Lots of cool human lizards slither at the El Chameleon – Best Dive Bar in Ajijic.
Did we go there? Can’t remember.
Yes, we did. You probably can’t remember because you were in deep conversation with Captain Morgan that night.
I remember you taking me home. Couldn’t remember the name of that bar. I didn’t think it was a dive. Kinda cute. And that hot little Mexican cutie thought you were cute. Did you ever find her again?
No. It’s a dive. A nice dive. But a dive.
Now I am embarrassed to show you, my dives. Hahaha. Lol! Why do you call it a dive bar? What kind of bar is it?
It’s the No Chance Saloon. It’s the Bedrock Bar, The End of the Line Cafe, The bottom of the Sea Rathskeller! Although they do try to keep up appearances with all their pipe dreams of yesterdays and tomorrows, as you will see for yourself if you are there very long.
I have now made my third foray onto this enchanted isle of beautiful sunsets, gorgeous senioritas, and delicious margaritas. I am talking of course, of the magical town of Ajijic, Mexico located on the shores of Lake Chapala nestled in the shadows of the Sierra Madre mountains.
Ajijic is an Indian name meaning the place where the water flows. In 2021 Ajijic was appointed Pueblo Magicio (Magic Town) by the Secretary of Tourism of Mexico for the work of this town in protecting and preserving its cultural heritage. It is a sight to behold and welcoming place to visit. While we are here we will be looking at property and seriously considering joining the already large expat community that currently lives here.
We already have friends who live here and we are making more every day. Many of our friends and acquaintances make regular pilgrimage here. It is a wonderful place to visit and I hope to live.
Yesterday we went to a musical event at a local hang out called El Bar Co. They had a rooftop band called The Romeos and it was packed. Here included are a few snaps from the event.
Buddha and I go back many years and I love him like a brother. But you know how I feel about my brother. And it’s because of this guy that I started coming down here in the first place.
Buddha brings a little chaos with him everywhere he goes. Like the other night. We went to a dive bar called El Chameleon. On the way there he was on a video call with a friend from Louisville and showing her the way. He was walking 20 paces ahead of me. I asked him where this place was and he said he knew how to find it. Is it past Colon, I asked. I don’t know, he answered. So he took a left on some street and we walked two blocks to a dead end. Oh! This is a dead end he says. Well, why did you turn down this street, I asked. Because I don’t know what I’m doing, he said. Then he took off again retracing his steps and gabbing to the woman in louisville the whole time while I am trailing along behind him and wondering why.
Finally we get to El Chameleon and I call him out on the video call and he tells the lady, I got to go. So we go in and have a couple of drinks and he settles down a bit and we have a nice conversation. Turns out he was in there the previous night with another friend of ours and he meets this beautiful Mexican Chick who tells him to ditch the blonde. That’s why I wanted to come back here tonight to see if she shows up again. The truth comes out.
The next day He tells me he has slowed down a lot and is not so much always in a hurry. Yes you are! I say, and I remind him of the events of the previous evening. He says, and I quote, “Fuck you! And for now on, The first thing I’m going to say to you when I see you is fuck you, just to save time.” Maureen is falling out her chair laughing. With that, Buddha gets up and walks over to a beautiful Mexican woman sitting at another table and whispers in her ear. She turns her head to look at him and smiles. Then Buddha exits the restaurant.
I went to Pamplona to run with the bulls and catch a couple of bullfights. I had never been to a bullfight before and didn’t know what to expect. I had rather a detached and academic approach towards the whole affair but I must admit I was fascinated by what I saw and emotionally moved.
To prepare for my journey I brought with me to read, Death in the Afternoon by Ernest Hemingway. I have prepared some quotes from the book to accompany the pictures I took. No on can quite explain the experience of bullfighting like Ernest Hemingway. He is the master.
There are three acts to every bullfight. They are always the same. The first act is where the bull charges the picadors and the matador distracts the bull with his cape. The picador drives the steel of the pic into the neck muscles of the bull to weaken it.
Act two is the banderillas. They are a pair of sticks about three feet long tipped with a harpoon-like shaped steel point at on the end four centimeters long. They are placed two at a time in the humped muscles at the top of the bulls neck as the bull is charging the matador. They are designed to complete the work of slowing the bull down. Four pair are usually put in.
“So, I went to Spain to see bullfights and to try to write about them for myself. I thought they would be simple and barbarous and cruel and that I would not like them, but that I would see certain and definite action which would give me the feeling of life and death that I was working for. I found the definite action, but the bullfight was far from simple and I liked it so much that it was too complicated for my then equipment for writing to deal with, and aside from four very small sketches, I was not able to write anything about it for five years and I wish I would have waited ten.”
-Ernest Hemingway, Death in the Afternoon
The last act is the sword and the muleta. The muleta is a red cloth folded over a stick. With the muleta the matador masters the bull before going in for the kill. Finally the matador kills the bull by thrusting the sword high between the shoulder blades of the bull.
“The bullfight is not a sport, that is it is not an equal contest or an attempt at an equal contest between a man and a bull. Rather it is a tragedy, the death of the bull, which is played more or less well by the bull and the man involved, and in which there is danger for the man, but certain death for the bull.”
-Ernest Hemingway, Death in the Afternoon
“So far, about morals, I only know what is moral is what makes you feel good after, and what is immoral is what you feel bad after and judged by those moral standards, which I do not defend, the bullfight is very moral to me because I feel very fine while it is going on and have a feeling of life and death and mortality and immortality, and after it is over I feel very sad but very fine.”
