Monday, November 29, 2010

The Village of Ajijic

The town we are most near is Ajijic. As we leave our street and turn left on the Carrretera (main road around the lake), after we pass the Walmart, the "Boulevard" begins. Adjacent to both sides of the regular road are lush, huge trees lining each side and then a smaller cobblestone street that runs in front of the residences. We often walk there on our evening walks and there IS an ice cream shop that lures Roland that way too.

Once you come to the end of the "Boulevard" you are spit out right into the bustle of downtown Ajijic. There is a large church, of course, in the Centro where there's a large square with a gazebo. On every Wednesday, there is a large market partially along the "Boulevard". As you wonder the tiny side streets, every corner opens to a colorful new block and there's fascinating architecture at every turn. There's even tropic forest-like nursery's sprinkled in hidden places. I mean, look at the size of this stagehorn fern!!

We've even grown feeling safe enough to check out celebrations at night in Ajijic. Recently there was a celebration for St. Andrews, the patron saint of fishermen, alcoholics and Ajijic! Just my kind of people! So we decided to wander down ... the evening was lovely. What we found was that the entire town Centro was blocked off, setting up carnival rides for the wee ones and eating, art and gift vendors for the adults. We discovered a "Cultural Center" where we went in to view the art. T'was a variety of media ... some I was impressed with and also saw one oil from a local artist I'd met already (Efren Gonzales, who is more mentioned later in this post). The lovely interior mural which goes high up the wall are the walls to the bathrooms. Imagine "the bathrooms"!!!!Art seems to just pop up everywhere!! Which reeeeeeeeaally makes my lil heart sing! We took a seat at our favorite coffee shop across from the Centro church where Mass was taking place and then, watched the locals go fill the streets with celebration. One fellow on a horse just trotted up the street past us!

We'd heard this festive occassion was just a prelude to the upcoming 9 days commerating the Revolution and Independence. Since we aren't real partiers, we did hear that celebration from our home spot about a mile away from downtown. From before 6am and late into the night music, firecrackers, churchbells and, oh yes, the roosters were cheering on and on and on. Anyway, I digress ...

One of the first days we were in Ajijic, we parked and found we were right in front of Efran Gonzales Gallery and Studio. Of course, I went in. There he was working on a oil piece in the middle of the studio. Luckily, he spoke English well and we talked for some time. Not only were his oil, acrylic, pastel and watercolor pieces amazing - - but he'd just recently tried ceramic work too! On the middle of the floor was a maybe, 8 x 10 foot mural, that was to be installed into one of the Ajijic City buildings soon. What most impressed me with this gentleman, was that he said daily children came in and he instructs them. He talked about how his son had talent but didn't want to be an artist. Efran had told him he still needs to honor "his gift" and educate himself in the arts as he may need it. What a beautiful way to view our talents and how we need respect them. When I asked for a card, he wrote me out one on a scrap of matt board, saying "my wife does all the publicity stuff". As I walked the streets, I saw more and more work of Efran's everywhere. I'm showing you two of his public pieces. Pretty strong, eh?

The town of Ajijic feels most stimulating to me. Lots of art, great markets (did I tell you we found both an organic as well as regular?), amiable locals, and I've discovered one women's group that just feels like I've arrived "home". Next Monday, I'm testing out the local art club to see how that feels. So, I'm voting for Ajijic as my favorite part of this area - - so far. Now Roland, he seems to be attracted to the city of Chapala. But . . . that will have to be another blogpost.

More from this seekers vantage point soon . . . stay tuned!

No comments: