Saturday, October 27, 2007

Time Shifting in Chacala

My blogging friend, Wayne, in Isla Mujeres, just mentioned that tonight is the night to fall back to Standard Time. It's Mountain Standard Time (don't know how to write that in Spanish) in Chacala. But Guadalajara ( 5 hours away) and Puerto Vallarta (2 hours away) are both in the Central Time zone. Which leads to confusion for some tourists.The Tourism officials in Nayarit (Chacala's state) and P.V. (Jalisco) are trying to get the boundary changed between the two time zones. Right now the time zone changes from Central to Mountain a few miles north of the P.V. airport. Some tourists change time zones without realizing it, and are occasionally late for their flights home.My first real visit here was in early Spring of 2003. My visit overlapped with the start of Semana Santa. I didn't know about Easter on the Beaches of Mexico, so I was amazed to see the beach, camping areas, stores, restaurants and rentals fill to over-capacity almost overnight.

But the oddest thing was that I one hour off time-wise most my three week visit to Chacala.
First, I didn't realize I should turn my watch back an hour for the Time Zone change. Got that straightened out after a week or so. And then, a week later, it was time to turn it an hour forward for the start of Daylight Savings Time. I found the whole thing confusing, but it didn't matter in the least. I wasn't wearing my watch anyway, and it didn't matter was time it was anyway.

I only thing on my schedule was breakfast at Poncie's restaurant. I was one of the few customers since it was the end of the tourist season. But he and Tom, another visitor, cooked my breakfast anyway, whenever I showed up.When I first came here many people didn't wear watches. And the church bells rang out for important events, like Mass. And they still do. The collectivo's tooted their horns as the arrived in town, so there was usually time to run down and catch one before it left. Not that they have ever been on a schedule anyway, except for the school runs to Las Varas in the morning.

I have hung around the Chacala primary school early in the morning, for photos. Kids and their Moms seem to start arriving about an hour before school theoretically starts. I think they just get up, wash up, change to school outfits, eat, and come to school. I don't think there is the "hurry up, hurry up, you'll be late" thing going on here. Although there probably is for the kids going to school via collectivo, in Las Varas.I like it that when a specific time is mentioned here, it's more of a suggestion than a goal. At first it drove me crazy, but now I like. It's easier to stay in the present (which is a nicer way of life in my book) if you can avoid deadlines and "have to's" as much as possible. And that's really possible here. Unless I am trying to be to P.V. before noon, I just do things as they come up. And the only reason I get going by 8:30am or so to go to PV is so I be sure to catch a friend of mine for an early afternoon lunch.

Atfirst it was difficult for me when people didn't arrive when they said they would. But now I get it. The times people would mention were just an estimate, or intended to cater to my gringo-time-rigidity disorder, or whatever.It's interesting how different Latin cultures are from what I grew up with, in terms of time etiquette. I like the Chacala version best. Your life isn't a series of little discrete boxes or activities. Things kind of overflow and blend together. And you can take care of things as they come up. Not when they are scheduled.


myahspirit said...

Time change here in the States will be the first weekend in Nov. The morning of the 4 of Nov. I know last year it was differant down there, just wanted to let you know.

Anonymous said...


i like your philosophy on time. when i was there i always wore a watch, mainly because there were no clocks at any of the places i stayed and i needed to be on time for my classes. this winter i will be "watchless in chacala."


Jennifer said...

I just caught up on your latest posts - somehow I missed them. That is something I am looking forward to once I move to Honduras. I want to see how long it takes me to get accustomed to the laid back time. My husband never adjusted to the strict gringo time here, and it would drive me NUTS, LOL. I hate being late to things, so once I move it should be fun until I do adjust.