have burger night on Thursday and I had the most delicious salmon burger I have ever tasted.  Greg’s hamburger was outstanding too.  We’re now back in our room and have decided to stay here tomorrow night too.  We are quite impressed with what we have seen so far and want to spend and extra day exploring.