The bad news is that the waves of Arctic air that have kept the US and Canada in the deep freeze for the past month have been chilling residents and visitors to Lake Chapala, and even dumped a bit of unseasonal rain here in central Mexico.
Ok, we know that most of you north of the border will either mutter sarcastically or laugh yourselves silly that we are complaining about being uncomfortably cold, especially considering that our daily lows have been in the 45-52 F range, while late afternoon highs have ranged from the low to mid 60s.
Wait! Hold that mouse! Before you shake your head in disbelief, consider this…for most of us, the only source of warmth this time of year is the sun, and it’s been cloudy a lot here…the humidity has been between 44 to 93% and we even had an unusual all-day rain just a week ago.
Most of the homes here are not insulated, the windows and doors are far from air-tight and while some homes have fireplaces, most houses have no source of heat on afternoons when the sun’s rays don’t stream through the south windows. I’m betting that even you folks in the Northern US and Canada kick on the heat when the temps drop to 45!
If you’ve just come in from trying to scoop another 6” of snow out of your driveway you are less than sympathetic to our plight. But if you are considering a winter vacation, you need to know the reality of winter at 5,000 feet above sea level in central Mexico. Bring socks, sweats and sweaters. You won’t need a parka, but bring clothes you can layer to keep warm. especially once your body adjusts to living here.
This time of year it’s easy to know at first glance which of the folks you see are the newly arrived snowbirds. In the Walmart parking lot Saturday I saw folks swathed in t-shirts, corduroy shirts, sweaters, jackets and shawls hurrying past the newly arrived visitors sauntering along in tank tops, short sleeves, shorts, and sandals. It’s an interesting example of the contrasts of living in Mexico.
While medically our blood may not really “thin,” we sure do feel the cold more after we’ve lived in this climate for a couple of years.
What a Difference a Week Makes
I took that pictures at the top of the page the Ajijic plaza on January 2. We were startled by the thunder and even more surprised to sit and watch water run along the edges of the umbrellas that usually shield our breakfast crowd from the bright morning sun. We delayed our departure for 10 or 15 minutes while we waited for the raindrops to stop splashing onto the plaza.
After a week of nearly constant clouds, I as so delighted to see the sun and blue skies on the way to breakfast Saturday (January 9), that I stopped in the middle of the Ajijic plaza to take this shot of the chapel bell framed by the mountain, the lifting clouds and the trees on the plaza. Imagine how pleased we were to have sun all day both Saturday and today. Now we can resume to our normal routine of going outside to sit or stand in the sunshine to get warmed up.
Mexico Insights Weather Tip: If you want to keep up with the weather here at Lake Chapala be sure to add a bookmark to http://chapalaweather.net/ . If you’ve been checking the temperature and rainfall using the more obvious Yahoo, Google or Weather sites, you’ve been seeing the information for the city of Guadalajara. Most of the year, there’s an 8-10 degree difference between Lakeside and the city, even though it’s only about a 45 minute drive. We’ll put the stats from Lake Chapala’s weather station in Riberas del Pilar into the links on this page to make it easy to check the weather when you come back to read our new posts.