South of Guadalajara, a thirty minute ride in a fast moving taxi will get you to Mexico's largest lake, Chapala. Picturesque towns ring the lake like a sting of pearls. Chapala, Ajijic, San Coslo, they are all havens for retirees from Canada and the United States. Why? Because the weather is great and the cost of living is low. But, that's not what brought me to Chapala. I was there to experience my first international artist residency. 360 Xochi Quetzal is a residency started by fiber artist Deborah Kruger . I stayed in Deborah's Lime Casita, newly renovated and lovely. During my residency I worked on some "Postcard Paintings" of Chapala, Guadalajara and previous adventures for my LEAP 366 life ring project,(always trying to catch up as you can see with the lateness of this post)! In residency at the same time was, Katie Shepard, a writer and podcast producer of, What's Happening Here, from NYC. Since Katie is all about audio, before she left I asked her, "What are the top three sounds that you associate with Chapala?" Her answer, "Mariachi music (every night is a party down on the Malecon), Dogs barking (agree), and Fireworks (it was Our Lady of Guadalupe's celebration season)". To the dogs barking and the saint's fireworks, I added Sweeping. My Casita was across the road from Parque Christiana which was lovely and full of flowering trees. Every morning all the leaves and blossoms that fell overnight, where swept away by people with large, handmade brooms.
Chapala was a mix of the old and the new. The rich and the poor. A vibrant culture full of color, sounds, smells, families, and art. The pictures below will give you just a taste of what my time there was like.
Traveling is always a way to open your heart and eyes to new things and people. Chapala and Mexico in general was no exception to this rule!