We left on 11-11-2011 and came home on 20-11-2011 (How's *that* for some Funky Numerological Krep?).
As we were departing San Jose Airport, I was hurriedly attempting to download some English-Spanish Translators onto my Droid (only to discover that most required an Active Data Connection!). I did end up finding a couple of "Offline Translators" (which was a Very Good Thing since data cost something like $20+ per Megabyte!!!).
My Spanish is "passable" in the Resort Areas of Mexico ("Otro mas Margarita en las rocas, por favor, y un cerveza para mi esposo!"). Not-so-much en El Corazon de Mexico!
Anywaaaaaay.... We arrived, a bit disheveled and travel-weary, in Guadalajara at around 7pm, and had to do the whole Customs Thing. When you arrive in Mexico, they've got this push-button thing where, if you get a green light, you breeze right through. But if you get a red light, they have to paw through all of your sh*t. And we were *not* traveling light!!! (9-days + Scuba and Snorkel Gear!)
Well, Hubs decided to to the "hit the button" thing and, well, he has utterly craptastic luck and we got the RED light. Damn! So they had to search our bags :::sigh:::
Not that we were carrying anything questionable (although I was worried that my ceramic creations might've gotten broken in transit!). Between us, there were 4 suitcases and two smaller carry-ons!
Well, they looked through almost all of the bags and then I hefted my Big Bag onto the table - only to discover that the zipper on my bag had gotten completely destroyed in transit. The ONLY way to open it would have been to slice it open with a knife (And Gawd-Help-Us - we still had to drag it outside and load it into D's car). They wanted to search my bag and pushed it over to me to see if *I* could open it. No such luck!
I attempted, in my best broken Spanish (along with hand-gestures) to explain that we needed a knife or scissors to open my bag. "Lo siento! No abierto!" :::Big Frowny Sad Face:::
Well, the only "questionable" item they had encountered in the search, thus-far, had been 2 cartons of cigarettes in DH's luggage. They questioned me about that and I admitted that I had a 3rd carton in my luggage. "Dos para mi esposo - y uno mas para mi!"
They ended up just waving us through ("Thank Goodness!")
Anyway, we survived that ordeal, then wandered out to meet D. Thankfully, she had parked her car (since I didn't know what it looked like - other than the fact that it was a Toyota Matrix Weenie-Mobile - a HUGE step-down from the Porsche 911 she *used* to drive!). And I am soooooo glad we didn't have to slice my luggage open at the airport, 'cuz it was a bit of a trek to get to her car! (I'm envisioning my undies flying out of my suitcase as we attempted to haul it over the curbs leading to the parking garage!!!).
She had emailed me the night before our departure to confirm that she was picking us up. Thankfully, I did warn her that we weren't traveling light so she left her husband at home! (I honestly don't think we could have ALL fit into her car - with our luggage!).
Anyway... She picked us up and drove us to her home in Jocotepec - probably about an hour outside of Guadalajara.......
Oh. My. Gawd! What a BEAUTIFUL home they have!!!! They are on a mountain-side, overlooking Lake Chapala ("Million Dollar View" in the US - More like $350K in Mexico). I think she said her house was appx 3200 square feet. "Open Concept" with the kitchen open to the Great Room. The Great Room has vaulted, boveda ceilings (kinda like brick "arches"). 3 BR/2 BA. The Master Suite is separate from the other bedrooms (and overlooks the lake). Abso-freaking-lutely STUNNING!
All done up in Terra-Cotta Orange, Warm Yellows, Bright (almost neon) Greens, with Cobalt-Blue accents. I was sooooo thrilled to see that my gifts A) Survived the trip and B) Actually *matched* her house (although the spoon rest was more "orange" than Terra-Cotta).
I'll post pictures in a separate blog entry...
It truly is an amazing home. The house is set on a steep hillside, and they've built out the Terraza so that they've got an outdoor dining room and second, outdoor, living room with sofas and a firepit. And the most amazing Mariachi Sculpture... And potted plants hanging everywhere... And wrought iron-work... And Terra-Cotta tiles on the roof... And gorgeous Mexican artwork throughout (including a simply amazing, larger-than-life Don Quixote sculpture attached to one of their stone walls)... And Black, punched-tin, 3D Star-light chandeliers (one big one in the entry hall and one multi-size/multi-star chandelier over the dining table). Abso-freaking-lutely AMAZING!!!
The amazing thing is: Their lot is actually pretty small, yet they have essentially 6 "yards."
- There's the "front yard" (which I am attempting to help with Landscape Design ideas).
- The main Terraza, which overlooks the lake (Did I say they had an Amazing View of the lake? Oh GAWD!!!).
- They also have an upper "side yard" (mostly gravel) which is where the dogs "do their business,"
- Then they have a lower yard with grass (Same purpose, I think!)
- Then there's a "Garden" side-yard, where D is maintaining a "Kitchen Garden." It's smallish and buts against the neighbor's house (very close - but you don't "feel" it - at all). The Garden-Yard also has a built-in gas BBQ grill and fish-pond( That's where we spent most of our time b/c their neighbor had unsecured WiFi - Plus we were able to smoke out there!
- And lastly, the Guest Room has it's own Private Terraza (Smoking okay - but no internet access!)
I attempted to take a "panoramic video" of their terrazas (but it's a little jittery! No Motion-Stabilization on my cheesy El Cheapo Big Lots video cam!). I'll try to upload it to YouTube and post a link here (later!)
I'll post a bit more about our Adventures, later. I've gotten side-tracked with "Catching up on Reality (UGH!)" But I'll try to post more later...