It’s that waiting time of year again here around Lake Chapala. The time when we are all waiting for the rainy season to start. It normally starts during the second to fourth week of June. And by then all of us are ready for it. From the beginning of March until the rains start, we are in our dry, dusty, and [for us] hot period.
Lawns and the hills to the north of Joco are brown. Some flowers do fine without a lot of rain, but some are semi-desperate for water. Since watering the lawn and/or the flowers in a garden often requires the help of a water pump [water pressures are normally very low around here], most of us have a tendency to not use the pump too frequently because electric bills become exorbitant.
I should perhaps explain that electric bills are based on usage. No, not just the kind of usage you are used to NOB. I mean that there are rate categories which change after one reaches a certain level. At least in most of the US, if you use, say, 1000 kilowatt hours of electricity versus 100 kilowatt hours of electricity, your bill is 10 times more.
However, here in Mexico, when you hit certain levels of usage, your charge per kilowatt hour increases substantially. It’s like a graduated tax system. Low users are rewarded for their lack of consumption and high users are charged extremely large amounts per kilowatt hour. Lots of high-consumption gringo users abhor this system, but as a card-carrying liberal, I’m all in favor of it. And I do, of course, try to keep my usage down.
But things can get kind of ugly around here, as you can see from the picture above, taken toward the end of April four years ago from my rental place in El Chante, Jalisco, Mexico. But it doesn’t take long for the rains to work their magic and within a few months, that same view looked like this:
The reason that I subtitled this post as “microclimates” is because we have them here around Lake Chapala. What’s happening on the south side of the Lake, maybe eight miles across, can be totally different than what is happening on the north side. And even those of us who live relatively near one another on the north side have different “rain events” going on.
For instance, last night I got a 30 or 40 minute long torrential downpour here at my house in Jocotepec. Some lightning, but mostly thunder. Just continuous thunder. When it first started, I honestly thought it was drums. My friends Kathi and Sher, who each live maybe one mile east of me [maybe less], got almost no rain, but lots of lightning. Jonnie, who lives about seven or eight miles east of me, got the whole shebang….thunder, lightning, and a torrential downpour.
It’s kinda freaky! I mean, I know that rain has to stop/end somewhere, but it does it so closely here. I do remember as a kid in grade school in Texas, living across the street from my elementary school, seeing a downpour on one end of the school and nothing on the other. That image sticks with me, but I am still amazed when it happens down here.
Now, c’mon everybody, start doing those rain dances!