Saturday, July 25, 2015

Crusing On The Cobblestones.....On Four Wheels

Instead of driving a big red fire truck yesterday Clyde was driving a little, red golf cart through the streets of Ajijic, Mexico.  For something different we decided to rent a golf cart for $30 from a gringo owned company called, "Lake Chapala Golf Carts." It seemed like it would be a fun and easy way to explore the tiny town, or so we thought.  We forgot about one little thing, or should I say many little things that line each and every street in this town.  Those pesky little things are known as cobblestones and make for a rough ride.

Our Ride For The Day

We Took A Short Hike To This Waterfall
Views From Hilltop

Sights Around The Neighborhood
A Mural On Someone's House 

Another View 

This Is A Type Of Altar Where The Procession Begins On The Day Of The Dead
The Day Of The Dead Is A Mexican Custom Of Remembering The Dead On November 2nd

Cobblestones Everywhere.....With A Tree Growing In The Middle Of The Street 

Local Cemetary

Many Elaborate Graves 

And More 

Different Homes
Local Shops, A Truck With An Elephant In The Rear Advertising The Circus Is In Town

An Interesting Light Fixture 

Another Waterfront Malecon In The Village Of San Antonio Tlayacapan

Town Square in San Antonio Tlayacapan 

Tiny Local Church 

Old Women Ringing Church Bells Every Fifteen Minutes

Municipal Building

Caught Him Drinking From Fountain
Too Cute

Our Rental Car......We Just Walked Away For A Few Minutes And Came Back To This
Just Kidding...... 

Mexican Caballeros Shoeing Horses

La Floresta......A Ritzy Part Of Ajijic

Another Home

After getting the hang of it by driving around for a while we stopped for lunch at a hole in the wall restaurant.  A tiny place that specializes in "torta ahogando," which literally translates as, "drowned sandwiches."  This is a type of sandwich commonly eaten here for lunch and something that I just had to try.  The only choices offered in this little place were either the sandwich or tacos, so I choose one and Clyde had the other.  When my sandwich arrived it was served in a bowl.  A sub type of roll filled with chunks of pork, with sliced red onions on the top of the bun.  The whole thing was covered in a generous helping of red juice, that reminded me of a watered down tomato soup flavored with meat. Clyde was served the same type of meat but it was put into corn tortillas and also drenched with the red sauce.  While my sandwich was tasty it wasn't something that I'd choose to eat often even if we lived here.  The total for the two meals including one drink that we shared came to $3.50 and we were both stuffed full.

Tortas Ahogadas Here

Tiny Restaurant With Two Choices On The Menu 

Clyde's Tacos

The Famous Torta Ahogada
I Had A Spoon, Fork And Knife To Eat It

After lunch we drove around the heavily populated tourist and gringo area and Clyde mistakenly drove down a one way street. Wherever Clyde goes he manages to find trouble so of course there was a police office nearby who noticed and pulled him over.  The officer approached the golf cart and began his questioning.  Clyde asked, "is this a one way?" to which the policeman said, "si."  Clyde apologized but the officer still wasn't done with him.  He then asked for the documents on the vehicle and we explained that it was a rental and we didn't know where they were.  He than began to scold Clyde saying that this type of vehicle is ONLY to be used on a golf course, and never allowed on the road.  I interjected explaining that it was a rental and asked that he call the owner of the company who told us the cart was legal everywhere except on the highway. The officer asked Clyde to step out and walked him over to the police car to talk to his supervisor.  Finally Clyde just said, "are you going to give me a ticket?"  It was then that the policeman said, "go....get out of here."  Of course all of this was in Spanish and Clyde was nervous dealing with a police officer in a foreign country.

The owner of the golf cart rental company told us about the police here and said they were usually looking for a bribe.  He said he'd never seen one actually write anyone a ticket but assured us if we received one he'd pay it, unless it was our fault. Upon returning the golf cart we let the owner know about our experience to avoid any similar problems occurring to future customers. The owner did contact the police department and tried to talk to someone about the problem.  Apparently this man did consult with local authorities before opening this business.  They assured him of the laws regarding golf cart use and he was told they were legal to use everywhere except on the main highway.  We were allowed to cross the highway at traffic lights to access the other part of the city as long as we proceeded with caution.

