A Sneak Preview of the June Issue

by Judy King 31. May 2010 07:40

Tomorrow is June 1 and the new issue of Living at Lake Chapala will be released. BUT…we can’t wait…here is a sneak preview  -- it’s part of the new “From the Editor” Column – it always has a rundown of the month’s articles

Did you know that you can always read “From the Editor” (whether you are a subscriber or not)? Just go to http://www.mexico-insights.com and then select the “From the Editor” column from the current issue.

A Giant Park, a Visit to Cuenca, Admiring Colima and Vacations in Mexico
Our Living at Lake Chapala writers have been working hard for you this month. Wait til you see this line up of articles by this well-traveled group. Leading off the adventures, Herbert Piekow, who has been living in Guadalajara for a few months while immersed in a Spanish course, returns with a new view of another feature of that wonderful city.

In our June Feature Article, Herbert takes us on a guided tour of Parque Agua Azul. I'm not sure what I want to visit first, the butterfly house, the bird environment, the paleontology museum or the orchid house (more than 400 in bloom). Such a dilemma Herbert has presented for us.


Which sounds like more fun to you, a few hours in an enclosure full of beautiful orchids or one that is filled with butterflies? You can do both just a short distance apart in Guadalajara's Parque Agua Azul.

Next, head right to our People, Places and Things column and vicariously enjoy a month in Cuenca, Ecuador. A recent national article ranked Ajijic and Cuenca at the top of the "Best Retirement Places You've Never Heard Of." How sweet is this, our friend Georgina Russell spent the winter experiencing life in Ecuador, and she gives you a peek, including costs of living there in this article.

Jim Cook is back in this issue's Out and About column. This month he's sharing with you his journey to the nearby city (and volcano) — Colima. You'll discover the wide range of attractions that area has to offer in this piece which is studded with Jim's always great photos.

You met the delightful Carolena Torres in our last issue's story about her trip around Lake Chapala. This month, in our Getting Here piece, she shares with you some of the adventures that highlight the 22 years of vacations she and her husband, Joe, have enjoyed in Mexico.

Lakeside's Coffee Expert, A Favorite B&B, and Mexico's Wedding Traditions
Even though we keep telling you that the most interesting people end up moving to Lakeside, our writing team members keep interviewing fascinating folks we've met but didn't know their pre-Lake Chapala experiences. In this issue Dianne Kocer is interviewing her good friend and coffee gourmand Kevin Knox. We think you'll recognize the names of some of the coffee and tea selling companies he's worked for!


(Left:) We're guessing that our favorite Ajijic coffee shop looks a little different from those Lakeside's coffee guru Kevin Knox developed — but he's loving the organic Mexican coffee. (Right:) Do you know about the mastodon skeleton that was found on the then dry east end of Lake Chapala a few years ago? Herbert visited Lakeside's favorite pre-historic specimen in a Guadalajara park.

Next up, Harriet returns to Villa Eucaliptos to have breakfast with Ralph Moniz, the innkeeper who helped Harriet and her husband Paul settle on the shores of Mexico's largest natural lake (along with a bunch of other folks!) Take a look at this great friendly inn for your next trip to Lakeside, or as a place to house your overflow guests.

Then, Judy has accumulated a set of wedding customs and traditions. You'll learn some of the superstitions (don't give the bride pearls) and understand what's expected if you are asked to be the madrina de tequila or de rama (the godmother of the tequila or of the bouquet).

Arranging for Medical Procedures, King of the BBQ, Meatball Soups in Every Culture

Karen Blue is back! She recently discovered a pair of new services available here at Lake Chapala who are arranging medical procedures for area residents or visitors who have private US or Mexican health coverage. Read all about SurgeryHost and MDabroad in our Health and Safety column.

Ah, we're winding up this issue with a pair of food columns. Wait till you see the great looking ribs our BBQ Scott Richards has prepared for you as he explains how to throw the meat on your Mexican grill and save a heap of money — here's one tip: use carbón not pricey imported charcoal briquettes!

Then Judy and Lorraine are in the Mexican Kitchen making a dish in the style of several familiar cultures. Meatball soup is a home cooked comfort food in Mexico where it has a touch of chile and a bit of mint. Judy remembers her mother's meatball soup served over a bed of rice and garnished with fresh parsley and Lorraine recalls her grandmother's Italian meatball soup with cannelloni beans! We've included a simple recipe for the Mexican version that we know you are going to love.

