Mexico has many interesting things that I have come to learn and enjoy in the first few months of me being here. First, Living in North Carolina for a couple of years, you learn to be patient. In the south things are slower and relaxed unlike the bustling city. You can appreciate the small things in life. But the farther you go down south the slower things become. Especially when your toilet is having issues and you call the retail company, and they say they’ll send a plumber over tomorrow. There is standard time and then Mexican Time. Standard is when they say what time they will be there and then be there at that time but Mexican time can mean a week later. It’s not that they don’t care. The Mexicans are typically kind and friendly and willing to help and are hard workers but the pace of life is slower. Time dragging behind is one aspect of life.
In Lake Chapala there are small towns that skirt along the lake. Each unique, giving off its own vibe. Abbarrotes or tiny grocery stores populate almost every street corner. They mostly have cool drinks, snacks, baked goods. Mostly what a convenient store would have in the states. These little stores can be like a crack in a wall for how small and how many there are.
The main highway is the Carretera or road in English. You can take this road all around the lake except when you go west toward Joco there are a few turns you have to get around. While driving, you can see some crazy things. People on mopeds zipping in and out of traffic, nothing crazy there but one time I saw a man drinking a beer while driving a moped and then another time a man peeled out onto the main road while slurping back a cold one. So when driving, be careful and pay more attention than normal. The Carretera is paved and there are small speed bumps called topes that appear every couple of miles. Now all the roads that come off the Carretera, and wind like a maze to houses and businesses, are cobblestone.
When walking, I usually look where I walk because it’s easy to trip and fall. The sidewalk could drop off a foot leaving you open to face plant. Stray dogs run the streets and leave behind poop on the sidewalk so there is that to watch out for. Walking the streets has helped me see the culture and hear the Spanish language. Driving alone does not give you the enriching experience as walking does. There are many things you can easily miss. One time I followed the music of EL Mariachi, it was thunderous and beautiful with a five piece band orchestrating it. All of them dressed in a snugly tailored black suit and vest, extravagantly trimmed embroidery and silver buttons. They were on a poor empty sidewalk under a balcony. Was anyone listening to this, I thought? Coming to Mexico I see Mariachis all the time serenading the locals.
Mexico is a unique place and the lake Chapala area gives tourists a beautiful place to visit with nice walks on the several boardwalks or Malecon along the lake. There are many restaurants that can surprise you with their delicious variety or with their charrales which are fried anchovies. There is more to write about Mexico then what this article contains.