Saturday, December 10, 2005

There's No Such Thing as a Free Lunch In Chacala

Don Beto, an older, long-term Chacalean stopped me on the road today near my camp today. He has a little campground next to his son’s campground (where I stay). He was so upset he was shaking. He was upset because some middle-aged French-Canadians in a very fancy small RV with motorcycle and bikes had parked in one of the areas he collects rent on (and provides toilets and showers and picks up the trash) had refused to pay $4 a night to camp there. He said they had stayed in the same spot the year before for weeks and had left during the night to avoid paying their rental fees. He wanted me to talk to them. So I tried.

I had met the women, an artist, the day before. When I went over to their van, I saw they were hanging out at a house where an American has been squatting in a house on the beach for awhile, and lives sort of next to the camping spot. He and I have been friendly, but we disagree about a lot of things, and one of them is the rent issue. So after we said hello, I said Don Beto had just asked me to talk with them about paying rent on their camping spot.

I was kind of nervous, stepping into the situation, but I did it anyway, partly because Don Beto was so upset, and partly because it makes me sick to see people with lots of financial resources coming to Chacala and enjoying its beauty, and not wanting to pay anything (or complaining about the little bit they are asked to pay) for their use of such a beautiful place.

If you are looking for a place to stay in Chacala, go to RENTALS in CHACALA.

Anyone who is staying in Chacala is using the resources of the town, The water, the sewage system, the electrical system, the roads, phone lines, the trash pickup and disposal, and possibly the internet place/English library at the Bibliotecha.

The beautiful clean beach would not be beautiful if someone wasn’t be paid to keep it clean. When the holes in the paved road get too horrible (generally caused by giant contractor trucks speeding to the Marina Chacala gated-community), the town men go out and with shovels and wheelbarrows, and fill the holes. When the stream the town water comes from gets to filled with silt, the people from Chacala got out there and spend days bucketing out the mud behind the little cement dam. When the roads get so rutted from the rainy season, people from town fill the ruts.

In my opinion visitors to Chacala should try to carry their weight here, and take their share of the load of maintaining this beautiful town and beach. Perhaps that share is contributing to the economy of the entire town by paying a small, token rent.

Why should well-off people vacation on the backs and the work of the local people? Why do they think they should be able to come to a beautiful beach, park their ugly little motor vehicles in a primo spot, and not pay a cent? Who do they think should maintain this beautiful place for them, so they can have a beautiful spot for free? I think they are getting a really good deal for four bucks a night. And if they used the toilets here they wouldn’t be tempted to go empty they toilet tanks of the side of the road in the middle of the night, as some do. Or dig a hole in the sand and dump their black water there.

I guess if they don’t understand there’s no such thing as a free lunch by the time they’re middle-aged, they never will. It makes me sad. And mad. Oh well. Sorry for the bitching.

If you are interested in seeing a list of Chacala websites you can go to Chacala Websites for info.

Update on Sunday: no rent paid yet.

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