Monday, November 24, 2008

Accelerated Changes

"You know, this place may become a mini Puerto Vallarta one day," I said as we walked down the beach the other day. For now, it's been spared that fate.

There's a construction boom going on, but it's still done manually. No cranes and heavy machinery. Just good, strong men building concrete-block-and-rebar houses. Locals are adding on, building up, hoping for that extra rental income during the winter months. What used to be the bus terminal restaurant and internet cafe has turned into a real estate office that sells lots and homes at North American prices, but it doesn't look like they are moving too many properties.

Yet, you definitely see the change when you hit the plaza, the zocalo, in the center of town.

When we first arrived, it was still THE place to be on Sunday nights. Teenagers in their Sunday best circled the plaza in sexually segregated groups, eyeing each other. Parents and grandparents sat on benches, socializing. Little kids dressed just like their parents (cowboy hat, buttoned shirt, jeans, boots) played tag.

There aren't nearly as many people hanging out in the zocalo. Cable and satellite television, computers and DVDs have finally come here, too, to replace traditional entertainment. Families are becoming more insular. The teenagers look more and more like their contemporaries in a Los Angeles barrio. Things are less intensely Mexican.

"Is it us?" I wondered. In a way, it must be. More money is coming into this village with the tourist traffic and the locals can afford satellite tv, cell phone and wi-fi. Most households have washing machines, gas ranges, other modern conveniences, meaning they can do more in a day. Life's pace gets faster as we cram more and more into our hours, our days. One day, who knows when, this place will out-pace me. Of that, I am sure.

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