Friday, September 07, 2007

Summer Tourists in Chacala

It seems amazing to me that there are so many gringos around Chacala this time of year. The previous three summers it's been pretty unusual to see gringo tourists around here. There were some, but not many.Really, I would say this is not the time to come to Chacala. For one thing, this is the hurricane season. For another, it rains a lot this time of year. Luckily it mostly pours at night, but it’s still, hot, humid and overcast many days in early September. And mud everywhere. But people seem to be happy enough, even with the mixed up weather.

Chad and his Dad, Wayne, are in Chacala for a stay. At their new place in the Chacalilla development. They said they like it there, but they miss living right in the village. I ran into them at Chico’s, where they were hanging out with a couple of friends. One from Florida and the other from near Charleston S.C. They are surfers, and they said they were getting some good surfing up at La Caleta. Juan, the van driver, and Moola/Fernando (who manages Chico’s these days), were sitting with them. Along with another friend of Wayne’s, Ricardo. It looked like they were having fun. Many local people really seem to like Chad and Wayne, and always seem to have nice things to say about them.They said they read this blog alot and liked the idea of their photos being posted here. Unfortunately, the photos didn't turn out very well. I haven't figured out about flash photos yet. Chad and another business partner used to own Casa Tortuga, a very nice rental with pool. They bought it from the original builders/owners. But changes came and they decided to move onto something else.Right now there is a couple from Spain staying at Majahua. His family owns the lot and old home where the writer D.H. Lawrence stayed in Mazatlan. I think they are deciding what to do with the space. Develop it, sell it, whatever. They were having a week in Chacala before heading north to Mazatlan.

There is a large group, from Canada, I think, here to work on a Habitat for Humanity project. I think they might be Rotarians. They are coming in three overlapping groups of about 16 in each group. It think they are here for a week or ten days each.They are staying at the new hotel. I asked them why they were staying there, since it’s an atypical place for a Habitat group to stay. They usually stay at Techos de Mexico rentals, partly because Techos are loosely connected with Habitat.The guy told me they were worried about how they were going to handle the heat and humidity in Chacala this time of year. And they wanted air conditioning. I also noticed they were eating at Las Brisas every night. The other night I walked up the hill, on the way home, with a group of them. They said they were eating at Las Brisas because worried about getting sick here, in Chacala, from the food.I asked them how it was that they had decided Las Brisas was safe, and a woman said it was because the girls who run it speak some English. And there is English on their menus. Interesting.

Anyway, they seem to be having fun. Today was this group, the second group’s, day off. They spent it in front of Las Brisas, enjoying the sun, sand, and the water. One of them asked me where they could find Chocolate Tequila. I have never heard of such a thing, but apparently it exists. Somewhere.

The last of Tropical storm Henrietta seems to have passed by. We have had about 10 days of kind of exciting waves. But things have calmed down for the moment.

A new guy, from Oregon, is back in town. He bought a lot in Chacala last winter. It’s on the steep hillside up from the paved road, kind of at the north end of town. He’s coming back in December to start building. It turned out we have some acquaintances in common. From many years ago. I guess it’s a small world after all.

Actually that seems to happen quite a bit in Chacala. At least to me. I guess the 6 degrees of separation idea might be valid. I bet I have met 40 or 50 people here who know someone I know. Back in the other world Whatever.

There’s a woman who is at Mar de Jade for six months, mostly volunteering at the kid program in Las Varas. The clinic is closed for now, but the kid program is still going on. Mar de Jade is closed now, too, and most of the staff is gone. It looks beautiful right now, green and lush. The main building has a new addition being added on to the backside, toward Majahua. The design seems unusual, but it’s hard to tell how it will look when it’s done.

My favorite visitor at the moment isn’t a gringo. It’s Daniel, a young man who is visiting from Monterrey. The first time he came to Chacala was just a few weeks after I moved here. I was staying at Aurora’s, and he was staying upstairs.He and I and some other guests at Aurora’s would sit around on my patio at night, doing inter-cambios. Practicing Spanish and English. Daniel has been in the U.S. and Canada, and works as an Inspector in a refrigeration unit factory. And goes to University, working on a degree in Human Resources. One year to go.

Daniel’s back in Chacala for a week, taking a vacation. We walked around town late this afternoon, while I took some photos for a project. And then stopped to visit with another visitor at one of the restaurants. We had a nice time. At least I did. The other woman speaks Spanish, so we talked Spanish and English and visited, while they had beers and I had a Squirt. I left them to eat supper, and came home to edit photos. And write this.

My favorite memory of Daniel’s first visit was going to a New Year’s Eve party at Edsel’s. It was the first party I had been to in Chacala where there were both gringo and local guests. It was a great party, and we both had fun. I left early, not realizing Daniel didn’t have a clue where Aurora’s was from Edsel’s place. But someone realized he was lost and brought him back to Aurora’s sometime in the night.It’s not that Chacala is that big, but on a very dark, moonless night, and more than a few beers, it’s probably easy to get lost. I kind of miss the good old days, of quiet summers with few visitors from the North. But there are so many nice visitors this summer that it’s kind of hard to complain. This has been a great summer for me. Lot’s of nice folks.

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