Now that's a good way to end things — with some barbeque and some great comfort food. It's a great issue, and we're sure you're going to enjoy it, from start to finish.


Judy King is publisher of Mexico Insights—Living at Lake Chapala, a monthly online magazine for people interested in Mexico's Lake Chapala region, in the state of Jalisco.

Judy, a 19-year resident of Ajijic on Lake Chapala's north shore, conducts weekly newcomer's seminars and shares her expertise about Mexico in her ezine at www.mexico-insights.com, and in the "Mexico Lindo" column of the Lake Chapala Review.

Judy also is a speaker for local organizations and visiting tour groups about the Lakeside area about Mexican customs and holidays.

Not Just Another Pretty Blog

by Judy King 1. May 2010 09:04

Mexico Insights isn’t just this blog you enjoy reading every day or two. In fact, this is the little sister publications in the Mexico Insights family. Nine years before MI’s Facts, Fables, Folklore and Fiestas was revealed, Mexico Insights – Karen Blue was the other part of the “we” back then --  began publication of a monthly, full-blown online magazine, Living at Lake Chapala (http://www.mexico-insights.com)

Since January 2002, we’ve released a new issue of Living at Lake Chapala on the first day of every month – each issue stuffed with full-length articles about the people, places, facts and things you need to know to visit or live at Lake Chapala. 

Here’s a preview of what’s in the new May issue:
The second best way to weather the hot afternoons of May is quiet work on the computer (the best is reading a good book in a shady hammock). There's plenty of great reading in this month's issue of Living at Lake Chapala to fill a few of those warm afternoons. Here's a preview of this month's offerings.

A Nod to Moms and their Day
Take a look at how we've honoring motherhood this month. Our Feature Article visits a large Ajijic family. You'll like meeting these folks. Mom and dad still run the small family store on Colón, meanwhile their eight siblings have achieved a great deal of education and success. We're not sure how they did it, but this is certainly an inspiring story of a determined mom and dad.

Then one of our favorite writers, Diane Goldstein shines the light on being foster parents — to puppies. Diane and her partner, Ellen, found that providing a home and bottle raising a pair of pups was more work than they imagined…2 a.m. feedings and all. You'll enjoy this story about Taking on the Bitch's Kids in our Homes and Lodging column.


(Left:) Diane and Ellen's English Sheepdog, Special Ed, has proudly proclaimed himself Puppy Daddy of Ralph and Alice, the fostered pups. (Right:) Ralph and Alice have grown into healthy and hearty playful puppies. Expected to reach about 60 pounds each, they still have some growing to do in their new forever home.

Judy is wandering around the area a bit this month, making a list of special places to go to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, the arrival of special guests and…yes Mother's Day. Look for this rundown on great food and great ambiance — and some places that have both in the Mexican Kitchen. (Well, of course, it's Mother's Day…you didn't think Judy and Lorraine would be cooking, did you?)

Peace Corps Volunteers, San Miguel and 100 Miles Around the Lake
Jim Tipton is back on the job this month…he's been out visiting Lakeside residents Judie and Bob Terry. Not only are they both returned Peace Corps Volunteers, Bob was right there at the beginning when this fine organization was in its infancy; in fact he led the first Peace Corps team. We keep telling you there are special folks here at Lakeside — and then we find more people who surprise even us. Read this story in the Community piece.

It's no surprise that Harriet Hart would head off to San Miguel Allende for the writers conference — she's been on the organizing committee for the Lakeside event every year. What did surprise even Harriet was how much she came to enjoy the keynote speaker at the event, New York Times bestselling author Barbara Kingsolver who has penned the Poisonwood Bible, Prodigal Summer, The Bean Trees, Animal Dreams, Pigs in Heaven and some eight others including her new book The Lacuna which is set in Mexico.


Two of our writers planned winter trips to San Miguel Allende. (Left:) Anita Lee recorded this picture of indigenous dancers. (Right:) This colorful street is typical of many San Miguel scenes.

Lakeside resident and writer Michael McLaughlin and his wife, Anita Lee, recently completed a grand tour of Mexico — spending about a month in several different areas. He's agreed to share his views on these areas for readers who may want to visit, or even consider spending some extended time in another part of Mexico. This month this talented pair (he writes, she shoots the great photos) have taken us to San Miguel Allende. From the famous main church, the pink stone Parroquia to their favorite taco stand, there's a lot to learn in this article.