-Ernest Hemingway, Death in the Afternoon
All photos by the author except the photos of himself which were taken by his wife, Maureen
On a recent trip to Birmingham I visited the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute. Across the street from the Institute on the side is the 16ths Street Baptist Church. Directly across the street on the front side is Kelly Ingram Park. This complex is steep in the history of Birmingham and the Civil Rights movement in this country.
The 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, was bombed by white supremacist terrorists on September 15, 1963. Four members of the Ku Klux Klan planted 19 sticks of dynamite attached to a timing device beneath the steps on the east side of the church.
There were four girls were killed in the attack: Addie Mae Collins, Cynthia Wesley, Carole Robertson, and Carol Denise McNair, and between 14 and 22 other people were injured.
Martin Luther King Jr. described the bombing as “one of the most vicious and tragic crimes perpetrated against humanity.”
The 16th Street Baptist Church bombing marked a turning point in the United States during the civil rights movement and contributed to support for the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by Congress.
In the years leading up to the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing, Birmingham had earned a national reputation as a tense, violent, and racially segregated city, in which racial integration was met with violent resistance. Martin Luther King Jr. described Birmingham as “probably the most thoroughly segregated city in the United States.”
The Four Spirits sculpture was unveiled at Kelly Ingram Park on September 2013 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the 16th Street Church bombing. The sculpture was crafted by Birmingham-born sculptor Elizabeth MacQueen and designed as a memorial to the four girls killed in the bombing. It depicts the four girls in preparation for the church sermon at the 16th Street Baptist Church in the moments immediately before the explosion. The youngest girl killed in the explosion (Carol Denise McNair) is depicted releasing six doves into the air as she stands tiptoed and barefooted upon a bench another barefooted girl (Addie Mae Collins) is depicted kneeling upon the bench, affixing a dress sash to McNair; a third girl (Cynthia Wesley) is depicted sitting upon the bench alongside McNair and Collins with a book in her lap. The book depicts a refrain from William Butler Yeats’ poem, The Stolen Child. The fourth girl (Carole Robertson) is depicted standing and smiling as she motions the other three girls to attend their church sermon. At the base of the sculpture is an inscription of the name of the sermon the four girls were to attend prior to the bombing—”A Love that Forgives.”
My visit was quite a history lesson. It is one I believe everyone should be aware of and, in my opinion should be taught in schools all across America and not covered up. Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it.
On the 16th we went to the Lady Gaga Show sponsored by the Lake Chapala Society. This is a club for ex-pats. They put on shows and have a beautiful compound with many attractions for members and guests. The show was quite entertaining and the performers were excellent.
A conversation with Al Mitchell. While waiting for the Show to start Al and Maureen were conversing. I was just half-listening and sipping my red wine and enjoying the beautiful day.
Maureen: When I broke my foot, I had to wear the black boot of death.
Al: I know people who when they had to wear a boot on one foot would wear one on the other foot just to keep their balance.
Me: Whoa! Wait a minute there, Al! Who do you know that wore two boots?
Al (laughing): Well, I can’t remember their names.
Maureen: It sounds feasible.
Me: Give me a name. Name me one person who wore two boots.
Al (laughing): Well, I might have made that up.
Me: You damned right you did! That is preposterous! Your whole story is preposterous! Caught you, didn’t I?
Me and Al both laughing. We “clink” out plastic cups of wine together and let it drop. So it goes.
Later that evening had dinner at the Peacock Garden Restaurant. Al Mitchel, Maureen, and a few others who were at the Lady Gag Show. Later Cindy Joined us.
What I like about Ajijic is the number of fine restaurants it has to offer and the chance to socialize with friends and meet new people.
Ajijic is a great place to wander around to get to know the area and its inhabitants. It is a charming little village of about 11,000 people. Many expats live there and others from around the globe travel to Ajijic frequently. We had friends that were there so we were able to socialize with them while on our visit.
Below is a working farm just around the corner from where we were staying at La Casa Campbell. We walked by it everyday.
The other pictures depict some of the streets near where we were staying . We were walking distance of Lake Chapala so we usually walked there everyday.
One of the most enriching aspects of our trip to Costa Rica was meeting the wonderful people that live there. They were friendly, hardworking, happy and always smiling. The have a saying in Costa Rica, “Pura Vida,” and it punctuates everyone’s speech. They say it in greetings and in goodbyes and whenever else it makes sense to say it. It means, “the pure life.” And they surely enjoy life in their beautiful country. I hope you enjoy some of the pictures I took of these happy inhabitants.
Fernando was our driver on our first day in country. He picked us up at the airport and drive us to our first destination, the Arena Volcano. On the way we stopped for lunch at Mi Rancho.
This is our guide, Grevien. He took us on a tour of the rainforest.
This is my guide Corry. He took me on a waterfall tour and to the beach.
Last night in Evansville Indiana at Mojo’s Boneyard, I had the opportunity to see Vanessa Collier Live! She put on another fabulous show with her great band backing her up. She projects powerful vocals and belts out a bluesy sound as she sings her original compositions and covers the classics. Miss Collier is a virtuoso saxophone player and always excites the audience with her signature moves as she walks out into the audience and plays a little at each table and then moves on. She is a real crowd pleaser and I predict she will become a big star someday.
My only complaint was Mojo’s no picture-taking policy which quite cramped my style. I did get a few shots but not exactly what I wanted. Oh well! The main event was listening to that great sound and watching this amazing performer connect with her audience. If you ever get a chance to see her, I highly recommend that you do. She is currently on tour.