Joco, my home town

I’ve written a lot about living in the municipality [think US county] of Jocotepec during the past year that we’ve had this blog out, but I haven’t really shown you too much about it.  So today I’ll try to give you a little taste of what Joco [both city and municipality] have to offer. 

Let’s start with the city seal shown in the picture at the top of this post.  As you can see, Joco was founded in the reasonably early 1500s.  Not so amazing for a lot of places around the world, but pretty amazing by US [and probably Canadian] standards.

When I write “founded,’ I actually mean that it was officially recognized as a town in the western sense in that year by Hernan Cortez, the Spanish explorer.  In fact, it had been inhabited continuously since the 1300s by the Nahua indios [a term still pretty much used and accepted here in Mexico]. 

So, yeah, it’s been around for a while. 

Joco municipality started out as, and has mostly remained as, an agricultural community.  To this day, most of its land is used to grow crops, primarily berries.  In fact, next time you are in your local grocery store, see if they’ve got Driscoll’s berries for sale.  If they do, those berries likely came from Joco.  The containers will likely say they are from Watsonville, California, but, honestly, most of them were grown, picked, packed, and shipped from Joco. 

And while you folks are probably paying a pretty hefty price for those raspberries and strawberries, we ‘locals’ can go right out to the berry fields and pick up a kilo [about 2.2 pounds] of the same berries for about 10 pesos [way less than a dollar at the current exchange rate].

Joco is located at the western end of Lake Chapala [Lago de Chapala] in the state of Jalisco, Mexico.  Lake Chapala is the largest fresh water lake in Mexico.  From east to west, it’s about 50 miles long and from north to south, it’s about eight miles across.  This can vary a lot by the amount of rain we get during the rainy season and the amount of rain they get up in the hills surrounding the lake. 

On a map of Mexico, here’s where you can find me:

The lake is not really quite that big, but you can get some idea about where I am.   For a more zoomed in look, here’s where I am in relationship to Guadalajara:

See, that’s my Mexican hometown over there on the left….and you can also see where Sahuayo [about which I write a lot] is in relationship to Joco. 

I like the municipality of Jocotepec so much that I’ve spent my entire time in Mexico living here.  From El Chante to San Cristobal Zapotitlan and back to Jocotepec.  That is, from the north side of the lake to the south side of the lake.  It just suits me.

One of the things I like most about it is that it’s a municipality of working stiffs.  You know, like most of you.  Not a large gringo population and not a particularly popular spot with the Guadalajaran tapatios….those middle class Guadalajarans who run down to the lake on the weekend.  Although this is changing somewhat with the big build up of ticky tacky houses in El Chante. 

But even if the tapatios come down on Saturdays and Sundays and during Semana Santa [Easter week], most of the time it’s just us “folks.”  And, yes, I’m becoming just one of the folks.  Infrequently I get the old side eye from Mexicans, but not so much after three and a half years.  Apparently, I’m just becoming one of  ‘their’ gringas.

It’s good to be home. 

Oh, and what brought this whole posting to mind, was a video that my friend Kathi sent me this morning, courtesy one of the locals here in Joco.   And, yes, this is what it looks like and this is what you see on the lago at sunrise.  Please watch and enjoy!


About Barbara

in april of 2008, i moved from the united states to mexico. during my working days, i held lots and lots of jobs....almost all chosen because they were fun or interesting instead of how much they paid. when i started thinking about retirement (in my 40s), i realized that i would never be able to retire to a country where english was the native language. and although i had traveled to every state in the US -- and lived in lots of them -- i had never been outside the country with the exception of canada and mexico. and since you now know that i could never afford to retire in canada (even to the french-speaking area), mexico won by default.
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3 Responses to Joco, my home town

  1. K says:

    Yes, this is the best of Lake Chapala that gives waves and wind to the Jocotepec that we love so very much. I get the feeling that all is right with the world when i see honest hard working farmer-ranchero folk every day… know nothing comes easily for them and they do indeed appreciate every thing they earn.

  2. Gigi says:

    Great post about Joco, and the video views so remind me of the scene from the campground in Roca Azul!

  3. Barbara, do you still live in Joco? My mother’s side of my family is from there and I used to go there every year up until 2004. Have not been back since, but have been recently digging into my families past. In reading Joco history, I learned that the original title of property signed by Hernan Cortes is still in Jocotepec’s hall of records. have you seen it?

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