Last updateTue, 22 Apr 2014 12pm

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More noise

Thought we had heard the end of the election racket. Everything was turned off days before the election. We had two whole days of quiet (as quiet as a Mexican neighborhood ever is).

The vote

Okay, we’ve all complained about the noise: barking dogs, screaming kids, bands practicing, leaf blowers, screw-ball musicians practicing all night long and neighbors’ sound systems in both houses and cars. Some, recently (probably newbies experiencing their first “rainy season” here) are whining about the thunder that sounds like the lightning is ripping through the house.


You can almost hear the echo down Ajijic’s streets with the vacationing hordes having departed, many snowbirds already heading for the border and locals taking a little time to kick back, take deep breaths and enjoy the view. You know things have slowed down around here when there is actually parking available on village streets, near the plaza and the malecon and around popular restaurants.

Different noise

By now those local residents complaining about barking dogs, garage bands practicing through dinner, bottle rockets, kids screaming at 11 p.m. on the sidewalk, soccer balls being kicked against their gates, moving political rallies with loudspeakers on wheels, and all the usual ambient racket of Mexico should have new perspectives this week.

The passport

Since so many readers have sent messages of hope, enquiries and even condolences upon the anticipation of the renewal of my U.S. passport, I promised all that I would let them know how the whole process came down after I had discovered (actually been informed by in-the-know readers) that the dreaded trip to the consulate in Guadalajara was unnecessary.

Right on the button

As a “newbie” in Mexico, and raised in the wet Pacific Northwest, I was astonished when the librarian at the American School where I worked predicted the exact date of the beginning of the rainy season (St. Anthony’s Day). The rains actually began on that day! The downpours were so regular (every afternoon and again in the middle of the night) that picnics could be planned around them. This was definitely not the case in Seattle where nearly every picnic that I can remember was rained upon.

An Easter day

One of the wonderful things about holidays is that they are often events so grand that they become indelible in our memories, even helping form our personalities and the fabric of our lives. Easter was huge in my family, with every possible ingredient in the mix to make it perfect. Grandma took us to church and we got to sit beside her and play with the big catch on her patent leather bag (it made a really neat thunking sound when you pulled it with your thumb). She made bunnies out of the linen hankies she always had with her and she could make them “jump” from the crook in her arm. There were usually Luden’s cough drops in her purse and she always let us have one. Church was fun on Easter because of all the music. Sometimes when Grandma sang in the choir I got to go sit beside her in the loft.


Seems like everyone is getting on the bandwagon to complain about local noise. For some it’s barking dogs (two nights ago I, myself, was looking for a flame-thrower to express my anger at dog owners who insist on keeping their incessantly barking dog outside at night). Sometimes the irritant is the local fighting cock using your window sill to greet the dawn, which for him is about 4 a.m. (I think one such creature ended up as stuffing at the neighborhood taco stand.) It can be the local “big time” musician who comes home on occasional weekends and plays the same chords and eight bars of music on his amplified synthesizer until about 4:30 a.m. One woman wrote about the terrible noise she endures when the neighbor’s garage band practices, although, in her case they only go until 9 p.m. She’s lucky. In 30 years I’ve never lived in a neighborhood where the racket stopped before midnight.


When he showed up we decided right away that we wouldn’t keep him. Even though he was certain this was his “forever” home when he walked through the front door, went directly to the cat food dish and then to the couch where he curled up and went to sleep, I wasn’t as keen on the prospect.

Things that make me crabby when the weather is hot and sticky:

Almost everything.


Those of you expecting what many of you refer to as one of my “rants” are going to be disappointed this week. While life, even here, has its share of irritations (usually in the form of other expats and their lack of sensitivity), there is no denying the bounty of life and color that bursts forth (waxing a little poetic here) around Lake Chapala in the early spring.

The drive

Sometimes it’s comforting to know that no matter how many rumors and how many problems there are, some things remain the same.


Okay, everybody. You’re right. I shouldn’t listen to the first person I talk to at the Consulate about the procedure for renewing my passport. I mean, what should they know about it? It turns out that my rant about the complications of renewing a United States passport were for naught. Guess what!? It turns out that the whole thing can be taken care of here in little bitty Ajijic on the first Wednesday of the month when the representative from the Consulate makes his regular visit. I didn’t find this out from the “experts” on passport renewal. I found out from readers and then double checked at the Consulate. The readers are right (they usually are).

No words

This is the space generally reserved for routine bitching, telling funny stories, waxing poetic and often smug about our wonderful lives here at Lake Chapala. Looking at the news, and knowing what some of my neighbors are enduring, I just don’t feel funny right now. Maybe next week.


Regular readers familiar with this section of the paper are certainly aware of my irritation at government regulations and minutia that seems required at every turn in this country. Flash! It isn’t just Mexico, folks. The high-tech world has moved into every nook and cranny of every move we make, supposedly in order to make our lives simpler. Another flash! I’m not sure for whom it is getting easier, but it’s clearly not for the majority of us.

The sound of silence

Listen! What do you hear? It might be birdsong, kids playing on the street, roosters crowing or the ice cream vendor.


All it took was five trips to that office, my rental agreements (originals), water bill receipts that prove the landlord has the right to rent the property upon which I live, a map of where I live (hand-drawn by me), my passport and copies of it, my FM2 and current car circulation papers, proof of current smog test and 1,400 pesos, and (drum roll here) that the used car that I purchased is now in my name. Oh, I forgot to mention that I had to have the official receipt from when the original owners purchased the car from Ford Motor Company, documents proving that they actually exist and the bullheadedness to actually make this happen over a period of several months.

They’re back!

Those harbingers of the rainy season to come, the cicada beetles, known locally as “rain birds,” are rising from their 17-year rest, climbing through leafy trees and “singing” their good tidings with their unique twittering sound made from pushing air through their abdominal cavities (or something like that).

Standing Out

An opportunity to sit and observe humanity came along this week when the parade I was waiting for was late. The particular humanity I was looking at was the foreigner population.


It’s been clear for a while that time is passing at a dizzying speed. It started when I received my first issue of a retirement magazine on my 55th birthday. It was something of a blow when I was lumped into the same demographics as my father in life insurance commercials and eventually I realized that my dentist and doctors were all younger than I was – never mind the president of the United States and my university alma mater.

Soggy and crabby

I don’t like gray days and rain, a preference that may explain the move from my native Seattle 32 years ago. The rainy season here in central Mexico is tolerable because the sun doesn’t forget to stick its face out every few hours and, due to the lack of rain the rest of the year, the season has an excuse.

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