Thursday, March 08, 2007

Changes with the Chacala Collectivo

Miguel Angel, usually called “Prieto”, has been the full-time collectivo driver the whole time I have been in Chacala. He was the first collectivo, or combi, driver I met when I came to Chacala. He drives the black van back and forth from Chacala to Las Varas from 6:30 in the morning until about 7pm. Or even later. Every day. Until now.The driver of the other, grey, Chacala-Las Varas combi changes, all the time. None of the drivers are from Chacala, except that occasionally Isreal, or one of his sons drives for a few days. Prieto has been driving the black van every day for four years that I know of. I think he has actually been driving six or seven years. Anyway, I think he has only been off 5 days in the past four years.

But it looks like that punishing schedule has come to an end for Prieto. He has a bad chest cold, at least I think that’s what’s wrong. He told me tonight he will start driving again when he feels better. But he will become a regular taxi driver, based in Las Varas, and will work a more normal work schedule. Whatever that might be. He said he will give out his cell number, so people can call him for pickups.I will really miss his singing, and sense of humor, and his kindness and helpfulness to me. But I guess I will still get rides with him occasionally. I don’t do well with change, and I have gotten really used to Prieto being the main Chacala driver. You can rely on him coming and going a somewhat regular schedule. And he was

The current driver of the second Chacala-Las Varas collectivo, Samuel, is fine, but he’s not from Chacala. Maybe a Chacala person will become the new driver. The current replacement driver is the son of the owner of the taxi company, and he is not exactly dedicated to his job. Oh well. Changes, changes, changes.

This morning I walked down to the tienda to catch the regular 7:30am (more or less) collectivo down at Juan’s tienda. Usually that bus is filled mostly with kids who are heading to school in Las Varas or La Penita. About 8 adults got on Samuel’s grey van as he arrived in Chacala. And by the time he looped thru town the van was jam packed with 17 people. 9 kids and 8 adults and the driver.A local man who has a little trouble walking was waiting with us at the tienda. He is just lately starting to be able to walk around town. His daughter was helping him. He was headed for the Securo, which I think means the medical clinic in Las Varas.

I love how people in Chacala seem to defer to people who need to sit in the front passenger’s seat. People who have trouble getting around always are helped into the front seat. Or in and out of the back seats. And people move out of the front seat when they see someone needs it. And kids respond when an adult signals them to move when someone needs extra space or help.It seems to me that most people in Chacala, and maybe in Las Varas too, are very aware of what’s going on with the people around them. Often I am amazed how people step up and help out. When I was getting off the bus the other day I had two large bundles. A man helped me with one as I got ready to get off the bus. And another person took my bundle from me as I stepped down. And he carried it to the taxi area. I don’t know if I looked really old (which I am) or he just felt like helping. He definitely refused a tip.

And often when I am walking back toward the collectivo stop in Las Varas, people who work along that street tell me if the van has just arrived or left or whatever. It’s hard to explain how nice it is to know that many people here are keeping and eye on what’s going on around them, and always seem to be willing to lend a hand.

I love it that people say “hi” to me when they are driving by around Chacala. And lately, in Las Varas too. Sometimes it’s people I barely recognize. And I like it that I recognize a lot of the cars around here, and their drivers. Even if I don’t know their names.

We are almost at the end of the full moon this month. It’s so nice when the moonlight is strong enough to light the way at night. And the moonlight looks so lovely, shining across the water just before it starts to get light in the morning.We just finished a spell of bigger waves, and there are lots of small shells on the beach after the high tide starts receding. And some dead fish. My theory is the waves smack them into the ocean floor and kills them, but who knows?

1 comment:

Sabrina said...

You just mention something I miss a lot from Mexico. From my own city. The kidness. I miss a lot that people say Hi, good morning and good evening when they are walking near, that you can start a conversation with any stranger and you mmight even becoe friend of them and tlk often with them. I miss that a Lot. Here.. i say Hello and most of the times people look at me as a crazy woman, sometimes I think I didn't use the correct make up nad I might look as Fiona from Shrek or something that frighten them.. but no.. It's just they ae not used to this...I miss that..