Monday, August 31, 2009

What´s New?

Well it’s been an exciting week since I last had Internet service. My 40-minute bike ride to work is no joke. It’s really long, goes up and down this winding road. I was sweating very profusely. About riding the bike: Peace Corps has this rule where you’ll get kicked out of the program if they find out that you’ve been riding a bike without a helmet. Which is hilarious, because in Ecuador, people don’t even wear helmets while riding a motorcycle. There’ll be a family of four – I kid you not – on one motorcycle, and nobody has a helmet.

So you can just imagine everybody’s response when I started wandering around the nearest city asking bike shops if they carried any bicycle helmets. Most storeowners showed me motorcycle helmets, which I thought would be just a little too ridiculous. I finally settled on something that doesn’t really look like a motorcycle helmet; it looks more like those helmets that the British police officers wear. Oh and apparently my head is pretty big, and the biggest size helmet I could find was a medium, which, and this is pretty funny too, makes my head look even bigger when I wear it. Whatever, it was only six bucks.

Nobody wears a helmet for a motorcycle, and here I am looking like the geek of the week riding my bicycle with what looks like a child’s helmet. I might as well have gotten some elbow pads and taped a giant “kick me” sign to my back.

We went to a wedding last night. It was a lot of fun … great food, a really cool guitar band, and lots of whiskey. I was having trouble keeping up with our seventy-year-old host dad, and after a while I really couldn’t take the taste of whiskey any more. When I declined a shot, I thought that would be it and they would stop offering me liquor. Instead, they brought over this clear liquid in a water bottle, which, I incorrectly guessed would be water. It was this homemade booze made out of sugar cane. I swear I had to muster all of my strength to stop myself from making a face and gagging as I tried to put this stuff down. Joannah asked me how it was so I just blew a little in her direction. She made a face and told me it smelled like rubbing alcohol. I asked my host dad how strong that stuff was, and he just replied, “el ultimo.”

Last Friday Jo and I were sitting outside our house when we noticed a commotion down the street. A crowd had gathered and soon enough our host family had to join in on the action. This really old lady was sitting down with blood pouring down her face. What happened next seemed really strange, but maybe it’s just a different version of crisis management. After it was determined that her life wasn’t in any immediate danger, people started rushing to get their cameras. Everybody wanted a picture of themselves with the old lady. This was a huge event for a Friday night! We were there for maybe a minute, but the crowd lingered for hours. Walking by much later, we found everyone still huddled around the lady, but just hanging out, joking around.

The next day the rumor mill was in full force. Some say that she fell. Others say that she was hit. Apparently there’s even word that her daughter beat her up. Everybody had an opinion. On our way to the wedding the next day, our host family ran into the daughter, and sure enough asked her, “Why would you do something like that to your own mother?” I’m pretty sure I have no idea what’s going on.

Not to harp on this accident, but later on our six-year-old host sister was playing with the family’s digital camera. She turns on the camera and the first picture was a picture of that lady with the blood gushing down her face.

I wrote something about the Internet in a separate post, I hope you like it.

1 comment:

  1. I want a picture of you with the bike helmet with your arms around the old lady with the bloody face - it would make my year! Great talking to you last night : )