High Desert Life

by Miles Hutchins

While you in Central Oregon are enjoying the summer weather, we are experiencing the vagaries of the rainy season.

This usually means rainstorms at night and very pleasant sunny days. But not always.

Sometimes rain during the day and, now and then, cool windy nights without the rain. Amazing to us was a recent thunderstorm where the thunder just kept rolling and rolling. And the lightning was just a continuous flashing.

Still, the weather is fine for us transplants to Chapala.

Part of settling in, even after one year, is finding art work for the house, inside and out. And some furniture needs and wants as well. That is progressing poco a poco (little by little).

The easy part of settling in is finding friends, volunteer work and good places to eat. A very welcoming church, St. Andrews Anglican, has helped us find all those things and more. I will tell you, those church folks like to celebrate!

And I am talking about a lot more than just the worship service. Since we are a lot of Canadians mixed with USA, and local Mexicanos, there is a lot of getting together.

Example: Canadian Thanksgiving is Oct. 8, and U.S. is, of course, Nov. 22. So, what to do? Of course, split the difference and have a St. Andrews harvest comida (meal), sometime in between the two dates.

Then there is an Italian dinner each year. Why? Why not, I guess. It is just a good thing to do. Also a good excuse to finish the meal with a liqueur, limoncello, made by a group of Catholic nuns in a nearby nunnery.

But we nortenos, Canadian and US of A folks, cannot hold a candle to our Mexicano hosts when it comes to celebrations. Coming up soon are Dia del Bombero (Fireman’s Day), Dia del Adulto Mayor (Senior Citizen’s Day), Dia de la Independencia (Independence Day, Sept. 16).

Yes, this is more important than Cinco de Mayo that we were getting used to in Central Oregon. And I will not even get into the run-up to Christmas and all the celebrations surrounding that holy time.

Life is not dull here, even though Chapala is often seen as a retirement spot for ex-pats. Too many interesting places to go and see to spend much time in a rocking chair. And always something to do, like a wine tasting, an art show, a gigantic fund raising event that benefits the children of Lake Chapala area called the Mexican National Chili Cook-off, which will mark it’s 41st year soon.

Many of our friends and neighbors have adopted rescue dogs. We have not, but we do have some puppies. What? Puppies are the name given to banana tree starts.

Yes, our banana tree delivered three puppies for us so we had to buy more pots to house them. Plans are to foist at least one off on our good friends as soon as there house is finished. To go with their three rescue dogs.

The July 1 election has passed, Mexico has elected a new president, Jalisco a new governor, many other officials, and we no longer have the parades, loudspeakers on pickups, and other hoopla vying for our attention.

I will say the relatively short campaign season is something the U.S. might well emulate. The last one seemed to go on forever.

Oh well, no one really asked for my advice on that subject so it is a good time to sign off. Adios.

— Miles Hutchins is a retired former Redmond resident who grew up in Central Oregon and now lives in Mexico. Contact him at milesredmond@gmail.com .