This winter we got to know a wonderful pair of snowbirds — Carolena and José Torres. This delightful couple has been traveling in Mexico for three decades and spending time at Lakeside for more than 20 years. This winter they accomplished a long-standing goal, they traveled all the way around the lake, coming back through Mezcala. If you've been thinking about trekking around the lake, take a look at the sights that Carolena and José discovered.

Seeking Treasure, A New View of Lakeside, and Breathing Again — What a Gift
Janice Kimball is back this month with a Soul of Mexico article about seeking Mexican treasure — a Sunday expedition to find a legendary cache of golden coins hidden at the time of the Revolution. What a story this is…and what a fun read.

We welcome Scott Richards to our writers galley this month (he'll be back next month, too). Scott is new to Lake Chapala, and he's shared his first impressions of our little corner of paradise in words and his own photographs. He's made this month's Getting Here column a colorful trip around town.

We're wrapping up this issue with Phyllis Rauch's recent surgical experience. She can barely quit raving about the difference in her life and we're thrilled to have the "real" Phyllis back again after an extended time of not feeling well and barely having the energy to drag herself from point "a" to point "b". Who knew that blocked sinuses could create such problems, or that opening them up could restore normal life! We're so glad she's better and know you'll enjoy reading her piece in the Health and Safety column.

It's another great lineup of stories folks…I've enjoyed reading and preparing these articles for this month's issue. I know you're going to love them too.

By the way, it means a whole lot to our writers to get "fan mail." If you read an article you particularly enjoy, be sure to send a quick email to info@mexico-insights.com. We'll pass it on to the writer who will be thrilled to hear from you!


Judy King is publisher of Mexico Insights—Living at Lake Chapala, a monthly online magazine for people interested in Mexico's Lake Chapala region, in the state of Jalisco.

Judy, a 19-year resident of Ajijic on Lake Chapala's north shore, conducts weekly newcomer's seminars and shares her expertise about Mexico in her ezine at www.mexico-insights.com, and in the "Mexico Lindo" column of the Lake Chapala Review.

Judy also is a speaker for local organizations and visiting tour groups about the Lakeside area about Mexican customs and holidays.

Top 10 Tips For Buying Real Estate at Lake Chapala

by Judy King 16. April 2010 07:21

Top 10 Tips for Buyers at Lake Chapala

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Even newcomers who have bought many homes in other parts of the world eventually realize that purchasing real estate in Mexico is a whole new ballgame.

Almost all local real estate deals here are for cash payment, with the full amount paid by wire transfer on the day of closing. There are precious few opportunities for financing of any kind for retirees buying existing homes, especially in this inland of Mexico where we purchase the home and the land is is built upon.

Dealing in a cash market puts a new spin on the whole process.

Here are ten points for you to consider before you buy a Lakeside home.

1. Don't rush. Spend enough time at Lake Chapala (six months or more) to know the neighborhoods and developments, learn how much monthly fees are in different areas and other pertinent facts. Come and rent while you get to know the area and really decide which area is right for you.

2. Get the inventory before you make an offer. Purchasing customs, rules and traditions are different here than they are north of the border. The light fixtures, telephone line, gas storage tank, and water heater may not be included in the sales price.

3. Do your homework. Learn how real estate sales are done here. Don't be taken in by folks who say, "That's the way we do it in Mexico."

4. Trust your instincts. If you get "feelings" in the pit of your stomach, listen to them. Take a break from looking at houses, come back with a fresh head and lots of common sense. Don't be afraid to look "silly" to your agent, it is your money and your life; if it doesn’t feel right, walk away.

5. Ask questions. Don't make assumptions (even “obvious” ones) and don't be afraid to ask lots and lots of questions. Keep a list of questions for your agent as they come up. A good agent will welcome your questions and wants to calm your concerns.

6. Know and understand all the problems. Agents and owners are not bound by disclosure laws. They are not required to reveal anything they know about the house or the neighborhood. You need to find out all you can about the problems in a property, development or neighborhood. Insist on an inspection by an independent inspector. Don't have a potential contractor do the inspection. If he thinks he has a big job coming he has a vested interest in you purchasing this property.

