Posted by: lianadevine | 8 March 2009

Return to Paradise

Though we arrived in Cuernavaca from the east this trip, and a little less stressed than our previous blind wanderings from the north, we found our paradise pretty much the way we had left it.  We had stayed at the Trailer Park Campestre outside of Chiconcuac, south of Cuernavaca, just before Christmas in 2007; now the trees are a little taller, the bamboo hedges a little fuller and our friendly camp mascots, Pepper the dog and Crunch the cat soon came out to greet us.  It was evident that continuing improvements were being made, and the increased camp fees were funding them.

Paradise Revisited

Paradise Revisited

We got set up on a nice spot with fresh lava rock beside the paving block patio, with lovely green grass for Spike to graze.  Yes, it was paradise to see such greenery, not even in the rainy season yet.

Over the next couple of days, we got in touch with Cathy and Christine, our friends here who have Casa Chocolate B&B and arranged to come over for a visit.  The morning we came by, they had guests who were enjoying their comfortable beds until the last possible moment, so we lucked out and shared the decadent three-course breakfast with Cathy and Christine and their guests Lillian and Alejandra.  We enjoyed the food and conversation in the relaxed setting of their sunny terrace by the sparkling pool, then had a tour of the finished B&B.

Back at the bus, Calvin set out to discover the source of the overheating problem, and in getting the thermostats out of their hiding place in the bowels of the bus to check them, broke the thermostat housing.  When the cursing died down, he got busy online to try to track down a replacement housing.  One of the improvements in the park was the addition of wireless internet, but we found it intermittent and slow at best, non-existent at worst, necessitating a drive into nearby Chiconcuac to the internet cafe we had frequented previously.  Eventually we connected with Ted at Coach Maintenance and made arrangements for the parts to be shipped.

While we waited for the parts, we made exploratory excursions to several nearby suburbs of Cuernavaca: Temixco, Xochitepec, Tezoyuca and Emilano Zapata, getting our bearings and assessing the feasibility for settling into the community.  I had a job interview, which, while I knew was not realistic so soon, might leave a door open for something later in the summer or in the fall.  I tracked down several quilters, after Cathy and Christine put us onto a Yahoo Group for newcomers to the Cuernavaca area; we’ve now visited two of them and in addition to meeting two nice couples, have discovered other residential neighbourhoods and I got a bit of a quilt fix satisfied.  We took Spike to the nearest vet as a followup to a treatment we’d started before we left Oaxaca, then returned to her the following Monday with a wounded egret Calvin discovered in the park.  Through Paula, the vet, we met Lucy, a biologist who keeps birds as well, and is into greening the planet.  I visited her and saw her compost system, her greenhouse with symbiotic plants and even her “experiment” raising beetle grubs (in her kitchen!) for sale to sport fishermen.  Her chorus line of 6 dogs of all sizes greeted me at the gate – these are therapy dogs, so even the biggest is mild-tempered, and her noisy aviary included various parrots, a macaw, budgies and a mama-to-be cockatiel.  Not to mention her little monkey, who eats those beetle grubs like candy.
Lucy’s budding garden, recently planted, promises fresh organic tropical fruits well within the 100 KM the current diet rage advocates.  It’s a paradise I dream of having someday ourselves.  Well, except for the beetle grubs in the kitchen and the monkey who eats them…

We like the weather and greeness of Cuernavaca, its proximity to both Mexico City and Acapulco, and the norteamericano-style shopping available.  But the city lacks the colourful indigenous culture we realize we took for granted in Oaxaca.  In fact, Nancy, a quilter who moved here from Mexico City, says she can’t really describe the “personality” of Cuernavaca, always a resort town for visitors from the Capital.  It’s not really colonial, sort of cosmopolitan, but lacks the cultural depth developed over centuries of history.  Its citizens, while friendly and helpful, are largely DF transplants, or worse, weekend warriors who keep a house in the “City of Eternal Spring” to spend time in when the weather in DF is not as pleasant.  A realtor took us to look at a property in the neighbourhood “Burgos”: a gated community filled with large, extravagant weekend homes, likely each with a pool hidden behind the eight-foot high walls, but not a tortilleria, tienda or taco stand in sight.  That is not the Mexico we want to live in.

On Lucy’s encouragement, we drove outside the city to Miacatlán, then on to Coatlán del Río, in search of small-town Mexico with an agreeable climate.  They were a little bit too far from Cuernavaca to be seriously considered, but confirmed for us that these places do exist in the state of Morelos, “Land of Liberty and Work”.  We’ll just have to keep looking to find our paradise.



  1. Leanne and Calvin as usual your make us feel the sun, sand on our feet and warm our hearts with your discoveries. Claude

  2. Good to se some infor on your blog. Thought you were settled in Oaxaca – you’ll love Patzcuaro if you fine yourselves out that way. We didn’t make it out of the country this winter but let us know where you end up and we can try to stop by next season. Good luck on your travels and job hunting.

  3. Ah, a new adventure is definitely in the offing!

    I look forward to learning how everything works out and where you end up settling in.

    All the best from Phoenix—


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