Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Eeks! The Critters are Appearing!

So who's this little guy?? Well, I found him in my kitchen when I just woke up yesterday and went immediately into scorpion frenzy. I didn't scream though. Surprise surprise. I stood frozen watching him from a distance and logic told me that scorpions don't stay around like this in the light of day. They're kind of like earwigs. You always find them where you least expect to find them, hidden somewhere in dark, damp places. Once I convinced myself of that, I moved in closer to have a peek at this little critter. He's a crab, in case you haven't figured that out already. A tiny little crab who lost his way back to the ocean. Smaller than a mouse even. I grabbed that colander that you see and trapped him under it, put a piece of cardboard under it and set him free into the Mexican jungle. My hija (daughter) laughed when I told her what I had done because she knows how I freak out at the tiniest mouse at home. Mice freak me out for some reason. They're too much like rats. Crabs are friendlier somehow. I haven't seen another one since.

Tonight as I was pulling the curtains closed in my bedroom, this little lizard jumped out and this time I did scream. This little guy has been around since I got here and we co-exist peacefully. Only because I know he's more afraid of me than I am of him. I've seen these guys in Florida and they are just a part of life anywhere in the tropics. But tonight, we were both surprised! He landed on the table in front of the window, stood on his back legs and just looked at me as if to say "who the hell are you and what are you doing in my space?" It was kind of funny after I settled down. He's gone into hiding mode now and I'm sure I'll see him again.

And then there's the mosquitos who kept me up most of the night last night. I have to learn to keep the doors shut after dark. I had one buzzing around my head all night. Or maybe there were more. I hope they are gone tonight. I have quite a few bites on me between the mosquitos and what are called the "no see em's" down at the beach. Even with the deet bug spray I put on religiously every day and night, they still seem to find spots I have missed.

So I guess being in paradise does have some drawbacks ... if you don't like critters.

Yesterday morning I had a few visitors knock on my door. The first was a young Mexican couple who wanted to talk about the bible. Ok ... they have them here too I guess. They probably could smell a recovering Roman Catholic from miles away! I kept telling them "no entiendo, no entiendo" but I should have stopped smiling 'cause they weren't leaving, whether I could entiendo or not! They yammered away in Spanish and pulled out the bible. Oh no! I got a little impatient at this point and told them "no gracias, no gracias" and gestured that I was closing the door. They got the point and handed me a little brochure with a picture of "Consuelo" on it, a beautiful senorita looking out at the ocean at sunset. I'm not sure what it means but I like the picture. Afterwards, I thought, maybe I should have given them a few pesos.

The second set of visitors who came knocking was a mother and daughter. The daughter pulled a bunch of link sausages out of a container. I looked at them but I thought it best not to buy any because carrying meat around in the hot sun wasn't such a good idea. Then the mother stepped up with a box of miel (honey) in little plastic containers. Now this was appealing so I bought one of them for about $2.50 Cdn. which would be a bargain at home. She didn't have change of 50 pesos so asked a few people walking by and got some change. There's no way I will even put a dent in that much honey. Maybe I'll give it to some kids around here. Again I thought I should have given her more money for it, but I'm never sure what to do.

My plan for yesterday was to go to Las Varas to el banco ... again! There's been collectivos driving by here to Las Varas every half hour all day long since I got here. Yesterday, I waited 3 hours, still no collectivo. So I went searching "downtown" for one and found a guy sitting there with no passengers. I don't get it. I jumped in and off we went. By the way the collectivo is just a van with the word Taxi written on the side. It costs about $1.20 Cdn for a 10 minute roller coaster ride to Las Varas. They never drive the speed limit. No seat belts either. There's usually a lot of people in these all happy and chatting away in Spanish. The teenagers take them back and forth to high school. They wear nice crisp uniforms just like we wore in Catholic high school. There's some really nice young people here, even though I have no idea what they are saying, you can just tell they are good kids. It turned out that 3 pm was not a good time to go to Las Varas. Most tiendas were closed for siesta. After my visit to the ATM I decided to stop at a little cafe that advertised pizza on the window. I sat down and asked the waitress for pizza. No pizza today. Just in the afternoon apparently. But wasn't it afternoon? I didn't get it. So she pointed to a menu on the wall and I chose enchiladas, pollo (chicken). They were scrumptious. A Mexican man about my age came up and talked to me in English asking me where I was from, etc. He had just moved back to Mexico from Florida where he and his wife operated a restaurant near Orlando. They decided to move back because in the US, "they work too hard". I think he is right. It's much better here in that way. People work, but they don't kill themselves doing it. I picked up some luscious strawberries and did find the calomina lotion at a drugstore. Ahhh ... relief.

