Sunday, March 16, 2008

Semana Santa - Just the Beginning

Well, quiet little Chacala is changing rapidly. Semana Santa has hit town and according to those who know, this is nothing yet. Supposedly next week, says Luis, "will be a nightmare". It's hard to find a clear path to walk the beach. The nerve! :) After having the beach to myself practically. Families from Guadalajara, Mexico City, Tepic and other inland towns and cities have set up their tents and are ready to relax and have a good time. I don't feel comfortable going up close to the campsites and snapping pictures of families but they have sure made themselves at home with propane stoves, coolers and all the fixings. It appears they are here to stay for the duration of the holiday. The Policia were parked in the campground today and I realized it was the first time I had seen them. There is no crime in Chacala that I've heard of.

Just beyond where the regular little tiendas are, there was a strip of stalls that remained dark and closed for most of my stay. Now they are alive with colour offering various fruits, tacos, beach souvenirs and extra banos for the campers I would imagine. Victor's pizza stand has been transformed into a cerveza stand!

Mmmmmm ... Mantecadas (muffins) .....

The kids are having a blast on these boogie boards ...

People are building little shelters along the road above the beach in anticipation of more folks arriving and needing a place to stay. What ingenuity.

It doesn't take much to make a home in Mexico.

Speaking of home, or my second home, I am leaving Casa Monarca tomorrow afternoon and moving to Casa Aurora. Aurora and her family have been long term residents in Chacala and have added to their property with rental units. This has been made possible by the "Techos en Mexico" program, which is government funded. It is a great way to add to the family income. There are many "Techos" home in Chacala which are rented at reasonable rates. I am looking forward to interacting a little closer with a local family. It will be a great way to end my stay here. I am a little sad to leave Casa Monarca. I have felt very much at home here.

A new fruit I have discovered is jikema (hee-ka-ma). What a delightful taste treat! I've been buying it at the roadside stands where they cut it up for me and offer to put hot sauce on it but I have been declining the hot sauce ... no gracias. It is mild in flavour and is kind of a cross between an apple and pear taste. It's crunchy and looks kind of like a turnip and has a similar texture. It's low in fat, and it loaded with potassium and Vitamin C. I think they are a little heavy for my suitcase ... too bad. Eating a steady diet of fish, vegetables and fruit and walking around town and the beach all day long has benefited my weight immensely. I have lost a substantial amount of weight and can feel it in my clothes. Wow. Amazing.

Tonight I went to a concert at Casa Pacifica on the rooftop. Paul Swan was playing again, who I mentioned in an earlier post. This time he had friends though. Someone printed out songbooks and we all had a great time singing our hearts out. It wasn't meant to be a St. Paddy's celebration but with the singalong happening, it kinda felt like it. In this picture, we are singing along to "Downtown", that old Petula Clark tune. It was a lot of fun. The guy in the hat claims all songs originate from Green Bay, Wisconsin! You had to be there, I guess. He was quite the ham and very entertaining.

I won't have internet access at Casa Aurora's but Kate and Luis said I could use their rooftop for access for the rest of my stay. I may or may not be blogging before I come home or if I do, it will be brief (if such a thing is possible.)

I have so much more to share! I will have to catch up when I get home.

Happy St. Paddy's Day everyone. I wonder what the equivalent to the Blarney Stone is in Mexico?

I have a massage booked on Tuesday at Majuaha with Carmen. I just couldn't resist that place. It will be a nice way to relax my way home.

I have been cooking up some pretty good business ideas here and have a lot of people's encouragement and support. More on that later ...

Tonight just around dusk, I noticed chickens up in the trees! I didn't know they could fly up that high. Some kids told me that's where they go to sleep.

There was a very strange creature walking along the wall at Casa Monarca tonight. It was something I had never seen before a little larger than a cat and long and skinny with a pointy nose and long tail. Now I am hearing fierce sounds outside, similar to raccoons at home, and I have locked my door and have no intention of going back outside until the morning!

Every moment here is a little adventure. Oh .. I will so miss this place (sigh). I've been wondering why my attitude has changed so much since I've been here. By attitude, I mean how I feel about life, how I feel when I wake up in the morning. I know I'm just on vacation. My feet are solidly on the ground about that fact. But I think the difference is the beauty that surrounds me everywhere on a daily basis. It gets into your soul. There are many beautiful places at home too but I guess I'm so far away from them that I forget the beauty until I make an effort to go somewhere peaceful and beautiful. In my own city, I don't see much but traffic and shopping malls on a daily basis. I guess we don't realize how this affects our attitude over time. I'd like to hear other people's thoughts on this as well ....

Tonight I was speaking to someone about this at the concert and he said being in Chacala was like being in the womb. It's safe ... it's warm ... and you feel cared for. I kinda liked that analogy.

It is now Palm Sunday (since I am editing this in the morning) and I'm going to church which I could throw a stone to. Kate tells me they have really big palms fronds here! Then Kate is giving me a ride to Aurora's but not without getting a family photo first! And then who knows? Someone said there's a transvestite show at the beach tonight. How's that for changing the subject drastically?!!

It's only 8 am but the fishermen are driving up the road from the ocean with their catches of the day. There have already been several trucks driving through town announcing something or other on their loud speakers. I did recognize camerones (shrimp). It's a little overcast but that blue sky and sunshine is peaking through. How can every single day be so beautiful? I would usually be going for my daily morning walk along the beach by now but I'm thinking I will forego that today with all the people jamming the water's edge. Besides I want to get packed up and ready for church. This time I won't have sand on my bum and feet when I get there. :)

Good thoughts to you. Thanks for reading ...


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