7. Check it out yourself. Go back without your agent to talk to the people living in the neighborhood or development. Ask neighbors who have lived there a while about noise, water problems, sewer problems, and fault lines. What have they heard about the house you like? Would they buy on this street again? Check out the developer's earlier projects. Were all homes sold quickly? What are the problems? What wasn’t finished? How much did the monthly fees go up when the developer signed off?

8. Watch out for drama and promises. In this now much slower market some agents and brokers are anxious to make a sale. The house you love will probably not sell tonight or anytime soon. AND it probably will not double in value in the next few months or even years. Be extra cautious of any agent who uses these tactics to get your signature on the dotted line. Remember that old saying, "If the deal is too good to be true, it probably is."

9. Location, Location, Location. Nearly every buyer here says they are buying the last house of their lives. (I did too, three times, and I’m not living in any of them!) Many other buyers also resell their new homes in a few years. Some want to build, some buy bigger or smaller houses, some leave the area, and some rent. In this market, it can take months or years to sell your home, especially if you spent too much for it.  Always buy a house with resale in mind; be sure to have adequate parking, minimal stairs, a good location and widely desirable floor plan and amenities and the possibility of at least partial handicap access.

10. Don't leave your brains at the border. If a property doesn't have a clear deed or adequate water supply at the time of your offer, don't buy it. All homes here are sold “As Is” with no recourse. Do not continue with a purchase with any questionable conditions or problems. When you purchase a property without a deed or water, you own a property with little value and a lot of worry, stress, and continuing legal and logistical problems. That’s NOT what you want or need at this time of your life, especially in another language and country.

Remember that when you pay cash for a house at closing, you aren't building equity or creating a tax advantage. You are taking a big chunk from your retirement portfolio and you are probably making the largest cash purchase of your lifetime. Take your time. Rent first until you know the lay of the land here at Lake Chapala.

You’ll find more information about purchasing real estate and about renting here at Lakeside in the archived issues of the Mexico Insights online magazine Living at Lake Chapala and at the weekly Living at Lake Chapala seminars held every Thursday at 10 a.m. in the bar of La Nueva Posada in Ajijic.


Judy King is publisher of Mexico Insights—Living at Lake Chapala, a monthly online magazine for people interested in Mexico's Lake Chapala region, in the state of Jalisco.

Judy, a 19-year resident of Ajijic on Lake Chapala's north shore, conducts weekly newcomer's seminars and shares her expertise about Mexico in her ezine at www.mexico-insights.com, and in the "Mexico Lindo" column of the Lake Chapala Review.

Judy also is a speaker for local organizations and visiting tour groups about the Lakeside area about Mexican customs and holidays.

The People of Lake Chapala: Glenn Yarbrough

by Judy King 25. January 2010 17:30

DSC01293 You knew there are a lot of foreigners living at Lake Chapala, but did you know Glenn Yarbrough lives here? The velvet-voiced singer was singing folk music with his group, the Limelighteres in the early 1960s.

We know you remember his biggest hit, “Baby the Rain Must Fall” one of many songs he’s recorded on his own. 

Glenn and his wife Kathleen have been living (at least when he’s not on concert tours) in their home on the south shore of Lake Chapala for nearly a decade.

While Glenn still draws big star-like crowds for his 10-15 US concerts each year, his life here in Mexico is simple – just the way he prefers it. On my last trip to visit Glenn at home, he was more proud of his potting shed and the bins full of compost than he was the nearly completed rambling home he’s been working ever since he moved to Lakeside.

Glenn, a vegetarian, grows much of his own food on his own property, nearly an acre of lakefront property.  which is now studded with a pair of casitas (guest houses) and a real two-story lighthouse.

Glenn has plans for those casitas and lighthouse. Eventually he plans to install a first class sound studio at the house. Then he can have the members of his band join him at Lake Chapala and record and mix their music here.

DSC01298 The lighthouse houses his office and an observation deck open to the glorious view of the north shore. Glenn hopes to fulfill his long-time dream and produce a radio show called,“Through the Lighthouse Window” from the structure.

Meanwhile he has purchased the special beam for the top of his lighthouse. What will he do with that light?

“I’ve thought of flashing messages in Morse code to the foreigners on the north shore. Sometimes when I get back home from a trip over there, I think maybe I should spell out .—.  .-  --.. (paz for peace). Those foreigners over there do get themselves revved up sometimes!”

