Monday, October 23, 2006

Chacala Weekend

Every late afternoon this ast week the kids have have been practicing their dance routines on the volleyball court for the big shower Tuesday night. I love this picture. A future rock star, on his way to the big time!
Chacala was busier than usual yesterday, which was a Sunday. Actually, the beach is almost always busy on Sundays, unless it rained the day before, or is really overcast. But the rest of the town is usually pretty quiet, with lots of locals visiting friends and family elsewhere for the day.But yesterday the chicken murders were here, which draw some people, and a volleyball tournament was in progress at the Primaria playground. Teams from Las Varas, Chacala, and San Jose del Valle (near Puerto Vallarta) were here for the afternoon. The teams were composed of young guys, averaging may 19 or 20.

And young women and their Mom's ran some refreshment stands. One of which was collecting money for community stuff. Like the San Rafael Day stuff. When I wondered down to the court to check out the action, one of the local guys said to me, "Oh, the guys from San Jose are all gay". Young Mexicans, or at least Chacaleans, seem to be highly attuned to the sexuality of their counterparts from other places. And often call each other "gay". Which seems to be considered both funny and derogatory.
So anyway, in general, when I hear the local guys calling someone else "gay", I always try to present a semi-disgusted look on my face, as in "How un-cool can you get"? Yesterday a local young man, who often calls other guys "gay", was particularly vocal about his team's opponents being "gay". I gave him in hard time. As in "Oh, how is it, exactly, you know he is gay?" "Personal experience?" And then everyone started laughing at him, and joking around. He seemed to think it was funny too, and life went on.

The joke was on me though, because it turned out some of the players on the other team were very "out". And very flamboyant and open about it. When they saw I was taking photos they made sure I got photos of them posing. Very funny guys.Sexuality/sexual perference, etc is interesting around here. At least to me.There are a couple of young men in the Las Varas/Chacala area who dress up as women, or at least, very decoratively and effeminately, and no one seems to pay much attention. They seem to be active and accepted members around town. Noticable, but that's all.Of course, there may things going on around here I don't know about. I noticed one of those effeminate young men was being pushed around by some drunk 16 year olds at the big Las Varas fiesta one night last February. Two other people and I walked up to the group, and asked XXX if he could help us with something. We all walked away from the drunks together. And they didn't follow. I hope they were embarassed. It seemed like they were.

What I see though, is very interesting, and nice, in my opinion. In my former (conservative, Catholic, town) for example, it would be unlikely you would see a man who dresses mostly as a woman, teaching dance routines to boys and girls on the school playground. In preparation for a big community-wide show.
When I was walking home at the end of the day I ran into this vender, selling toys for 10 pesos. The streets of Chacala were totally deserted at our end of town, and I ended up taking some photos of him. And buying a couple of things. I took about a half dozen photos, and I think it cheered him up some. He really got into posing, and had a nice smile by the time we finished with the picture taking.
This is a local gentleman who often is working on some handcraft or carpentery project on his front porch. Piecework for the local fishing industry. Today he was making leaders for hooks for some fisherman. Sometimes he is making what looks like wooden lobster traps, but I'm not sure what they are.

Bright and early yesterday morning, a Saturday, the kid trash patrol crew was out in force again. Picking up the trash thrown out of the trucks and vehicles of people driving in and out of the gated community. Bags full. It doesn't seem appropriate to me for kids to be picking up garbage that adults throw out of their very large and expensive vehicles. Aurora was in charge, and Jaime, a wonderful young man who is working hard on his English and computer skills, was driving. Interesting enough, the girls were picking up the trash, while the boys rode in the truck. At least while I was taking pictures. In any case, the kids were having a good time, and that counts for alot. They are still so innocent in many ways in Chacala. The kids here, with a few exceptions, don't seem to spend much time in front of TV. It's still kind of new here, maybe three or four years old, and the cable (which is necessary) is about 500 pesos a month. ($45US).The kids in Chacala (like poor kids everywhere, I guess) are geniuses at finding things to play with, and making up games, and enjoying themselves. Runniing around freely and having adventures. Even the littlest kids, usually under a sibling or cousin's supervision are often over at the playground, running around together. And dancing is very popular, all year around. The after-school program at the Bibliotecha, on the Primaria grounds, has become very popular lately. With all age groups, not just the elementary kids who usually have a study hour before activities. I'm not sure why. Baylin is working with the program now, maybe that's the difference.

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