Monday, June 18, 2007

Rainy Nights in Chacala

Overview of Chacala. Chacala Beach is to the right, town to the center,
and Chacalilla (a "development" to the right)
The driver of one of the two Chacala collectivos was fired a couple of days ago. He was the one who was driving when the windshield was smashed by a skinny I-beam that was blocking the paved road at windshield height. Someone wrote me a “Comment” yesterday predicting that would happen, and she/he was correct. I was surprised. But, who knows?This is La Caleta, the surfing area accesssible by boat from Chacala. About 15 minutes north.
I didn’t realize how much I trusted these collectivo drivers to drive safely until we started having new drivers on a regular basis. We had the same drivers most of the time I have been here, Prieto and a few others. But now, with Prieto driving regular taxi, Samuel is the long-term driver. I think he has been doing the Chacala run for maybe five months or so. And he’s wasn’t fired, for which I am glad. It was the other one who lost his job. Samuel is an attentive and careful driver. He pays attention to other vehicles and to his passengers. And various cows and whatever along the road. I feel safe and comfortable riding with him. He’s very thoughtful and helps people when they need help. The second driver, for the other van, keeps changing and it’s hard for me to get comfortable with a new driver. Not a lot of choice though, seeings as there’s only two Chacala collecdtivos, and the occasional regular taxi.

There was a very heavy rainstorm early this morning, about 5am. Lots of thunder and lightning, and a heavy downpour. The power went out about 5:20am. Suddenly the town was totally dark. I am not sure when it when back on, but it was sometime after 8am. I always unplug by fridge, computer power strip, fan and light bulb when the lightning starts. This place has as it’s power source a wire running from another house’s porch light bulb socket. The line is made up of a half-dozen pieces of wire spliced together.. And it’s definitely not a grounded-electrical system.When there’s a lightning storm around here, part of it is almost directly overhead, During the rainy season the power usually goes of off two or three times a week. Usually for a few hours

My landlady’s son and family arrived about 5:10am to sleep in the empty downstairs room. Three kids. They live in one of the cuesto-tourist shops on the be beach road, and the rain was just too heavy for the jerry-rigged roof.When I came home this afternoon I visited with my landlady at her restaurant cuesto. “Cuesto” seems to mean a jerry-rigged shack with crappy roofs and dirt floors. There are about 20 strung out along the beach road. Most have power and water. Some of the roofs are more waterproof than others. Particularly over the areas where there are items for sale.Dona Lupe said they stayed dry all night at the restaurant. But I noticed that one of the bigger cuestos was getting a new roof: a huge sheet of black plastic was being spread over a rusty old corrugated metal roof. I don’t know how long that will last.

I rode out to the Crucero de Chacala this morning. That’s where the fruit stands are out on the Tepic-P.V. highway. The hour or so of heavy rain did a lot of damage on the Chacala-to-the-highway road. Boulders more than 2 feet across had rolled down the embankments on the road in a bunch of places. Especially at the curves. And in a few places the mud was deep, maybe 6-8 inches deep. It’s heavy clay mud and very slippery. All the worker-filled trucks coming from Las Varas were driving pretty carefully. I know some of the crews turned around and left Chacala when the foremen realized there was no power.

I think early this morning (the 15th) was the official start of the rainy season, even though we had the first rains on the 9th and 10th. It’s also my 3.5 year anniversary of starting to live in Chacala. Pretty fast 3.5 years. This is my fourth summer here. And it’s the hottest one by far, so far.

1 comment:

Tom said...

Storms in the tropics are never boring. I love the thunderstorms, and the air is so fresh after.

Wonderful pictures as usual. The aerial picture of the town and beaches sure look inviting.

Be safe.