Monday, December 12, 2005

Guadalupe in Chacala

I am writing this just before daylight in Chacala. I am sitting on my bed in my lovely tent. I can see it’s getting light in the east and can hear the sound of the ocean.

Last night I went to bed about 7pm, planning to take a nap for a couple of hours and then get up and go up to the iglesia, the Chacala church, for the special festivities for the eve of the special day honoring Guadalupe (December 12th). Which is actually today, but the event starts the night before with a kind of Mass with lots of singing, and a hot drink made with vanilla, and visits to small home shrines to Guadalupe. And the a midnight walk to the Guadalupe shrine about a mile down the paved road.

We had walked up to the Chacala church just before dark, and it was decorated beautifully, with special flowers and decorations around the lovely statue of Guadalupe.

There are several special decorations around town yesterday, in honor of Guadalupe. At Dona Lupe’s restaurant, Fonda Lupe, there is a beautiful collection of framed paintings, and flowers and special Christmas lights. And Maria/Palila and the house next to Sarai's little grocery/school both had beautiful decorations. Don Enrique's restaurant had music AND decorations.

It just occured to me, maybe the Guadalupe decorations are like Christmas decorations in the States. They sometimes get kind of competitive.

Last night, and every year, lots of people from Chacala walk together on the road to Las Varas, to the shrine for Guadalupe. It was originally built about ten years ago on a special tree trunk, and then when the new road was built about six years ago the people of Chacala made a permanent shrine out of cement. People walk there a lot, and often leave flowers. When the collectivo drives by the shrine most people cross themselves.

I have been invited to two birthday parties today, one for a baby girl named Guadalupe and other other for my former landlady, Guadalupe. I didn’t put it together until last night that most of the women who are named Guadalupe are named that because they were born on her day, December 12th.

I am continually amazed at all the things I don’t know about life in Chacala. It’s handy for me to know most, if not all, Guadalupe’s were born today. Easy to remember their birthdays.

Anyway, I never woke up from my nap, and missed the whole thing. I love the idea of walking together in the night, but maybe next year.

Last night at dark the police (five of them) showed up to tell the people that didn’t want to pay the rent for their campsite that they had to pay or leave immediately. Apparently the non-payers are leaving this morning. Don Beto said the police told them they would be arrested if they hadn’t left Chacala when by the time the police returned today. I guess every tourist town attracts people who think they deserve a free lunch.

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