Monday, March 26, 2007

Taxes in Chacala

Yesterday I was walking down the dirt road that borders Chacala beach area. I was headed down to the little computer place that’s been open on weekends most of this winter. It will be open everyday starting next Thursday. For Semana Santa. Very handy for me.

It’s in one of the little palapa shack places, called either “puestos” or “cuestos”, on the non- beach side of the road. It’s one of about 25 other similar structures. I haven’t figured out how it all works. I assume it’s government land, because of where it is, but I don’t understand who gets which spots or if they pay rent, and if they do, to whom?I think the CFE (Federal Electricity Commission) regularized all the electrical connections for the cuestos last year. Everyone seems to have a meter now. Before there were wires and extension cords running all over the place.

I think about half the cuesto spaces are in business year-around. And many of those have families living behind them. Under roofs, with toilets and electricity. Then there are the places that are only open during holidays and three day weekends. Three are places with public showers and toilets, and there are restaurants and whatever that only open for big tourist days.

I have been curious about how the whole set-up works, and yesterday I saw a piece of the process. I know the cuesto people have regular meetings, and they seem to be well attended. But I have no idea who call them, who leads them, or what they are talking about. It seems inappropriate for me to stand at the back of the meeting area and listen. But someday my curiosity might get the best of me.These guys, who are tax guys from Compostella, the municipio (county seat) were marking off the temporary cuesto places on the beach side of the beach road. There’s a barbed wire fence a long that area. It’s intended to control access to the beach camping area that Delphin’s restaurant seems to control. Where most of the motor homes park, mid-December thru early March.Lalo is one of the town’s leaders, (in the middle), was talking with the two tax guys.And another guy was using a tape measure to mark the places. I think they were tying rag markers along the fence.There was quite a crowd watching the action. And quite a bit of give and take between the local people (mainly Chacala and Las Varas people) and the officials. These two women have business in the cuesto or beach area.Lalo seemed to be acting as the advocate for the observers, but I’m not really sure what was happening. There seemed to be some upset voices, but I didn’t really understand.I do know that in the next week there will be cuesto’s built all along both sides of the road, heading out toward Las Varas. And the Semana Santa fun will have begun.

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