Thursday, June 19, 2008

Touring the Lakeside Villages

I think my favorite part about living in Patzcuaro is having the incredible opportunity to explore the Purepecha Artisan Villages around Lake Patzucaro. It's truly a gift. The local people are so talented and it's amazing how friendly and open they seem to be with foreigners such as myself.

Local tours guides Francisco and Miguel Angel from Eronga were the first ones to take me to the villages and since then I've taken other friends, groups and tourists around. Every time I go I learn something new, see something I've never seen before, connect on a level that I couldn't have imagined.

I still enjoy nothing more than taking groups around and my colleague and friend Leticia is starting her own tour company called Patzcuaro Tours to give even more tourists and visitors the opportunity to "see the real Mexico."

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Learning Spanish / Teaching English

Having spent a year here in Patzcuaro mastering the art of buying food at the market and explaining why I'm here in Spanish, I wanted to branch out a bit and try to learn some more. My classes at CELEP are great, but there's nothing like sitting with a cup of tea, some home-made brownies, and a beautiful view and just chatting it up with local folks that are as well struggling to learn English.

We created the Intercambio Cafe with an eye towards enabling more and more informal opportunities for locals, ex-pats and visitors to learn about each other and help each other out now and then.

Come join us on Wednesdays from 5pm - 7pm - it's free. Just bring an open mind, a hunkering for home-made (American-style) cookies, a few pesos to tip the set-up, clean-up crew, and a sense of humor. We're meeting at Pueblo Magico at Ibarra #81, just three blocks from the Plaza Grande.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Lake Patzcuaro Artisan Villages

A year after I moved to Patzcuaro I'm finally learning more about the beautiful artisan villages that surround Lake Patzcuaro:

Tocuaro - mask-making

Jaracuaro - sombrero-making

Puacuaro - chuspata or tule weaving (reed-weaving)

Tzintzuntzan - ceramics

Ihuatzio - chuspata or tule weaving (reed-weaving)

Capula - ceramics, catrinas, talavera tiles

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Gardening in Patzcuaro

This is an area where I could use some help and comments. What grows well, when and how?

Edible plants...

We've had great luck with kale and rhubarb plants that we bought form Lisa and Ian's farm last fall. They've been growing and producing for almost a full year now. Our strawberry plants (planted in August) have been hanging in there, fruiting now and then but barely. I think we'll get some this summer? I've also heard that year 2 the strawberries go nuts...

We also planted chard (acelga), roma tomatoes, peas, sunflowers, pumpkin, cherry tomatoes, broccoli and eggplant and got peas and sunflowers year round and tomatoes and broccoli in the spring. We're still waiting to see if we get eggplant and cherry tomatoes as we just planted them. Our pumpkin plant became HUGE and we had to rip it out before it took over the entire garden. It flowered a few times, but we really didn't have the space for it.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Hotel or Vacation Rental

Personally, these days I prefer a vacation rental over a hotel, every time. Even for just a couple of days, there's nothing like having your own kitchen, your own front door, a living room, the comfort of sleeping in and not worrying about whether you're going to like the complementary breakfast and the luxury of coming and going and not having to talk to the receptionist :) Maybe this makes me old and a creature of comfort, but this is where I am right now in my life. Luckily, there are a lot of vacation rentals in the Patzcuaro area:

Lili's Casitas - 3 adorable 1 and 2 bedroom-casitas overlooking Lake Zirahuen

Casa Espejo - 3 bedroom/2 bathroom home right in the center of Patzcuaro, near the market

Casa Brawner - 3 bedroom/2 bathroom home with a beautiful garden, pet friendly, wireless internet

The Beautiful House in Zirahuen - 4 bedroom/2.5 bathroom home across the street from Zira-Bar and Lake Zirahuen

Casa Tzintzuntzan - 4 bedroom/3 bathroom retreat in Tzintzuntzan, sleeps 10

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Kitchen Appliances

This is a section I could use a little help with. We explored every local appliance store in town, and even went to Costco and Wal-Mart, and ended up buying our fridge and our oven here in town and our toaster, coffee maker, microwave, etc at various big box stores in Morelia.

I have heard of folks that ordered Sub Zero appliances from overseas and had them delivered here in Mexico; and folks that had the local enviro group GIRA build them a "traditional" wood-burning stove that conserves energy.

I think there's a lot of different ways to go about this, and I'd love to hear people's experiences.