Personal Stories

Mexico Part 5: Through the large metal gates to Fernandez’s ranch


After more milling around and warnings not to take pictures of his house or go near it, the big gates open and we start down the beautiful cobbled stone road to his place.  The whole area is beautifully manicured and obviously well-maintain.  Good Canadian that I am, I stay clear of his home ( grab only one quick photo) and explore the walled- off (low wall) pool area.  There are two peacocks strolling around a wired off area with chicks inside it.  Can you see them in the photo?  I wonder why they are fenced off from mama peacock (to keep them all from wandering off?). Then I go into the stables.

I grew up on a farm so the barn is a familiar place for me.  Our barn housed cows and horses and was not kept nearly as well as these stables.  I noticed that the horses were tether so close to the walls that they could not move around the stall.  This puzzled me.  I have a deep concern for animals.  So I searched out Gloria and asked her about it.  It took a little bit for her to figure out what I was asking, but she got it.  She told me the horse are tethered like that when the stalls are being cleaned out. The horses are let loose in the stall once it’s cleaned.  My concern alleviated,  I wandered over to the paddock where cowboys ( is that the right terms these days? I have trouble keeping up.) are training horses for the rodeo. The paddock is covered, spacious and like the rest of the farm, very well-maintained.  Gloria informs me that the main function of the stables are for horse sales, training for rodeos and providing horses for movies.

We head back to the bus.  At the gates, before we leave, there is thanks paid to staff of the ranch for their help with the tour. Of course the hat is passed to invite tips.  It’s all in Spanish so I approach the woman who translated for me before and she translates again for me.  We introduce ourselves.  Her name is Adrianna.  she was born in Argentina and has been working for a large USA company for 37 years.

A friendship begins.

With care and concern,

Dr. Bea

Mexico Part: 4 Waiting for access to Vincente Fernandez’s ranch.

Milling about

We’re riding along. The weather is good.  Our driver and tour guide, Gloria, is chatty, fun and engaging. If only I could understand what she was saying.  She has everyone in the bus introduce themselves and everyone claps after each says their name and where they are from. She cracks many jokes.  She tells me in English that she can’t translate jokes into English because they are not funny in English. Gloria tells me the organizer assured her there were no English speaking people on this tour.  She is shy about her English because she has been studying it for only six months.

Gloria prepares us for our first stop.  She asks me if I have ever heard of the famous Mexican singer, Vincente Fernandez.  I am about to say ‘no’ when I remember the videos showing on the Tequila bus.  She tells me we are visiting his 360 hectare ranch. (That’s almost 900 acres.)

We pull up to a beautifully maintained ranch, high white walls with the top trimmed with yellow and brown.  We pile out of the bus, joined two other buses loads of people (including the Tequila bus) and mill around in front of the large ornate iron gates.  It’s a hot sunny day and there are lots of people of all ages.  Look at all those jeans!

We wait and wait.  Gloria is on her cell phone a lot.  There is a problem, but I have no idea what it is. Gloria tells us to go to the store beside the entrance to the ranch for 5 minutes until she figures it out. She tells me that in Mexico they say 5 minutes but it really means 30 minutes.  My skeptic self thinks this is a ploy between bus drivers and store owners to get sales.  But I need to find el bano so am happy to go to the store. The store sends me to the restaurant beside them.  Off I go. It’s getting urgent.

Relieved, i go back to the store. Finally, Gloria sends word for us to come back.  But more milling around.  The people on the Tequila bus get back on their bus and leave.  Gloria gives us the scoop in Spanish.  A woman (from the other bus going to Chapala) standing beside me, translates for me. She noticed I didn’t speak Spanish.

Apparently, the day before, a Tequila tour stopped to see the ranch.  The famous singer was at home and accommodated families who wanted a photo with him.  While he was doing this, many of the other tourists rushed up to him all at once.  He was very upset by this.  He insisted today’s Tequila bus tour leave.  (See, I was not meant to go on the Tequila bus).

Next: We finally get to tour of the ranch.

With care and concern,

Dr. Bea

Sent from my iPad

Mexico Part 3: Oooops. I’m on the wrong bus!



Today, (Wednesday, July 17/13) another good day for touring.  Yesterday, I’d talked to Thomas, one of the two English speaking porters, about the tour and put a deposit on a tour of Chapala. After breakfast,  I put my valuables in the caja de seguidad and waited for the tour bus to pick us up.
When I go to get on the bus I realized I’d grabbed the wrong ticket. I had the ticket from the tour the day before.  Thomas told the driver I’d paid a deposit and I got on the bus.  I assumed I was on the right bus because Thomas knew I wanted to go to Chapala.

On the two monitors in the bus, a video of Vicente Fernández, the famous 74 year old Mexican singer, was showing.  As we traveled along, the tour guide discovered I was the only Gringo (Ooops.  Perhaps it’s not politically correct for me to use that term) on the bus.  She said her English was not so good, but after a couple of Tequilas it might get better and perhaps after a couple of tequilas my Spanish might get better.  That’s when I realized I was on the wrong bus. This bus was going to one of the places that makes Tequila.  Because Thomas knew i wanted to go to Chapala, I assumed he put me on the right bus. (Note to self: in the future, Check out assumptions, double check out assumptions.) Also, it would have helped if I’d had my correct ticket.

I told her I was going to Chapala.  “That’s a problem”, she said and turned to the driver.  Several turns later we met up with another bus.  I was transferred over to the other bus.  A couple from that bus were transferred over to the Tequila bus.  Somebody else got on the wrong bus or maybe just changed their minds and decided they needed some tequila.  I didn’t feel so bad.

So relieved, I now was on the tour I wanted to be on.  The problem was solved.  Nobody is upset. everyone is happy. This is Mexico.

With care and concern,

Dr. Bea

(Yes that is a photo of the wrong bus (it’s actually a Vancouver bus), but I didn’t think to take a photo of the Tequila Bus)