Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Wednesdays in Chacala

Chacala Street

Basic home in Chacala

View from one of the beach restaurants

Young surfer, practicing
It's pretty warm this morning in Chacala. 89 degrees F at about 9am. Not particularly humid though.

Woke up to the sounds of Chacala: a truck with a loudspeaker selling tortillas, two moto's tooting their little horns to sell tortillas, the water jug truck with is odd little musical whistle selling water, a really loud voiced pick-up selling something, and thirty or forty truckloads of workers heading into the gated community. And something different, a truck selling, or maybe giving away, newspapers. The big Presidential election is coming up in a couple of weeks, so lots of campaigning is going on.

The worker trucks have mostly stopped tooting their horns to get into the place (officially Marina Chacala / formerly Chacallila, a beautiful small bay north of Chacala). Makes sense since the workers have to get out of the trucks and walk thru the little side gate, showing their ID's. Coming and going the workers try to grab a mango or two, but there aren't many left now and they are resorting to throwing rocks at the mangos in the hopes of knocking one off the tree.

The drivers of the resident's vehicles and the construction and materials trucks are still beeping their horns as they arrive at the gate. It is really amazing how many trucks go in and out in a day. The big ones move really fast, and I expect one day one will go right thru the gate (big wooden gate) without stopping.

The people at the new hotel installed a very tall tope (speed bump) in front of their building after a couple of near misses. The big empty trucks come barrelling down the road heading back to Las Varas or wherever at very high speeds. The tope slows the trucks down momentarily, but they pick up speed again as soon as they can.

The owners of smaller vehicles are not too happy with tall tope, since it's difficult for a small car or pickup to get over it without high-centering. Apparently anyone can build a tope (or dig a small trench) in front of their place, and many do. Actually, I like anything that slows the maniac truck drivers down. Particularly on the paved road. But even on the very narrow beach road trucks and buses and SUV's go very quickly dodging children, dogs, people carrrying things and bike riders. Well, not actually dodging them, more hoping they will get out of the way.

It's interesting the they have the same trash problem at Chacalilla as on the regular Chacala beach. I have noticed that the Marina people seem to be having trouble keeping the beach cleaned up. The last two times I have been down there the beach had quite a bit of garbage both above and below the high-tide lines. And there are signs asking people to keep the beach clean and to not drive on the beach in motos. Apparently they have that ATV problem as Playa Chacala.

I have just been reading an interesting (at least to me) website about the state of the sewage treatment facility in Guayabitos. This is a purpose-built tourist "town" just south of La Penita - which is about 15 miles south of Chacala. If I remember correctly, the area was identified by state tourism people maybe ten years ago as kind of tourist-zone. A basic services infrastructive was provided to attract the development of vacation homes, and tourist hotels, and other resort-type facilities. They have electricity for each building, and sewage and water lines and trash pickup for most of the town. And it's nice looking, with palms and plants, and paved and cobblestoned streets with curbs in the tourist and vacation home areas of town. There are some un-developed areas of town still, and the areas where workers and local residents live is kind of tucked away and not very noticable.

However, according to this website (which I can't find at the moment), the agency that runs the sewage treatment facility doesn't have the resources to pay the electric bills, so the electric that runs the pumps and treatment machinery has been turned off repeatedly (?) and the sewage just runs through the system untreated. This info was current last winter, and I don't know if the situation was resolved or not, but I hope so.

I mention this because I am curious about how water system here in Chacala will function with the new well and water line. I think Guillermo, the water master, along with the other town leadership, has put alot of attention on how to ensure water bills are paid so there will be some cash to maintain the system. I don't know how the payment system works, since there are no water meters. I know some of the restaurants are ordering trucked water constantly but I don't know what that means.

It looks like most of the actual work on the new water line is completed, but I don't know what happens next. But as of a couple of days ago there still wasn't any new water in the system. Some parts of town are still getting water. I think it depends on what neighborhood your house is in, or something.

I don't know if there are any plans to build a sewage lines in Chacala, but I do know that septic tanks buried in the sand level with, and about twenty feet from, the high-tide line is not a long-term solution for busy restaurants. Especially with a number of new tourist rental units being built right on the beach (At Hotel Guadalupe, Tres Hermanos, Las Brisas, and the two new buildings being constructed across the street from Juan's tienda).

I am settling into living in a house (as opposed to a tent/ramada on the beach) and starting to really enjoy how easy it is to do daily tasks, like cooking, bathing, cleaning, washing clothes, taking care of plants, and accessing the internet. And not having to worry about my drawing paper getting damp or the kids getting into things I want to keep separate.

But I still miss the beach alot. I put one of the pictures Jared took of my campsite on the desktop of my computer, and it looks great. Makes me a little sad though.

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