Wednesday, November 01, 2006

A Morning in Las Varas, Near Chacala

This morning I walked down to Aurora's, to check to see if she had a room available for a young family in February. My plan was to go on from there to Las Varas, on the collectivo, to do errands. I ended up riding into Las Varas in Aurora and Beto's new truck. A very nice 10 year old Nissan pickup. With their son Alberto driving. No one in the family seems to have a licensia or seguro, license or insurance. They seemed surprised I would ask about it. Kind of like, "Why I would have licensia or seguro?"
Aurora and I have the same list for town: the ATM at the bank for cash, and then the Comex, for paint. There was a large line for the ATM, which now has two terminals. ATM cards are still new for most people around here, and it can often take someone 10 or 15 minutes to figure how how to get their money. With the older people, I think part of the problem is not being able to read some of the words on the directions. I have helped some people out of few times, pantomiming the next step, and so on. Anyway, the were about 30 people ahead of us and we were probably in line for 3o or 40 minutes. No one seems anxious and frustrated with the wait. Everyone just talked and joked and visited with friends walking by. Aurora and I had both thought, "Oh, Wednesday, mid-morning, no ATM line". But we were wrong because tomorrow is Day of the Dead, and today is Day of the Dead for Angelitos. Dead children. So everyone was in town buying fresh and paper/plastic flowers to decorate the graves with, and to make sort of altars also.

Yesterday I was at the Kinder, where the new, Eduardo, and previous, Julietta,
Kinder Teacher, along with one of the Moms, were making a special table for today.
At the bank in Las Varas, in fact, I think at all the banks in Mexico, there's always a young man in a black uniform, carrying what looks like a small machine gun. Today, this guard's small son was helping him out at work. I didn't get a good shot of the gun, but you can see the handle sticking out. He was very sweet with his little boy. That's the boy's mom following them.

Alberto was waiting for us in the truck, around the corner from the bank. He drove us over to the paint store, the Comex. They have a very modern computer mix and match paint machine there. Athough the computer seemed to turned on, it was definitely not being used. The personal touch of the paint store guy seemed to be good enough. I got two gallon (actually, I think I bought 2- 4 liter) cans of what appeared to be the better quality acrylic latex paint. I think that's what it's called. Aurora and the paint store guys chose it for me, and it seemed expensive to me. $160pesos a can ($14.50US maybe). But I haven't bought paint in five years, so who knows? We got"free"painter's hats
and mixing sticks. And I forgot to get a roller tray.

While Aurora was having her three different paints mixed, I walked around, taking photos of Las Varas. This Pollo place (mostly take-out) looked great. Chicken cooked both the old fashioned and the new way. I love the flat grilled chicken. It took me a year of longing to finally overcome my fear about getting samonella poisiong, and start eating this stuff. Now the limit is not having the cash, not fear.

This is the corner, two blocks, "quadros", back down the highway toward P.V. from the Pacifico bus station, where the two Chacala collectivo's pick-up people ready to go home. The key and lock guy for the whole Las Varas area has his stop behind the Pacifico bus terminal. He is some kind of non-Catholic Christian, I think Jehovah's Witness, Testigos. He gives out little wallet calendar cards when you go to his shop.A fruit and vegetable store, with juice only, no pop. And the three foam packing boxes on the right in the back, were grapes, grown, picked, and shipped from Delano, CA. Heart of Caesar Chavez's fight for farm workers. Most people believe NAFTA is destroying small Mexican's farmers, and this would seem to be evidence of that. How could it make sense to ship grapes from Central California when grapes grow well in many parts of Mexico? Don't know, don't understand, don't like it anyway.
Some of the newer, half-completed buildings around Las Varas are really decoration and unusual looking.
This last photo is from the beach in front of Las Brisas, the "made-for-gringos" beach restaurant in Chacala. It's the only restaurant with a sign like this: "No Peddlers". Las Brisas has a wireless set-up now. Apparently it's for customers of the restaurant, bar, and hotel. Not a drop-in internet place, but I may have that wrong.

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