Thursday, September 27, 2007

Dead of the Dead in Coming to Chacala. Not Really

Sometimes I have errands in Las Varas or Las Penita, the two towns nearest Chacala. They have banks, doctors, and plant nurseries there. A few days ago I had to get to an ATM to withdraw a reservation deposit someone had deposited in my U.S. bank account.

I left home about 8am. As I was walking down my steps to the road, the newer collectivo driver zipped by at about 70mph (thanks to the newly graded road). He didn't hear me yelling, and then it turned out he didn't even down into town to pick-up people waiting at the store. I walked on down to the store, saw the people waiting, and decided to just start walking. I walked as far as where the paved road and the beach road meet, and waited there.
The first thing I noticed was that instead of hiring men to hand machete the very tall weeds by the sides of the road out to the highway, this year someone had sprayed the weeds with some chemical. From past observation, probably someone who can't or won't read the instructions, doesn't understand mixing the powered or liquid chemicals with water, and won't wear gloves or masks. Very scary and sad.The trash was piling up again. Tourist and workers love to toss stuff out of trucks. The good children of Chacala can hardly keep up with the mess. But they try.

I have about a 8 minute capacity for waiting for a ride, and forgot to bring a book. So after 9 minutes of waiting, I took out my camera and looked for things to take photos of. A few drivers stopped who were driving back toward Chacala stopped to chat. And Guillermo and his daughter stopped for me, but they were only going as far at the town well, a few miles down the road.

I ended up waiting about 15 minutes for a ride with Frank and Frankie, who was on his way to public kindergarten in Las Varas. There may be a Kinder teacher in Chacala tomorrow. We'll see.

Frank (Francisco) dropped me off at the Crucero (cross) de Chacala, where the Chacala road meets the highway. I started waiting for the taxi to La Penita. I was heading that way, south, because I had 100 ($9US) pesos set aside for new plants. And that's where the nurseries are.

I got really bored really quickly, waiting for the taxi to come back. Actually four came by, but they were all full.So I took out my camera again. The tienda at the Crucero is being remodelled on the highway side. apparently to be a liquor store. I really like the glass block around the windows.
I started taking shots of the fruit stands across the highway.
And noticed some strange decorations. I went across the highway, and one stand was filled with Day of the Dead decorations.
Skeletons and pumpkins mainly. At first I thought "oh pumpkins, maybe I can make a pie!"
Then I realized they were plastic.Chacala doesn't seem to celerate the Dead of the Day the way some areasin Mexico do.
the Lake near Patzcuaro has a huge deal, with lots of tourists. It's a toursit destination, the celebration I mean.

But in Chacala it's mainly the day(s) for families to visit their dead. At the cemeteries. And also at the roadside memorials for people who died in accidents along the highway. People make or buy huge tissue paper flower decorations for the graves and their homes. And buy or gather lots of flowers. On the two days when Day of the Dead is celebrated, you are likely to see pickup trucks filled with family members, headed to the cemeteries. I think they have picnics, and clean the graves, but I am not sure about that. Like Memorial Day in the U.S., sort of.

I was surprised to see the decorations for sale so early, a month away. But then I thought the U.S. with Halloween and Christmas. It's just merchandising, same all over the worldI finally got a ride after about 12.5 minutes. I practiced using the close-up feature on the camera for a couple of flower blossoms by the side of the road, and almost didn't see the collectivo/taxi coming by. But he saw me, and stopped for me.I always recognize this cab because of the creative and inventive use made of inner tube material, which seems to serve as a hinge.

I got out at the nursery on the east side of the highway, made a purchase, got another taxi to La Penita and the ATM, and then another taxi to the nursery near the Pemex and then another taxi from there to the Crucero. Only waited a minute or two each time. And then two minutes at the Crucero, where I caught the collectivo heading for home. I was gone for 2 hours and 15 minutes, but only found one plant, another Rose of the Desert. It's a big one with lot's of branches for growing cuttings. It cost 20p (1.80Us). My total taxi bill was 41 pesos. Under $3US. Cheaper than having a car, and much easier for me, except when I get bored waiting. But I am keeping better at finding things to occupy me while I am waiting.

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