Wednesday, October 18, 2006

A Great Day in Chacala; Una Buena Dia!!!!

This was one of those days when things just work out well, one thing after another. Or maybe it's just that I feel happy and satisfied with whatever has happened so far today, so it doesn't really matter what happened. Maybe that doesn't make any sense.

Anyway, I got up and got ready to go into Las Varas to get the money for the owner's electric bill, which he shares with the kind woman who has allowed him a "temporary' power hookup for the last three years or so.

I was worried the guy who delivers the blue plastic 5 gallon water jugs wouldn't see my empty jugs sitting on the porch, but I left them there anyway, and walked on down the paved road toward town. And here he came, the water guy. He slowed, signaled with eyebrows and head nods, did I need water?, and I nodded, yes, and off he went. And when I got home later, the water was there, and the pesos I left were gone. Hopefully those two events are related. And the three new jugs were waiting for me, cooling off in the shade. Very good.
Got down to Juan's tienda, and saw some other people were waiting for the collectivo too. We sat around and gossiped with Guia and Chapina. I visited with Guillermo, who was supervising the one employee of the Water Board, Julio. Guillermo is one of my favorite people in town. He is actively trying to make a difference here. In his case, he brings a new, functioning water system, and an awareness of the value of fiscal transperancy in local government. He always cheers me up.

I am just lately becoming aware of being more comfortable, in some ways, with educated, upper/middle class Mexicans than with people with little education or life experience outside of Nayarit. Or with wealthy Mexicans. It's not good or bad, there's just a sort of a comfort level, or something about seeing some things the same way, or having similar experiences or expectations about how life works.

Anyway, the collectivo didn't come for a long time, and I started wandering around taking some photos of Marta's garden, next to her restaurant, Tres Mars. And discovered she has a nice little Guadalupe shrine in on the wall of her house. It's a new house, painted yellow, and has three very nice rental units upstairs, with patio and hammocks and a great view. Right across the road from the beach. It's definitely a place to check out if you are looking for a place to stay. You would probably want to meet them and deal with them, Marta and Martine, face-to-face, regarding renting one of the units. Speaking Spanish would also be helpful.

Finally Orlando, whose Dad owns the taxi company that the Chacala collectivos are part of, showed up. Orlando now has a girlfriend down in Chacala, so you often see the collectivo he likes to drive around town, but it's generally because he's visiting his girlfriend, not because he's picking up passengers. If it wasn't annoying, it would be kind of cute to see the romance going on.

Anyway, he find showed up and off we went to Las Varas. I went to the Post Office. For four months I have been waiting for a book someone accidently took to the U.S. and then mailed back. Never came. This Armadillo is the main decoration at the Post Office. The boss there reminded me that Amarillo Texas is named after this animal. Does that seem right?The Mailman, who delivers mail around Las Varas via a bike, was at the office. He told me he would bring my book down if it comes sometime. He's a sweetie. His evening and night job is selling the delicious muffins his wife bakes to passengers on the Pacifico inter-city buses as they come thru town.

Since I had my trusty best-friend camera with me I took photos of the newest thing to come to Las Varas. Besides Buddy, a former beach-dweller who now has an apartment in Las Varas.It's a self-service laundromat. Which has looked fully equiped for months, including a wide--screen TV. But it still doesn't seem to be operating yet. At least it wasn't open at 10am. Someone said it doesn't have a sewer hookup, but that seems a little unlikely. Of course, I didn't even know Las Varas had sewer hook-ups. Chacala certainly doesn't But Las Varas has about 14,000 people, so that's different I guess.This is an example of the latest construction technology at work in Las Varas. A pulley.
My favorite dogs were working hard, directing traffic at their regular intersections, as usual. They do their job by lying directly in the middle of the interection, or a handy pile of damp sand, if there's one handy.Went by the Plaza on the way to the bank. Waited in line 27 minutes for the ATM, which gave me all 500 peso ($5) bills. Then I waited in line in the bank for change, since no place in town except the gas station seems to have change for 500 peso bills. That took 34 minutes. Luckily people I knew were also standing in both lines, so there was something to do. When I got to the front of the bank line there was one teller and 52 people in line.

There was a big article in the Miama Herald this week about how the international banks like Citibank and HSBC, which bought up all but one major bank in Mexico, haven't reduced any of the outrageous fees Mexican banks charged prior to the take-overs. But don't worry, they have reduced staffing level in all the Mexican banks, to service levels they wouldn't tolerate in their European or U.S. banks. The Director of Banking for Mexico or someone like that, was being quoted extensively. His complaints certainly hold true in every bank I have been in Mexico. San Miguel and Patzcuaro were both really bad, except for Saturday am in SMA. I only waited 25 minutes there. At least in Chacala that have started using women tellers who can actually count. As opposed to the young men that used to count three your bills three or four times and still get it wrong.