After my mosquito interrupted night, I slept right through the roosters this morning and missed yoga at sunrise. I woke at 8:30 am but swear I only slept for about 2 hours all night. It was quite cool this morning, cool enough to have to wear long sleeves and pants. After breakfast, I decided to set out to Casa Monarca, a place Allan told me about and recommended. I wanted to find a place to stay for my last week here in Chacala and get it off my mind in case there are no vacancies then. I have to leave El Faro on Feb. 29 so need another place until March 6. I loved Casa Monarca as soon as I saw it. It's a large orange (go figure) 2 storey building with 2 bungalows on the main floor and an upper bungalow where the owners, Kate and Luis live. There's a pool, well kind of a soaking pool, and a large patio on the upper level that looks right out onto the ocean. It's clean and bright and I love the Mexican colours and style. Kate is from northern California and her husband is Mexican. They have a beautiful little girl named Sophie. Sophie was having a little book and toy sale of her own in the driveway. I bought a book from her for 2 pesos. I remember when my kids used to sell their toys like this and she had that same look of pride that my kids had. They have an internet connection too. I made the decision to stay there within minutes and gaver her a deposit. They seem like very nice people. I had thought of staying in Puerto Vallarta the last week but am enjoying Chacala so much I want to stay here until the end of my visit.

After lunch, I went down to the beach for a swim. The waves are so much fun to play around in.

When I walk the beach every day, the waves appear to be so far away from the shoreline and then suddenly one powerful one will appear and you're completely soaked. There doesn't seem to be any warning. I guess I'm in another world walking along there so don't really notice when the big one is coming.

The beach was completely empty today. I can't believe more people aren't here to enjoy this. They must all be in PV. Not complaining though. It's so peaceful to be here and choose whatever spot you want to sit down. I cannot get enough of that beautiful beach. There was an interesting cloud formation there today. It's nice to just relax and enjoy the simple things in life.

I saw this sign today that I hadn't noticed before near the campground. I'm not absolutely sure but I think it is advising what the safety of the water is in terms of undertow. Today is was buena!

And someone else decided to have an outdoor massage on the beach today! But I bet it wasn't with Pancho's special joy juice ...

I decided to take some pictures of "downtown" Chacala on my way home now that I'm getting to know the little tiendas quite well. Here's the supermarket where I buy everyday stuff. They have the best cheese on the planet. Andee talked about this place and said it was owned by a local family so I've chosen to do my shopping there.

Here's a few more shots of some of the tiendas in town.

And yes Meagan ... watermelons are in season here right now.

I took the back road home and saw these gorgeous flowers and found another magical tree! Actually Casa Iguana is just to the right of the flowers.

Tonight I was so thrilled to see the lunar eclipse Being here made it even more special. I tried to take a picture, but it turned out too dark. Allan and Magda shared the moment out front of the casa and Allan ever so eloquently described the moment. "Far Out!" :)

I noticed a setting on my camera that I didn't know existed until today. It was to take a picture of yourself holding the camera at arm's length. So here you go. I look like I am saying "I am so blessed to be here." Or something comparatively deep like that. Actually I took about 10 pictures but thought this one turned out best. I wondered if the people close by thought I was loco! Oh well.

Well, tomorrow is market day in La Penita. I hope to buy that straw hat.

Hasta luego amigas and amigos ...



Anonymous said...

Mom those shops are precious! I want one of those dresses, they look so cute! If you get me one I'll pay you back.. how much are they?? And I bet those watermelons are soo juicy... I've been dreaming about watermelons haha. I like how the market is called "Mini Super Chacala" lol. What are those weird looking fruits tied up in front of the one shop?? I don't think I've ever seen them before.
Those green mountains I saw in the background of the massage picture are so beautiful! I didn't know it was like that down there.. I'd want to adventure in them!
I need to see more mom!! I love these pictures!!
Love you! ~Meagan

Charmaine said...

The dresses are 650 pesos ($6.50 Cdn) if you can believe it. How do you know I didn't buy one for you already? :) I don't know what those fruits are called but I want to find out. The Sierra Madre mountain range is all around here. You will just have to plan a camping trip here next winter, hija!

Anonymous said...

Hi Charm, having a good time haha.Please, I don't want to hear about creepy crawlers,i've got the itchies all you didn't give those guys any pesos 'cause they would have moved right in.Hope the honey is pasturized and I'm glad you got the lotion.The story to Las Varas kept me laughing. If you can get some fabric softener dryer sheets you can put them in your pillow case to keep the mosquitos away.We enjoyed the eclipse too,what is the time difference there and that is one sexy foot. Love You Mary

Anonymous said...

Hi Charm, having a good time haha.Please, I don't want to hear about creepy crawlers,i've got the itchies all you didn't give those guys any pesos 'cause they would have moved right in.Hope the honey is pasturized and I'm glad you got the lotion.The story to Las Varas kept me laughing. If you can get some fabric softener dryer sheets you can put them in your pillow case to keep the mosquitos away.We enjoyed the eclipse too,what is the time difference there and that is one sexy foot. Love You Mary

Charmalita said...

Thanks for the tip on the dryer sheets, Sis. I think I saw some down at Mini Super Chacala. Sorry about the creepies but it's all a part of being in the tropics I guess. I was in Las Varas again today and still no pizza!! haha...