Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Chacala Update in Late May

Here's a shot walking from the Bibliotecha toward Trini's and Beatriz's and Laura Sura's and Paul's new "Satoy" rental units (with blue tiled pool).

It's starting to warm up here in good old Chacala, home of 50,000 dump trucks a day speeding their way into the gated "community", Marina Chacala. That's only a small exaggeration.

It's been 85F most of the day, with some humidity. I have been sleeping under a sheet and the ceiling fan the past few weeks, wearing a cotton tee shirt and boxer shorts. The ocean water is perfect: warm enough to be comfortable and cool enought to be refreshing. There have been jellyfish two afternoons this past week. I don't know if there is a season or what, but some people believe they float into Chacala on winds from the north. It's sort of hard to imagine that, but who knows? Everyone is waiting for the rains to start, but nothing so far. Probably mid-June.

The mangos are ripening quicker than people can pick them. But the animals come in at night and feast on the fallen fruit. A couple of tejones (?) like to use the steps the side of my house as seating in the Mango Cafe. When the Las Varas laborers leave the gated community after work every night, they have to get off the pickup trucks they travel back and forth in, and walk thru the gate with their ID's. Nowadays the workers detour into the little mango orchard between this house and the gate and try to get mangos out of the trees. They (the mangos, not the workers) are so delicious. Lately I have been having mangos and cantaloupes fruit salad. I love the melons here. They are soo flavorful and delicious, probably because they are picked ripe, or almost ripe. The mango are wonderful, especially with a little lime.

There are workers in all the mango orchards along the road between Chacala and Las Varas. I am still amazed at how much fruit is grown right in this area. Melons, watermelons, pina, mango, papaya, jacko, limes, oranges, bananas, and lots of fruits I don't even know the names of. People go off somewhere and walk back into town with a huge stalks of bananas. On the collectivo this morning someone was sharing the most delicious little minature bananas. And people offer me bites of fruit I don't recognize at all.

Tobacco and a number of vegetables grow in fields around here, and there are greenhouses south of town. And there are small and large ranches with cattle, and small holdings where people raise pigs. Even one of the local dentist farms. One of the taxi drivers, Chicho, raises "porkos".

I think one of the great treats of life is eating food right off the tree or vine or plant. Nothing in the world like walking out to pick my morning mango, except in the good old-bad old days when I used to walk out to my garden in the US for a handful of strawberries or a sunwarmed tomato.

Last week it looked like maybe the Federal land around the palm grove had been sold, but I guess it was another false alarm. Not that I would really know what was going on, one way or another.

The powers-that-be are tearing up the road between the paved road and the beach road, for the third time this year. This time it's to install the new water line, which has been buried (apparently) all the way to the new pump station which located is about 2/3's of the way to Las Varas. The line seems to be being buried on the Concha and Juan's side of the road, on the side opposite the pump station.

There are lots of conflicting stories going around town about how the new water system will work and when it will work. We'll see the day the water comes thru the pipe I guess. The old water system is a mystery to me. This house hasn't had town water for months, but some houses right near here get water twice a week. I guess it depends on where you live or something. Who knows.

The "new" small town garbage truck, which Chacala won in the County-wide "clean up your trash" contest last winter, has been worked hard for months, collecting garbage all over town almost every day. The crew keeps changing. I have heard that's because the pay is low, but I don't really know. Right now the driver is Luis, son of my old landlady Dona Lupe, and another guy, can't remember his name. Town looks so much cleaner.

The County (?) grader and trucks are moving dirt from up that the northern end of the paved road down to the new road between the paved road and the beach road. It is being built just south of Augustine's new upstairs rentals, which is two building's down from Guillermo and Lupita's Casa Chacala hotel and will offer a new way to get from the paved road to the beach road.

The same crew (I think) is also working on the new road that runs parallel to the paved road, starting right above the new hotel and the motor home garage, heading north for about 12 lots. (that's my estimate). It sounds as though the electric lines will follow once the road is in. But you never know about the installation of power poles and electric lines around here. The first person to request and get approved for electric power in a new area seems to pay the most. However, I might have that wrong.

Not many people of the US/Canada here now, but more than were here this time last year.
Two Canadian couples were/are here for most of May, making arrangements for their house building projects. Both the projects look very nice. The inside of one of the new houses is being painted this week and the bathrooms are being tiled. Great colors. Very beautiful. Juan "The Painter" is hard at work and doing a great job. He's a very careful and artistically-minded housepainter.

There is a new building going up on Gracia's lot. Apparently the downstairs will be a place for her step-daughter's family to live and the upstairs will be another rental. Viki's house has a big one-story addition out behind the kitchen, and Marta, next door, is building something onto her place. I thought she was renting, but I guess not. Another gringo from San Diego (I think) is building a 1/2 house on a 1/2 lot sort of overlooking the Malecon between the northern end of the three white houses no one every stays in and the old store just south of Casa Azul. Not a very good description of the location. A couple from North Dakota who were here last winter are buying (or have bought) another lot in that part of town, I am not sure where. The big white palace on the paved road just north of the new hotel and across the street is almost doen I think. Swimming pool on the top floor and rooftop patios, etc. I am starting to think it is some kind of nightclub instead of a house. It has a very strange layout for a house. But who am I to know what they are doing?

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