Back at the casa we rested up a bit before heading back out for dinner.  Since we were up to our eyeballs in Mexican food we opted for another choice.  A nearby Italian restaurant called, "Alex's Pasta Bar, " caught our eye so we headed over that way. The lovely little place was decorated in a black and white color scheme with the menu printed in English.  A young, Mexican waiter welcomed us in English as he took our drink orders and offered us a menu.  He came back with a small green salad topped with sliced salami alongside a bowl of cut up tomatoes, onions and cilantro in lime juice. A basket of round crusty bread slices was served also and I asked if it was all "gratis" or included, to which he said, "si" The menu offered a large selection of pasta dishes with a choice of many sauces.  Clyde ordered cheese and spinach ravioli with a white sauce while I ordered the same ravioli but with a red, wine sauce with bacon. The food was yummy and served with a small plate of round, seasoned bread rolls. The restaurant was elegant, crisp and clean looking which certainly gave it an expensive look.  Yet each of our meals was only $90 pesos which converts to just $5.50 each. A small price to pay for luxury dining which included a few extras along with great service.

Our Rented Golf Cart In Front Of Restuarant
Free Appetizers

Clyde's Ravioli

 My Ravioli

Today we took it easy and headed out for lunch at a place called, "Chile Verde."  The owner of the golf cart company mentioned it to us yesterday explaining that it was a tiny hole in the wall that had cheap, good, Mexican food. The place was so small it had only three tables with a tiny cooking area in the back.  Clyde ordered a Mexican plate that came with chicken enchiladas, rice, white refried beans and a chili rellano (stuffed chili pepper). I ordered two chicken tacos that were served with cilantro and raw onions. To drink Clyde had a lemonade and I had iced tea.  The total for all of this was only $132 pesos or $$8.15, and we left there stuffed again.  And out of the three tables in the joint there was another table with Texans.  A couple that moved here from Austin were having lunch with a female friend so we chatted with them a bit as we all dined.'

Today's Lunch Place......Chili Verde Restaurant 

Clyde's Lemonade Made With Tonic Water

At several local stores we noticed a square thingy  that looks like some sort of bird seed formed into a patty that resembles a rice crispy treat. So today while at Walmart we decided to buy one of the strange little creatures which were displayed with the candy, so we assumed they were people food.  Turns out after reading the ingredients they are made with amaranth or "amaranto" in Spanish which is a kind of weed, plant or flower grown locally.  Another strange ingredient was something called "piloncillo" which is a type of unrefined sugar commonly used in Mexico. The bar has about 174 calories. plenty of carbs and even some protein.  The taste can best be described as a cross between a rice crispy treat and pop corn, lightly sweetened and made up of millions of tiny, little balls glued together with a sweetener.  I think these are something that I like and would eat again, providing that I don't start chirping or jump off the roof thinking that I can fly. Time to relax on the rooftop terrace so I can, well ah.....put that theory to the test?

Bird Food Or People Food?
It's People Food

Just returned from a dinner out at a place called "Gossips."  Clyde told me I'm writing too much about what we're eating here, but let's face it there's not much else exciting going on.  Since this isn't too much of a touristy place we can only venture out to touristy things so often, the rest of the time we're hanging at the house with the cat just chillin'. Anyway, back to the food we enjoyed some crispy fish tacos topped with veggies, sprouts and an orangy sauce.   They were served alongside black bean chili and we just couldn't resist some sangria too.

 Tonight's Dinner.....Fish Tacos, Minus One That Clyde Already Ate And Black Bean Chili
Spotted This Tree While Walking Back To The House 

Strange Windows And Sculpture

A Cute Puff Ball On A Balcony

Family Coming Home On Horseback

More Local Homes

They're All So Different 

Love The Door

A man seated beside us at a table alone was chatting on the phone in Spanish.  We couldn't be sure if he was a foreigner from elsewhere in Latin America or a dark complected gringo, but his Spanish was fluent yet easy for us to understand.  As I eaves dropped on the conversation I heard him say there were many gringos here and they all had lots of money.  Although I was thrilled that I was able to follow parts of his conversation there was yet another part of me that hated being stereotyped.  But I suppose it is ......what it is......and to many others in the world us Americans ARE wealthy, even though we all know we're not.  Perhaps it's just another experience we've had while out exploring life......along the gringo trail.

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