Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Cowboys and pigs and roommates, oh my...

The nice thing about having all your students cancel is that you can make your Sunday wireless pilgrimage on Tuesday afternoon. This works out well because on Sunday I was busy enjoying beautiful beautiful Mindo. I just went up by myself to relax and breath some fresh fresh air. It wasn’t as sunny and picturesque this second time, since their rainy season has started and it rains pretty much every day, and the rest of the time you understand why it’s called a cloud forest. But it’s warmer than Quito, so it’s not even cold in the rain, and it just makes everything feel and smell even fresher. I was literally walking around all weekend taking deep breaths, inhaling the fresh rain/earth/flower scent. And you know me, while I don’t wish nature any specific harm I usually prefer the comforts of civilization. As long as civilization isn’t loud, dirty, and poverty stricken. Quito unfortunately does not fit that bill, so I feel the need to compensate. I stayed at a lovely $5 a night hostel, where the owner, a bird watching guide, drew me up a map of the town (which was nice despite a) having been before and b) the town consisting of approximately one street) and offered me a discount for a bird watching tour the next time I stay there. I spent much of the time lying in the hammock on the porch reading (it was warm and mosquito free enough to do that even til midnight!), and the rest of the time walking by the swelling river and eating in various locales. And getting hit on by cowboys. While Mindo might normally be described as a one-hose-town (probably inaccurately since you can rent horses, plural, nearby), this weekend it was more like a 40 horse town. There was some kind of horse show in the area, so there were real live gauchos from all over S.Amer. strutting up and down main street the whole time. It was entertainly surreal, like a, um, plantain Western (as opposed to spaghetti western... stay with me people), where you’re walking through this tropical paradise but every few feet a cowboy stops his horse for you to pass and tips his hat at you. And since I was by myself lots of people chatted with me, and as opposed to in Quito they are just friendly, not sketchy men who you have to ignore. Everyone in Mindo is just so damned HAPPY! I can‘t get over it.

Anyway, I’m sure there’s more to my life than this Ode to Mindo. Last Thursday after recovering from my illness I played tourist for the day with Sam, Jennie’s friend who’s staying with us. (And who today was finally joined by Jennie, sporting a brand new passport.) We went down to the centro historico, where I go twice a week for choir but never bother to go into the historic churches, and climbed the Basilica (the local church-with-a-view), then went up to the Mariscal and had a sandwich inj tourist central. It was fun, despite the notable increase in comments from men. Then she was off to her jungle tour and I retired to my life as the common man. Or woman, as it were. Friday I had a good time as usual with the CENIT kids. We had some unexpected excitement as the noise that sounded like an animal being slaughtered outside did, in fact, turn out to be a pig being slaughtered right in the square outside our tutoring room. (Which you may recognize from the 80000 pictures I have posted of CENIT.) While the market does have its share of live animals and such, there is a whole other section for that... our spot is usually just a quiet square with a few vendors selling clothes or household wares. But there was some festival planned for the weekend, which apparently wouldn’t be complete without some fresh pork from a ritual killing. Of course all the kids ran outside right up to the action, and since I was trying to get them back inside I also had a front row seat for the slaughter. When we finally got the kids back inside, it all happened again with the second pig. Then later on, they broke out the blow torches and spent a while burning off the hair before they got down to the real butchering. By that point the kids had gotten their snack, so they had refreshments for the show. And then a blind man wandered into the square and started lighting off fireworks. It’s always something....

Also, after putting up just two notices online and 3 posters, I’ve found a roommate for Matt and Bill’s place and probably one for ours as well! And I’ve arranged to buy all the furniture and such from Sara, for the paltry sum of $400. And before the girl came to see the apartment today, since I am virtually unemployed, I cleaned the place up and made muffins. Sara's fresh Valentine's day flowers from Bill I really rounded out the scene... who could resist a piece of real estate like that? In conclusion, I am the apartment master.


  1. Happy Valentine's Day! I really enjoyed reading about everything, but I am very much myself, and my favorite part of your post was the typo "one-hose town."

    Can't wait to see you SO soon.


  2. yeah yeah, my analness is tempered by the limited internet time... normally i would bother to spellcheck and whatnot. Don't you wish YOU lived in a one hose town?? Well... probably not if there was a fire. That could be a problem.

  3. My dear tempered analness:

    I'd opt for "if there WERE a fire."

    Your loving proof reader

  4. yeah yeah. i don't teach english grammar for a living or anything. shhhh....