Vexations and Conundrums – August 2022

Abundant Joy

We have had our hillside home here overlooking Lake Chapala for twenty-one magical years. It is hard to explain to someone how special it is here, unless you can show them in person. I once had a visitor who exclaimed upon first seeing the view of the lake from the mountain, “Tina Turner on the Riviera!” I’d say if my life quality approaches Tina Turner’s, I am at a pinnacle.

My husband took me to Lake Como in Italy many years ago. We stayed in what we heard was one of the finest hotels in the area. Famous people hold their weddings there. We went down to the terrace on the water, and I looked across the lake, then walked to the water’s edge. I looked up and down the water, off to the distance. I walked back to sit with my husband and order our exorbitantly priced drinks, expensive enough to give one pause. “I hate to tell you this, Honey, now that you spent all this money to get us here, but Lake Chapala puts this place to shame.”

The Chapala area has a special feeling to it. First, there is the perfect climate and verdant beauty of nature here, birds flitting constantly, breezes tickling one’s face.   Perhaps it comes from the warmth and kindness of the people who inhabit the area. They take care to see that you get where you need to go, and obtain services you may need. Often they go out of their way to help you if you have a problem.

Recently we experienced our first flat tire. My husband was delighted when he found a spare tire, though it was temporary and small, hidden under a plastic screw-on cover. Our male guest, a tall gentleman approaching sixty, and my husband began the task of replacing the flat. They gave it a valiant effort! Twenty minutes passed and our guys were not having success removing the tight bolts holding the flat tire in place. Off to our right, I watched a flat-bed truck filled with young people enjoying beers at the week’s end. They were observing the gringos go about their project, as though it were a play for their entertainment. My girlfriend and I stood off to the side, the evening breezes blowing our dresses, not helping the situation, but acting as diligent observers.

Suddenly a muscle-bound young man, maybe twenty-eight years old, hopped off the back of the truck and sauntered confidently over to our area. “What’s happening?,” asked my female friend. “Superman is here,” I responded.

The young man offered in Spanish to help.  Our men accepted readily, and he dropped down into what I’d call a plank position, his muscles rippling.  A quick confirmation that the jack was in place and he effortlessly removed all the bolts in about two minutes, changed the tire, and replaced the bolts.  He wiped his hands of dirt and oil as he stood and wished us a good evening. We offered dinero in gratitude and he adamantly refused, wishing us a safe departure. His friends whistled and applauded as their hero returned. I explained to my friend that things like this happen all the time in Mexico.

Our years here are filled with what I call “Mexico moments,” where people help you, or improvise a seemingly impossible task, clearing up problems you thought were hopeless.

There is also another aspect to these past decades that can’t go unmentioned. When we first arrived, we were invited to attend local events. Some involved helping animals, some helped the population in need, some injected music and the culture of Mexico into our lives. We jumped to attend the gatherings, not realizing the positive effects they would have on our lives. The people who are active in charitable and cultural activities are socially magnetic. They are talented and care about others. They want to give back to this community that gives such peace and happiness to their lives. In the end, one builds a circle of friends that  enriches life immeasurably.

If we had stayed at home, gazing lovingly at the lake, we would never have had the  opportunity to learn the inner happiness that comes from relationship building in a diverse community. We are afforded the joy of a village full of care, and the peaceful, karmic circle that ensues.

August 2022 Issue

El Ojo del Lago – Home Page

For more information about Lake Chapala visit:


For more information about Lake Chapala visit:

Katina Pontikes
Latest posts by Katina Pontikes (see all)

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *