Saturday, July 08, 2006

Changes in Chacala

Title: Chacala Escape, Chacala Budget Rentals, My Life in Chacala... and much much more!
Type of website: Blogs and websites
Excellent source of...: whatever you need to know to get to, rent a place and spend some time in Chacala, Nayarit, Mexico. Or just an interesting peek into the life of a gringo living in a small Mexican town.

Where in the world is Chacala? Until I found these websites, I'd never heard of it. And probably, neither have a lot of other people. But as in all charming little places in Mexico, that may not be true for long. Chacala is two hours north of Puerto Vallarta in the state of Nayarit, and a new road has recently been built between the two places that makes it easier to reach Chacala. Still out of the way for most folks, it sounds like the kind of place that people who like to get away from it all will like to get away TO. After reading about it in these websites, I'm putting it on my list of Places To See in Mexico (it's a VERY long list...).

The person who writes the blog My Life in Chacala lives in Chacala year round. He or she also maintains the other two websites, as far as I can tell, one for general tourism to Chacala and one to give exposure to the budget rental properties available in Chacala (that is also a VERY long list....). reading the blog I have found that there are two MORE related blogs:

Gardening in Mexico
- This blog is really all about gardening in Chacala
Friends of Chacala - An open blog for people who like Chacala to post information and photos and stories about it.

This has got to be the most blogged about Mexican village in the country :-)

The central blog from which all these other blogs and websites spring is the My Life in Chacala blog. This blog was started in July 2005 and every post is on the same page (it's a VERY long page...). It's like a gossipy newspaper all about the people and happenings in this little town. There are many entries about various houses being built, who cooked dinner for what occasion, what's happening with the local ejido land, who graduated from kindergarten today, etc. Very chatty, very first person. The writer is really into the flojera of Mexico. (If you don't know what flojera means, I'm not sure I can describe it. It has something to do with 'going with the flow. She or he seems very resigned to not speaking much Spanish and not really knowing what's going on around him (though she sure seems to know a lot to me). A lot of her/his writings are rather mundane, with a lot of reporting on the local construction projects. But as you continue to read, the mundane-ness of the goings-on in Chacala starts to transform... probably in the way it has started to transform the writer. And then every once in awhile, there are little gems like this, the writer's response to people wanting to come down and volunteer in Chacala:

"It's hard to get back into my mindset then, but I think I thought that because I was from a wealthy nation, and had the "advantages" of education, etc, that I was in the position to offer my expertise or experience, or knowledge to people in Chacala. And I don't think it occured to me that what I had to offer could possibly be damaging or disrespectful of the culture or families here.

Now I wonder if maybe people who come here with the idea of "helping" people who live here are often unaware that there is a strong culture and set of values here about which they, as gringos, have little knowledge of. That it would be hard to "help" here until you have learned about what is already happening here.

And that maybe the first step to "helping" here is to learn about the history, culture, language, values, and mores here. Like what is polite behavior in this society. Maybe try to make some friends, and observe what it going on. Or at least learn how to be polite here."

Honestly, if I was thinking of moving to or investing in Chacala, this blog would be a great source of information. A steady reader of this blog could keep on top of the development of the town. But this blog is also the chronicle of the transformation of a person who moves from Gringolandia, perhaps a little wounded or a little disillusioned from his former life, and over time is healed and changed by the power of Life in Mexico, one family, one coconut palm or one kind word at a time. And that is becoming a longer and longer list of people...


Brenda said...

I read HER blog occasionally, like the photos she posts and her laid back lifestyle.

Andee said...

I am the author the "My Life in Chacala" blog you wrote about recently. It was an odd experience to read your review. Especially that bit about the idea of volunteering. I kind of liked re-reading it.

If I have a goal with all the blogs, it's to help the low-income local people here to get renters for their rentals and customers for their other small businesses: airport pickups, boat rides for surfers and fisherman, etc.I have four others blogs you didn't run into. They are for some small businesses in town, and they seem to be increasing business for the owners.

Its hard to watch the rich newcomers, Mexican and gringo, coming into town and making big big bucks, while nothing changes for hte people who have lived here for generations.

Obviously, I am addicted to blogging. It's too hot and humid to be outside, so blogging keeps me off the streets.

Thanks for the review. I value your point of view and humor.

Michael Warshauer said...

Ellen, I met Andee recently, while she was here in P√°tzcuaro. I wish we'd had more time to talk.
Meanwhile, I invite you to read and link to my blogs.

Michael Warshauer said...

Ellen, I met Andee recently, while she was here in P√°tzcuaro. I wish we'd had more time to talk.
Meanwhile, I invite you to read and link to my blogs.

myahspirit said...

I read my life in Chacala every day it's posted. I am learning a lot from it. She is writing about the day to day things that happen in her life there. These are the things that happen to her and her thoughts on her life in Chacala.
I would be interested in any other blog that could give me insite to living in an Mexican community. Would be very interesting to be able to compair. As of yet I have not found another Blog about life in town in Mexico.
If you know of one (like hers) I would like to know about it.