Sitting at the bus stop directly in front of Walmart near Ajijic, I have seen a woman and a man wearing white uniforms walking briskly through traffic waiting for the light to change on the Carretera. Each person holds a large white can with a red cross on it. As they approach idling motorists, they engage the drivers presumably asking for donations.
The interesting thing to me about this – apart from the hazardous conditions they create for motorists and themselves – is that most of the Mexican drivers smile, shake their heads and shine them on while many of the foreign expat drivers actually roll down their windows, search for spare change and then toss that into their cans.
Traffic delays, and dangerous walks between two lanes of traffic aside, I wonder if these people are (a) legit, (b) crazy, or (c) scammers in white uniform plucking pesos from innocent drivers?
This activity seems to occur only on weekends.
After waiting for the bus headed east I’ve been advised very strongly by some drivers that the fare to Riberas del Pilar is now eight pesos, not seven. It would seem that some of the drivers of the newer buses on this route do this, while the drivers of the older jitneys gladly take my seven pesos.
Since, I am riding with the same Chapala bus company I wonder if I am being hoodwinkeded by some enterprising driver on the route or is this the newer, real deal?
I have noticed when I catch a camion in San Miguel or Guadalajara, the fare is posted at the door and the driver always hands the passenger a receipt for the fare. This is not part of the lakeside bus culture, and I ask why that is.
The folks in white uniforms come from Guadalajara, purportedly on a mission to drum up donations for providing meals to indigent patients at the city’s Hospital Civil. Chapala authorities have not been consistent on allowing or denying them permission to compete with lakeside area charities. Some motorists do contribute to their cause, perhaps confusing them for local Red Cross volunteers. The Cruz Roja operates an annual national collection campaign running only from mid-March through April.
In regard to your question on riding public transportation, the fare from the Walmart bus stop to Riberas del Pilar (or vice versa) should set you back eight pesos aboard full-size passenger buses or seven pesos on the smaller jitney.
Personnel at the ticket counter at the terminal of the Autotransportes Chapala-Guadalajara – the outfit operating the large buses carrying passengers to points along the north shore corridor and into downtown Guadalajara provided information on current one-way fares departing from Chapala and in reverse as follows:
Destination Guadalajara, 50 pesos per trip; to Riberas del Pilar, 8 pesos; to San Antonio and Ajijic, 9 pesos; to San Juan Cosala, 12 pesos; to Jocotepec, 14 pesos.
Fares for traveling on the smaller vehicles, operated by a different private enterprise, generally cost one peso less per trip.
The large first-class buses take direct highway routes only, while the smaller ones detour into central Ajijic, San Antonio and upper Chapala neighborhoods.
This is a follow up to your recent articles on the Jalisco Symphony. My friends and I are regular concert goers and we applaud Marco Parisotto’s attempts to correct the profile of the orchestra. For too long, the orchestra has looked like “amateur night.” Musicians were allowed to dress any way they wanted, wearing colored clothes and nothing resembling the black attire that is de rigeur of any professional orchestra. One such musician had her hair dyed a purple-reddish color and one of the men had a pony tail. Another was dressed in various strange costumes that made her look like a refuge from a homeless shelter. This disregard for dress standards distracted from the actual performances.
My sister, a world-class musician, told me once that conductors always hire younger people, because they are more malleable and can be formed to suit the vision of the conductor, while older musicians are too set in their ways of playing. Whether this is accurate or not (and I think it is), the conductor has the right to have an orchestra that can carry out his musical interpretations.
So Parisotto is doing what any good conductor would do: making that orchestra his own. It takes time and some of the works were a bit spotty at times on Sunday, but overall an improvement.
Outside the Degollado the musicians were handling out brochures decrying Parisotto and the cuts that were made (and detailing how much money he and all the new hirees were paid, true or not). However, the audience obviously loved the new orchestra and Parisotto, and went out of their way to support him by giving him a rousing round of applause after the orchestra’s rendition of Stravinsky’s “Petrouchka.” And we, the concert goers, are really what counts in the long run.
The turmoil in which the Jalisco Philharmonic is now embroiled saddens me greatly, because being able attend its concerts was formerly, for me, one of the advantages of living here.
In my opinion, the orchestra reached its peak under the baton of Hector Guzman, when it compared favorably with orchestras such as the Houston Symphony in the United States, and its management made a fatal mistake in letting him go. I can no longer support the orchestra, the last straw for me being the replacement of its Concert Master and Assistant Concert Master, along with a number of other very capable musicians whose performing I enjoyed so many times.
I see no hope for the orchestra under its present leadership. Perhaps it could regain its former enviable status by bringing Guzman, its Conductor Emeritus, and recently replaced musicians back. (A photo of the Jalisco Philharmonic, with its recently replaced Concert Master and Assistant Concert Master, is at the top of Wikipedia’s entry on “Orchestra.”)
Kenneth G. Crosby, San Antonio Tlayacapan