Saturday, July 28, 2007

Polite in Chacala

This week I am loving the weather in Chacala. It IS still hot and humid, with ocean breezes, but the sky goes from blue to thunderclouds to a few light drops of rain, to sunshine, and then it starts all over again. It doesn’t rain enough to stop anyone from doing normal daily activities: swimming, lying on the beach, hanging out the laundry, playing on the road, doing construction work, whatever.I was around the house all morning: cleaning, laundry, filling the water storage containers, weeding the garden, taking the trash for this building down to the road. And admiring the kittens, who are crawling all over and drinking milk. And using the litter box.

I like having neighbors downstairs. It’s much different than having big rowdy vacationing families here from Guadalajara for Semana Santa.These two couples work everyday. The younger ones have a fruit stand on the beach, from 11am until just before dark. The other couple works at Las Brisas everyday, from 11am until maybe 10pm.

Today Suleima (Sule for short) and I made another clothesline for her clothes. From a piece of rope I found on the beach last night. I washed and rinsed the salt and sand out of it. And then pruned from thorny lemon tree branches back so the clothes hanging on the new line wouldn’t get snagged.

Last Fall my son brought down my favorite pruners. I had given my gardening tools to him when I got rid of everything, before I moved to Chacala. It was really nice of him to do that. I use them a lot around here. Things grow so fast during the rainy season.A few days ago I bought a new pack of plastic clothes pins from the truck that comes around with laundry and household stuff for sale. There were 36 pins for $1.80US. They’re six different colors and I don’t like the pink or purple pins so I gave them to Sule (pronounced Sue-lei) and Suzie. She’s the other downstairs wife. I like seeing the clothing hanging on the line. I have clotheslines around my patio, on three sides. Nice and colorful. Things dry quickly. Maybe three or four hours. No one seems to hang things in the direct sunlight, so I follow that method too. Maybe the sunlight is too strong.

Last night Sule came up, about 9pm. Very late for Chacala. She said Juan was sleeping. I wasn’t sure if she wanted something, or what. Then it clicked that she probably wanted to look at the photos I have been taking of the two of them, at their stand.

We looked at the photos, and deleted the ones she didn’t like. And made a new album for them. I am going to email them to her email address. And probably print some, for her Mom. She says she looks at her email every week or two. Sule showed me how to spell her name, when we titled the album: “ Suleima and Juan”. I had been pronouncing it wrong. I thought it was "Sulima". She was so tactful. I am going to take more photos today, after the Coke truck comes by.

I am slowly learning about being polite, kinder, and tactful in Chacala. (These are skills I have needed to learn for a long time, in the U.S. too). The local people here are sooo polite, and tactful. And kind. In fact, too tactful for me, because often whatever I am too thick (and lacking in Spanish) to get their subtlety. Sometimes what they are trying to tell me flies right over my head. Mirador is getting a new roof on the palapa overlooking the ocean. It's pretty tall.
But they usually try again until I get it. (Or write me off as another dumb gringo). Mostly it’s to do with social customs. Like don’t embarrass someone by asking for a ride. It might be really inconvenient for them, and they wouldn’t be able to tell you that. But if you are just standing there with your stuff, obviously looking for a ride, but not making eye contact, they will stop for if you if they are so inclined. At least I think I have that right.

And if you compliment an infant, to the Mother, you have to pat the baby’s head. So the evil forces won’t make them ill. I am becoming a believer about that, actually.
This is a Jako (sp?) fruit. They get pretty big, and I, personally, am not a fan of the taste.

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