Anyway. Went to the tienda and got some great looking celery/apio, which seems to be a new vegeetable in the local markets. Have only seen it in PV before. And even the Mexican giant, Commerciale, only has it about half the time. Delicious!

Went around to the collectivo stop, and Prieto, Miguel Angel, the driver, said, "cinco minutos" and we both laughed because he always says "cinco minutos", even if he is intending to wait however long it take to get a full load of paying bodies.So I went back over to the furniture store. I have been going in there every three or four weeks, asking how much a single wooden basic bed would cost. They never have one in stock, but it's kind of a chain, and the guy always says he can get me one in two days, delivered, if I pay up front. The price has gone down from 600 pesos, to 460 pesos over this time, but I am aiming for 350 pesos. (about $32US). I don't need the bed for another three weeks or so, so guess I will keep wandering in, and discussing the bed situation with him. Plus I want to make sure it's okay with Esparanza to have the bed delivered to her house before I actually order it. I already have a foam mattress, so I don't have to worry about paying for that too.

Back to the collectivo stop. Prieto saw me coming and zipped ahead and opened the front passenger door for me. With a flourish!!! I know it's the death seat, but I like knowing I can easily get out, rather than being stuck in the back of the van. Anyway, he was very gentlemanly and full of joking. And so was everyone on the van as we headed home.

First, we went by Chapina's mother's house to pick up Chapina. And I saw a nursery I had never noticed before. Everyone looked amazed I didn't know it was there. And repeatedly pointed of the sign to me. The nursery is on a little tiny back street about 10 feet wide. Prieto read the whole sign to me, in case I wouldn't read the Spanish. Words like Papaya, Mango, Pina, etc.

As we were about halfway out of town, a pick-up truck totally overloaded with palms fronds, made a left in front of us, coming off the highway. The truck was so covered with fronds you could hardly tell there was a truck under that pile. And best of all, there were four big dogs standing on the top of the pile, balancing like circus performers. Everyone in the van started yelling at me at take a picture. " SU CAMERA, UNA FOTOGRAFIA", but the moment was over. Prieto started to turn and follow the truck, but we ended up heading home. I love it that everyone was so aware of my picture taking, and kind of embarassed too. But it was a nice moment.

Then we headed out, with Prieto singing with his lovely voice. I love it that I can understand more and more of the words of songs in Spanish. Somehow it's easier than understanding someone talking in Spanish. We picked up Alvaro walking along the road. He gives tours of the Petrogylphs at Alta Vista and to a Huitchol rancho up in the mountains north of here. He gives off a kind of attractive bad-boy image, at least in my mind, and I am curious about him. He speaks some English and has good social skills. His tourists give him great reviews for his tours, so they're probably worth taking.

Got back to Chacala, and there were five or six people in the van who live up the hill, past the school, so I got a ride all the way home. Went in the house, put my stuff away. The town water was on, and I filled all my containers and showered with a bucket of water again. It's back to being hot and humid, so ten bucket showers a day is a bare (literally) minimum.

Heard a truck driving up the driveway and almost hid, thinking it was someone I didn't feel like dealing with. But, guess what!!! It was the electricity guys, the CFE. Federal Electricity Commission. Here to do the last step of the power installation.

Of course, I still don't have DC 6V power for house water pump. But buckets are okay. I can live with it for awhile. Pretty nice day. Today is Day 3 of the San Rafael Boogie. I finally found out that the fireworks and church bells repeatedly ringing at 5:30am are also part of the nine-day event. There's a service at the Iglesia at 6am I guess. I couldn't sleep last night and was wide awake at 5:15am so I got to hear the fireworks and bell ringing. Oh well.

There's a new small arena-type ring being put up in the open area uphill from Tres Mars. It is apparently for Cock Fights. The ones that used to be helded down on the south end of Chacala, between the beach road and the paved road. I think that's right. According to the poster at the market, it's for a bunch of day. I like the juxtaposition of San Rafael celebrations, with the priest blessing the fishing boats, and the chickens fighting unto death in a gambling arena. Lovely. I stuck this beach photo in because I love just love the Chacala Playa.

1 comment:

myahspirit said...

Just not into the chicken fights