Sunday, September 18, 2005

Rain Rain Rain

We're having a lot a rain (big surprise), thunderstorms and lightning in Chacala this past month. Especially the past four or five nights. Or evenings. Last night and the day before the phones were out intermittently, and the electricity was off and on. I unplug everything plugable-in-able before I leave the house or go to bed because sometimes the lightning is RIGHT HERE!!!! and LOUD!!! and so bright that if I had my eyes open I might be blinded. Really incredible and beautiful.

If you are moving to Chacala consider bringing quality surge protectors/supressors. and possibly those things has correct/modify the voltage and (?) amperage. But remember that surge surpressors only work if the plug is grounded (has a third wire). Mexican appliances are built so that they can tolerate much larger variations in the quality of the electricity than those made in the States and they are set to run at about 127 volts. Even without electrical storms, the electricity is pretty inconsistent. And quite a few houses get their electricity through a jerry-rigged system of wires from someone else's house.

I just noticed a new wire crossing the paved road near Clemen's house. I realized it was going to her house ( she had been living in the that house with two little kids and no lights or water, etc for a couple of years). I tried to follow the wire back across into the jungle to see where it was coming from, but it was too dense to see. She told me whose house she was hooked up to, but I didn't recognize the name. But it was at least 200 feet away, on a skinny little wire . The house I lived in last winter got it's electricity thru seven pieces of wired crimped together without connectors or tape, and then hooked into the light bulb of a house about 100 feet away. I asked someone to check the voltage at my end because I was worried about my new refrigerator, but it was fine.

I have been putting some effort into helping the owners of some of the lower-end rentals get more guests for their rentals. Some of these are very nice, clean, modern units with owners living on the property, and daily maid service, etc. Others are more basic and probably most appropriate for people that are willing to "rough it" when problems come up with the water, electricity, etc. And willing to live in more basic surroundings without daily maid-service. etc in return for lower, and more negotiable, rents.

When I first came to Chacala I made an effort to figure out which businesses to frequent. My orginal thinking was that I would prefer to give my money to businesses that were owned by people living in Chacala, and those who supported the town regarding things like supporting children's activities, trash pickup, etc. I still haven't figured it out. For one thing, many of the business that I orginally thought were locally-owned are actually owned by people in Las Varas. And then how do you draw the line if the owner lives in LV but their family lives in Chacala?

I know that Chico's and Koko Bongo's and Dona's Lupe's and Don Enriques's are owned and operated by people living in Chacala. And probably others too. And the markets next to Koko Bongo's and in front of Chico's are run by Chacaleans. And Chavala, who cater's wonderful dinners, is a Chacalean. Both of the larger tiendas are owned by the same family and as far as I know they all live in LV or Compostella. The deposito/telephone/ice cream store is locally owned, meaning the owners live in Chacala. I am not sure of the ownership of the Koraney Hardware store, but the people, Pepe and Claudia, who run it, live in Chacala. They're not from here, but live here. And they own property here including a couple of very nice rentals. And you may have noticed Sarai's store, next to Trini's (on the road between the Marina gate and the school). She works at the Bibliotecha in the afternoons, and teaches a GED-type class, and has her store

I guess mostly I go to the places that make me feel welcome. I still pay attention to who own's what, but not as much as I did at first. And, of course, sometimes I don't really understand who the owner is or where they live, or if it even matters.

For these who frequent Las Brisas mainly because they have a liquor license and can serve hard liquor (and have nice bathrooms), you may be interested to know that Chico's is adding a licensed bar next month. And they already have brand new banos. And they have done some other spiffing up too.

I just walked around town during errands. It's the Sunday afternoon of Independence Day weekend and there are lots of buses and tourists in town. Most of the rentals seemed to be rented. I think there may have been almost 200 people at Chico's about 3pm. There definitely weren't enough tables and chairs. The ocean was really muddy looking, cloudy looking and the beach was littered with debris from the storms the last few days. Organic debris like old palms fronds and tree branches. Better than pop bottles and stryofoam. Some of it was neatly raked up in piles. Maybe burning piles, don't know. Walking up the paved road past Aurora's I saw that five big trees had been broken off, all on the right hand, uphill side of the road. One was the big old tree with lots of orchids like plants growningt on the truck. Thankfully not one of the big beautiful trees right at the corner where the paved road turns toward the Chacilila gate is got knocked over. The clouds are starting to build again, so maybe there will be another storm tonight.

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