Glenn, a loner prefers the south shore, where he can putter in the garden, work on his music and enjoy his quiet, peaceful life. He’s cares about the village near his home and, along with Bill and Melinda Gates, he’s donated computers to the small town library.

You can keep up with Glenn, his current album releases and US Tour schedule via his website. If he comes to your north of the border city, do not miss the opportunity to see a performance by this great star. We especially enjoyed seeing his amazing Christmas story and concert, “The Forgotten Carols.”

If you want to know more about Glenn Yarbrough’s home and life here, you can read Karen Blue’s article in the July 2009 issue of Living at Lake Chapala. The full story is available to subscribers of the on-line magazine.

As time passes we’ll be producing more of these short profiles of some of the folks who live here – famous and not, Mexican and Foreign, it makes no difference, we’re all members of this wonderful community.


Judy King is publisher of Mexico Insights—Living at Lake Chapala, a monthly online magazine for people interested in Mexico's Lake Chapala region, in the state of Jalisco.

Judy, a 19-year resident of Ajijic on Lake Chapala's north shore, conducts weekly newcomer's seminars and shares her expertise about Mexico in her ezine at www.mexico-insights.com, and in the "Mexico Lindo" column of the Lake Chapala Review.

Judy also is a speaker for local organizations and visiting tour groups about the Lakeside area about Mexican customs and holidays.

Letters to the Editor

by Judy King 24. January 2010 15:59

Judy King-1 Sometimes being a writer and editor seems like hollering down the rain barrel – it’s fun, it’s something to do, but unless someone yells back, there’s not much point to it.

I love my work. There’s always something new to do and something fascinating to write about. It’s satisfying, knowing I’m doing a good job, but even with this blog and the other three publications I write for and edit, it gets a little lonely here at the computer when I don’t have feedback from readers.

It’s funny how it works, as long as I don’t make bad mistakes, I don’t hear from any of my readers. Then I start wondering if anyone is really out there. You know a writer without a reader is a little like that  tree falling in the empty forest.

We know you are reading the blog and hope you are also reading the other periodicals:

  • The monthly online magazine, Mexico Insights: Living at Lake Chapala
  • The monthly print magazine, Lake Chapala Review, available locally
  • Last year’s slick tourism magazine, Point South distributed in Canada

My wise friend Doris says everything happens just as it is supposed to…and I keep discovering that she is right. 

Just when I’m in the throes of the deadline rush to get it all done, and just when the “to-do” pile is so tall it’s about to fall over on the dog, a message shows up that makes all I do worth while.

Today’s email was as welcome and wonderful to me as the Whos’ shout,  “Hello, We’re Here,” was to Horton the elephant of Dr. Seuss fame. My  message came in response to the Thank You letter we send to subscribers who renew their online subscriptions to Mexico Insights: Living at Lake Chapala.

Here’s what the subscriber said:

Dear Judy,

I wouldn't miss a month without reading about Ajijic and the surrounding areas.I still have the dream of retiring down there and appreciate all the info you provide....Thanks again….David

That letter made my day and more importantly, it gave me the boost I needed to keep on keeping on to finish the new February issue in the next few days. The only thing that would have made it better is if David had also told me which articles were his recent favorites and which subjects he wants to know more about.

See, it doesn’t take much to keep me from feeling as lonely as the Maytag repairman, and while you can email me it’s even easier to click comments below and write a quick note to let me you are out there and what you most like…and also what you don’t.

In about a week we’re going to make it even easier for you to read these little pieces – you’ll be able to sign up (Free) to receive notices of new blog posts.

Meanwhile, let me know I’m not just yelling into the rain barrel!

 

 


Judy King is publisher of Mexico Insights—Living at Lake Chapala, a monthly online magazine for people interested in Mexico's Lake Chapala region, in the state of Jalisco.

Judy, a 19-year resident of Ajijic on Lake Chapala's north shore, conducts weekly newcomer's seminars and shares her expertise about Mexico in her ezine at www.mexico-insights.com, and in the "Mexico Lindo" column of the Lake Chapala Review.

Judy also is a speaker for local organizations and visiting tour groups about the Lakeside area about Mexican customs and holidays.

About Judy King

Judy King

Hi There — Welcome to my little corner of the world. I'm Judy King and I live in the centuries-old village of Ajijic on the north shore of Lake Chapala, Mexico's largest natural lake.

I've lived here full time since 1990, and... [ more ]

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