Thursday, December 21, 2006

Visiting in Chacala

The churchbell in Chacala
It’s kind of peculiar, or maybe even strange, how important doing this blog has become in my daily life. I started doing it as a replacement for cut-and-pasting the same stories for emails to family. And friends. And now that I have a camera, I am thinking about how to write with illustrations. Sort of.

Now that I have been during this for about 20 months, I personally know very few of the people who read this. That is, I think most people who read this are strangers. And some have become kind of friends, via emails and Comments. Or, if I do actually know them, it’s because we met when they visited in Chacala sometime in the past three years.
Daniel, whacking away at the Pinata
I regularly get emails from people I haven’t met face-to-face. I like it. There are lots of interesting people out there, and it’s very interesting to hear their reactions to things I write, and to the photos I post. And I like getting corrections, like the Jamaica/Jicama thing. I knew I had it wrong went I was writing it. And then published without correcting it. Oh well. Some of the boys, with dog, in the church,
waiting for the Posada to start
I never imagined that I would be getting helpful, interesting, thought-provoking, useful, comments from strangers about what I write. I feel like I have some kind of friendship with some of the people who “Comment” regularly. And occasionally I end up having an email conversation with people who have been following My Life.Natalia as Maria, for the Posada
I also have had two “stalkers”, which can be very, very annoying. “Stalker” meaning people who write weird, compulsion, annoying, or strange emails repeatedly, even with no response from me. It would be hard to stop then from reading, but I can stop them from emailing or Commenting. So it’s okay.Alejandro, hitting his first Pinata
And sometimes people who have been reading this actually come to Chacala. There are about a dozen people in town right here now, that I knew of, who have been reading it, or found Chacala through it. I don't know if that's good or bad, but it's nice to meet them. One couple had never heard of Chacala until they happened onto my blog. They had visited Honduras several years ago. They were looking for Honduras blogs, I think, and found La Gringa's Blogicitio, the blog of American woman living in La Cieba, Honduras. She had my blog listed on her blog, and checked out this blog. They are very nice, and I’m glad they came.

I am sometimes nervous when I met people who have been reading this. Partly because they know a lot about my life, and I usually know nothing about them. Or almost nothing. It’s really good for me to see how many nice people there are in the world. And who come to Chacala. Girls in church, waiting for the Posada to start
I want people who come here to have a nice time in Chacala. Especially if this blog was part of the reasons they were drawn here. But it’s really different being here for a week or two, as compared to being here for an extended period. If you are here for awhile, you have time to learn some Spanish, maybe enough to make some friends, and acquaintances. And people start to recognize you around town. I know that when I actually started to have a life here, as in doing laundry, getting groceries, figuring out how to get what I needed, I started to feel at home. And I felt more comfortable when I had kind of settled in, and was doing the things I like to do: gardening, swimming, drawing, writing, making things, visiting, doing housework, playing with kids and so on.

I struggled at first with finding foods I like to eat, and where to buy them, and how to cook them. And to find English language reading material. But those things have kind of worked themselves out.

And it’s nice to be able to make a homey place for yourself. Of course, some people are masters of that. There are people who bring fabric, and special things, even for a short stay. They know how to make their ordinary room into something special and homey. With just a few things brought from home, and maybe some nice things bought around town, or at the tianguis.
Two best friends, with doggie
Looking back to my first trip here, and then my return trip (when I hoped to stay for a long time), I can see there are some ways to enhance your time here for just a week or two.

One is to pick a place to eat, and eat there regularly. Or maybe two places. Tres Mars and Koko Bongo's are both very friendly and open to chatting with people that keep coming back. And other places too. If you eat at Dona Lupe's more than once you are treated like family.

You can ask for help with your Spanish, tip well if you can, be appreciative, and ask questions about the food, or town, or whatever. When I was first here I spent a lot of time at Chico’s. Mainly because my first landlady’s family owns it. Guadalupe and Chocomille
Lately, since Narcissa mostly retired from restaurant life, I have spending more time at Tres Mars. It’s open later in the evening. “Later in the evening” meaning they serve food after dark. And Marta, the owner is really fun to be around. And the “staff”, and her husband Martine, are very friendly. They have three very nice upstairs rooms on the back of the lot where the restaurant is. Across the street from the beach. It’s possible to call them for a reservation if you speak Spanish. No kitchens, but nice shared patio with hammock, and a good beach view. Or if you come to Chacala without reservations, that’s a good place to start. After the Techos de Mexico rentals, of course.

Going to the same tienda and a little souvenir stop to visit is another way get to know people. Or if you are interested in fishing, going to the muelle (dock) a lot might be a place to start. “Yachties” (what people in Chacala call people who come on yachts), who are here in the winter, sailing thru Chacala Bay. Their crews often hang out at Las Brisas. So if you want to practice your English (just kidding) that’s a good place to go.

Or if you want to spend time with kids in an organized way, you can talk to Viki at the Bibliotecha, about helping out in the after-school program. Some people come prepared to do something in particular with the kids. Having some Spanish helps with doing that. Becky came a few summers ago ready to do a small percussion/rhythm band project with the kids. Culminating in the show by the kids who stuck it out. Other people bring materials for a crafty-project. Kids and moms really like it if you have a camera with it’s own printer, where you can print out photos the same dayMy sign for Dona Lupe's room with shared bath for rent, cheap.
Anyway. It’s a few days before Christmas here, and there are a few lights and Christmas trees around town. The Posada is happening everyday, in the late afternoon. There is kid’s Christmas party, put on by the Scholarship (EBACH) kids on Saturday. Christmas Eve is a night for family/friends parties, usually late into the night. And Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve seem to be pretty quiet in Chacala. Las Brisas is having a gringo dinner and sometimes there are private gringo Christmas dinners around town.

The ocean water is a perfect temparature right now, the weather is wondeful, and even the whales are gathering here. Life is good.

1 comment:

Brenda said...

It has been windy and cool here also. Definately a lot more wind than last winter. My plants are not liking it at all. They look sad. Our landlord gave us a jamaica plant from his garden and it is just starting to flower. It is pretty.
I hope that you didn't find my comments offensive about the jamaica and the mats on your patio.
Brenda