Last updateFri, 01 Feb 2013 7pm

Back You are here: Home Columns Columns Jeanne Chaussee

Worth it

No one can deny my bitching about the rotten weather (for us) a few weeks ago. The drippy, droopy and downright cold doesn’t do a lot for my personality (too many years growing up in it) but apparently it does a lot for bringing on spring with a vengeance.


A foreign, English-speaking idiot was standing in front of a local barber’s shop and bragging about how he could probably get his haircut and shave even “cheaper” than the prices listed because “that Mexican barber” was probably destitute and would jump at the chance to make even a few pesos. Though the Mexican barber pretended not to hear the booming, coarse comment (Mexicans are masters at politeness) he would have to have been deaf not to. As it happens, he speaks English.

Oh, come on!

It isn’t enough that driving at Lakeside requires constant vigilance due to kids on four by fours skidding from behind parked cars or bushes, beer trucks racing the wrong way down village streets, grandmothers allowing gaggles of tiny children to jump into the street, kids playing soccer, the ice cream man gathering lines of children pushing each other out of line so they can be the first for the next “nieve,” elderly folks with bad hearing and too much gin wandering in the street, drivers backing up against the traffic to access their driveways and bicycle riders passing on the right.

Your panties are showing

When you stand at the meat counter screaming at the clerk that she’s too lazy to find the kind of bacon you want and belittling her for not speaking your language, your ignorance is hanging out like a little girl’s panties when she’s dangling by her knees on the monkey bars. Get some manners and if you think you’re so smart, at least learn how to be polite in Spanish.

Something nice

Our area is filled with charitable organizations doing their good works for children, animals, students and others.


Just when the days begin to grow a little longer, we’re faced with cold drizzly rain, just like they have in the place that I escaped from. You can tell me that it’s “good for the lake,” or make up any other excuse you like but I didn’t sign on for this weather and after living in this climate for more than 30 years, my comfort zone only spans about seven degrees F … and that goes for my cats, too.

Getting late

With July still fresh in the memory it’s hard to believe that fall is really here. The weather is splendid, the air clear and the sunsets stupendous behind the frangipani trees in the breezy evenings. Look closely at the poinsettia plants (trees). They are just starting to turn crimson on the top and when you actually manage to stray from village streets the yellow and orange of wild flowers cover everything!


The sky is blue, the roses are blooming (and so is a really dumb azalea in my garden that doesn’t know it’s in the wrong country), the poinsettias are two stories tall, humming birds are swarming around any blossoms they can find and thousands of birds are itching to be counted in the Audubon Society’s Christmas Count.

They’re here

It seems a little early to me (doesn’t everything lately?), but it’s clear that our wintertime visitors are not just drifting in – they are arriving in droves.

Keep on keepin’ on

The big push is here. You really do need to do all of those chores you were going to do before the big day. I know it isn’t easy with no sleep due to the celebratory sky rockets 24 hours a day, crowded stores and crazy traffic but I’m telling you like I’m telling myself – it’ll all be worth it when you can settle down, sit back and just enjoy the season.
Take your vitamins.


While waiting in the parking lot of a popular local supermarket, I became aware (again) of the carelessness of some local drivers.

Too much

‘Tis the season to be jolly but I seem to be spinning wheels trying to keep up. There’s too much traffic, too much food, too much booze, too many events, too many emails, too much money spent, too many requests for help and too many bottle rockets. Why does it all have to happen all at once?


By now, thanks to friends who frequently post on local blab sheets, most of you are aware that I just spent seven horrific days with both telephone and Internet down. This would be a great inconvenience for most people. For me, it was a disaster since I couldn’t go someplace else to use other equipment because there was no way to know exactly when the repairman would show up.

The rockets

The rocket season is in full swing as we go from November’s Revolution Day to Ajijic’s fiesta of San Andres (nine days), to the Christmas posadas that begin on December 16, through Three Kings Day and Dia de San Antonio in January and on to Candlemas Day in February.   Oops, I forgot the December 12 celebrations for Our Lady of Guadalupe, who appeared in a vision to humble peasant Juan Diego way back  in 1531.

Independence Day

For years, I tried to convince the heads at the local television station in Missoula, Montana that May 5 was NOT Mexican Independence Day.

Ease up

Many of our readers are busy people. They hustle and bustle and give of their talent, time and treasure unwaveringly.  Most claim that they are busier now than before they retired or at least before they moved to Mexico. This time of year they seem to work even harder because all of their favorite charities and causes are staging big events. The social and cultural life expands this time of year because old friends turn up and dramatic and musical organizations want to cash in on the increased population and all of this happens just when local fiestas go into full swing with bangs – the bangs of bottle rockets going off with every excuse (many with no excuse) at all hours of the day and night, so getting enough sleep is difficult.

Getting started

Wow! I hadn’t expected it for a few weeks yet but suddenly our little Lakeside community is coming alive. People are moving around, getting organized (well, sort of organized) and generally looking forward to “the season.”


For Americans (I can’t speak for Canadians since my family left Canada several generations ago), probably no holiday speaks of home as does Thanksgiving. Whether fact or fiction, just the word brings on visions of the perfect family gathered around a table laden with beautifully cooked favorite dishes (each family with its own recipes for them), in a room warmed by a fireplace (and central heating) with snowy trees seen through the window panes. Of course, few families are perfect, the turkey is often overcooked, many neighborhoods and towns no longer allow real wood fires and in much of the United States there is little or no snow this early in the year.


At last. I see that the Canadian Club is going to present a “Survivor’s Guide to Driving in Mexico” talk at their next meeting. It can’t happen too soon! Every day we see folks running red lights (even when they are actually functioning), driving the wrong way down busy streets and laterals, backing out of parking spaces without even a glance in the rearview mirror, and using horns instead of brakes … and these are the good drivers. Consider attending this meeting (see below). If you’re scared, take a taxi!

What to do?

It’s always this way at the beginning of the “high” season. Folks, either newbies or those with lousy memories, start to complain about barking dogs, bottle rockets, loud music from noisy neighbors, people not speaking English and a myriad of other problems that would be solved “at home” by the swift implementation of city ordinances.

Just for me

Why is it that so many people moving here from other countries seem to think that Mexico didn’t exist before they got here? They behave as though it is some sort of fairyland invented and waiting just for their arrival…and in many cases just for them to criticize. They write letters home that there are no plumbers or real gardeners in Mexico and that the place is filled with huge spiders (I guess they are looking for sympathy or want their friends to think that they are extremely brave to come to this ‘awful’ place). The same people are often quick to join various charitable organizations and just as quick to tell those who have labored with the entity for years how it should be run, without any knowledge of its history or the local culture. In some cases, these newly arrived and smarter-than-anyone-else types actually begin to think that they were the founders and at least the saviors of the organization, even though the group has been around for half a century.

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