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Friday, February 3, 2017

Restaurant & Cemetery Art

Ajijic is a very artsy community, which is obvious because so many of the outer walls are painted and every restaurant displays beautiful murals and framed works. Some are for sale, but most are personal collections.  
 I showed the outside where we had lunch at Yves...with the pool (with 3 fountains in it) and the burros. We returned for breakfast, which was very good. I hate omelettes but ordered a spinach, mushroom, and cheese one and liked it so much, came back for another the next day.
Yves has many white burro paintings inside and out, plus more framed pieces on all the walls.
We sat outside the second to the last day after hearing it was raining at home and would be for 6 days. Thought we'd better enjoy this weather while we can.

 Don Pedro's, which has few customers and great food. I posted pictures of my pasta dinner and made people drool. We've been telling everyone about them so they'll have more business. The staff here recommended another place for our first night that was pretty, but the food wasn't nearly as good. Don Pedro's had these huge murals on the walls...the hands are above the doorway. Amazing.
                                                      Empanada and pasta at Don Pedro.

 This is also a local establishment right around the corner from the hotel called Armando's. The staff didn't seem to know they exist, which is odd. They don't make it a habit of knowing much. This giant mural is on the wall in one of the dining rooms. They have many small rooms, which could mean this was once someone's house.
 They're known for preparing flambĂ© in the center area where everyone can watch. I ordered mustard steak, similar to steak Diane and we shared peach flambĂ© for dessert, both prepared almost table-side.

 One of the main attractions that comes up for Ajijic is their cemetery. We caught the bus in front of it, so spent some time walking around and through to see why. It's very impressive--well-tended and each grave is marked with huge displays. Very few had fresh flowers, but it looks like people do keep their loved one's area decorated.

We both look like the walking wounded at this point--my foot and finger still hurt and are swollen, my skinned knee is still open and hurting, Matthew's face is swollen from the dental work, but that's normal for what he had done and the dentist says everything looks great...BUT he has a wheeze and something going on with his upper respiratory system, so hopefully we'll both feel better at home tomorrow.
Yeah, we always say how we love to travel, yet every trip has some kind of trial. I've written a pretty scathing review of our hotel for Tripadvisor because so many earlier reviews fooled us.  I think I'll post it here as well as a reminder.

 I feel sorry for the hotel staff because they must field daily complaints. We are well-traveled and generally can roll with the punches, but we were moved into 4 different rooms due to a series of problems. The first one we landed in was downstairs, which was not only dark but smelled moldy. We didn’t last more than a few minutes, returned to reception and asked to move. They gave us the key to the one directly above us, so we moved our luggage ourselves. That room was brighter and didn’t smell, so we stayed 4 nights.  The rooms are  not actually ready to use when you arrive, as the pilot lights for the water heaters and stove are not lit and you have to call reception to do that after discovering there is no hot water; the sizes and efficiency of the heaters also vary greatly. The refrigerators also are not on and won’t turn on unless you locate and flip the correct circuit breaker, or else call staff again. There is no room heat though it does get into the low 40s F at night.
We were at the end of the complex near the street (though we couldn’t see it because the complex is walled all around). At night, usually around 2 am, dogs started barking and one in particular, sounded as if he was right outside our door. Barking lasted much of the night, and even though I wore ear plugs, it still woke me.
After 4 sleepless nights, we finally decided we had to move rooms. Alfonso moved us to a room that is in the middle of the complex, down several flights of stairs to the lowest level. Although it was dark, it felt quiet and protected from the outside world of barking dogs. My husband’s dental surgery was that afternoon, so I returned to the room and after spending about 30 minutes there, realized this also had a moldy smell and before my headache got any worse, I asked to move to our fourth room. This room was on same level as reception, down a few doors from our first one, but somewhat quieter. We can still hear the worst of the dogs, but it’s not as loud. 
I have mentioned the barking to people at reception and the handyman, and none have responded with any comment. I think management has trained them not to remark. They were very accommodating about moving us and making calls for taxis or reservations and the like. 
The ‘bones’ of Danza del Sol are good—nice-sized rooms, kitchens, interesting floor plans, though some are very dark because there aren’t outside windows. However, everything is dated or limited in some way. The kitchens have the bare basics with plastic dishes and often dirty pots and glasses. This is almost understandable since no soap is provided and not even a kitchen towel. We bought paper towels so we’d have something to use for cleaning, drying, napkins…
After talking to other guests, I am wondering if many of the rooms are uninhabitable. We have all been circulating through the same set of rooms.
I think if they got a major overhaul here, it could be a great place, but right now, it’s just sad. Typically in Mexico, the outside of a place looks run-down and beaten up, but the inside can be pristine and lush. At Hotel Danza del Sol, it’s just the opposite.