Wednesday, August 27, 2008

"Like the desert's masquerade"

Today, I really screwed up. Separate reprimands occurred when I touched two flagpoles, stood on a cement block, closed a taxi door, and expected government service past noon on a weekday. And, this is Chile. Land of the backwards, slow, incompetent, ineffecient, and homeless. But honestly, I love it. Why bother crossing borders to get a taste of the usual? Adaptation will occur and especially with a future four month stop in the ever-so-slow tropics, our eventual return to the pace of Boston will hit harder than a bowl of speed, brown sugar, and oatmeal.

Onto a week's recap. Last night was a high school tournament of the cuerca. A dance known for its white bandana twirling, spurred heels, and a moustached man screaming CUERCA over his guitar beat, it made the most of our Tuesday. In preparation for the dance-off me and a few ladies hit up a grocery store to find a bag of frijoles to share. I actually ended up purchasing some fruits from the finest of clerks who sat back and watched as I asked about the price range of her box of oranges. A basic translation of what transpired: "I'm sorry, I have no idea what you're referring to. These round, orange, citrus fruits you're pointing at clearly are not oranges. Go ahead, ask me about them again. Oh, I'm sorry, do you mean the mandarinas? Yes, dumbass, they're 20 peso per fruta. Now please place that pineapple down and do not strike me in the skull with it." Two wrongs never make a right, but I now feel like I've been granted at least one future opportunity to play dumb and distatesfully sit and watch an Asian/Mexican/Alabaman-American struggle over the proper usages of much vs. many.

Considering other moments to sit back and marvel at... Last weekend a tame Friday night was in order. We accepted an invite to a high school karaoke night only to discover that this was a teacher-only event. And an event it was. Three standing mics were placed for those singing chorus, a few microphones were dispersed amidst the rest of the audience, all facing the projected karaoke music videos. After an awkward entrance, we slowly worked our way into their graces as we embraced these spanish jams for what they were, brought in a few slow claps and chimed in with the lalala sections, which the majority of their songs featured. Then came the chorizo. To explain, it's no more than a 6 inch sausage (jokes stop there) which can be covered with the wide array of condiments (and there) that they utilize for nearly every meal of every day. A man who I pray is not allowed to call himself a teacher was in charge of distributing these grilled meats to all and he decided that these sausages were so other-worldly that they should be celebrated as such. Thus, he screamed "Chorizo!" to every single individual he provided one to. And to those he didn't. And to every pause in a karaoke jam. Chorizo Man eventually made his way out to the improptu reggaeton 40 plus dance fest that broke out post barbecue and felt that his twisting hips should be complimented with joyous sausage shouts. I'm learning so much.

To add one other evening of note was our attendance at a school competition that was culminating after four days of athletics, eating contests, and dance-offs rewarded with an unknown prize. Intensity and hormones at its peak. A sampling of competitions to note: Music. Harmless, harmonius, and as we first walked into the school gymnasium, Kansas' Dust in the Wind was being played and sung flawlessly. Following this fine melody? A swimsuit grind competition of course. Where thongs and onstage body meshing was in order all for the watchful eye of the middle aged male teachers judging the talent pool. Next were the three live music videos which revolved around empty beer bottles, impregnation, and pimps. Colin and I had averted our views to the fourth floor railing and were watching paint peel at this point. Students offered freshly cut locks of hair to gain more points and we were just leaving as three bra-piles were being made on the stage to signify which team had the biggest, let's say winners. American high school has never felt so lame.

The rest of our days have been additionally enjoyable and interesting. I awaken at 630 most mornings to a rooster crow who continues until the sun rises over our easter sand hills at around 930. During a breakfast of tea and bread, I'll sit and listen to either the propane tank truck drive around the city while its spoon stocked percussionist stands in the back of the truck clanging away or the man in the egg-van announce via megaphone that he has the best eggs in all the village. A few hours of teaching gets thrown in here and there and then I'll eventually make the fifteen minute stroll south to the waves which are alarmingly growing by day. Surf lessons have begun for us, as have the subsequent bruises, scrapes, and welts. One fine game of tennis ball ocho once has been created and occurs regularly until vagrant dog decides to join. And today I attempted to walk only in 90 degree angles, which basically backfired during our visit to the dead alligator glass exhibit. This is what I'm working with and have no problem enjoying it for what it's worth. Chao chao.

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