Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Chacala Recyclers

Cathedral in Pititall,
a small town now engulfed by Puerto Vallarta
I added this photo, because seeing it reminded me that there some nice buildings in the Puserto Vallarata area. It's just had to see them, what with parking garages and giant hotel complexes.

It's pretty easy to be a recycler in Chacala. For one thing, your neighbors always keep on eye on your stuff. I use transluscent garbage bags now, so people can see if they want something in my garbage. Like if I accidently put an aluminum can, so something made from foil, or a nice big can, or whatever, in the garbage, it can easily be removed by whoever wants it.

When Juan Manuel comes around to collect town garbage, house-to-house, he have five or six separate bags hanging along the side of the garbage truck, so he can sort as he goes. Pop cans, plastic, etc etc etc.

Whenever I have something I think someone my want (broken, or whatever) I set it down by the side of the road. Either after the morning work crews arrive by the truckload to go into the gated community, or after they leave in the evening. Because I want my reclaimed stuff to stay in Chacala. I even hang clothes (shirts mainly) on hangers by the side of the road. Those disppear immediately. Never really see who takes things, but often I see my extra stuff at someone's house.

I have the impression everyone knows what everyone has. I think it is very new in Chacala to lock doors around here, and very unusual. When people visit they are comfortable poking thru things and looking around. I keep a few things tucked away. Things I don't want to share. Otherwise, it's fun to see people's reactions to stuff. Like my ten photos of my family and my old garden, in the US.

People come to where ever I am living, looking for this and that. Like glue or sissors or a big ladder or little ladder or a table or an extra oilcloth, or........ . Or a bandaid or cream or a nail or something.

It's nice for me to have something someone wants. I used to have this cute little stapler I got at Office Depot. For 10 pesos. One time I was showing someone how to use it. I could see she wanted it sooo bad. Didn't say a word, but it was obvious how much she wanted it. So I handed it to her, and we made a joke that I might borrow it back sometime.

Every restaurant in town has someone that comes with a truck everyday to get their edible garbage for pigs or chickens or whatever. Sometimes twice a day, when things are busy. I have gotten several emails and some visitor comments suggesting that Chacaleans should compost.

Now when that happens I ask people exactly what would they compost if they lived here. There isn't much that isn't used here. Chickens and dogs live off food scraps. Fish scraps. The garbage here is basically manufactured stuff out of plastic, like pop bottles and broken plastic chairs. And restaurant trash (plastic plates and the containers food comes in). And napkins.

Unless used toilet paper could be composted. Ugh. Now it's burned, and I prefer that solution.

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