Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Culture Shizzock

Well, being home has been quite the experience. I have eaten so much delicious food (including TWO visits to Chipotle mmmm), seen so many family members (holla to all the aunts and cousins and grandma!), and walked through some REALLY REALLY cold snow(Many asked if I was experiencing culture shock...more shock because of the cold temperatures, not the culture necessarily). But it was all worth the two day travel to humble little Cincinnati, Ohio.

I feel so blessed and thankful for all of my incredibly supportive family members. Thanks to Aunt Sheshie for the awesome clothes you donated to those in my town, they will be so excited to get those cool Disney shirts! My mom bought me a ton of fun little prizes and crafts for my girls; and my parents were nice enough to give me a gift card to Target to get all kinds of cool " American stuff" to give to my friends and family back in Yantzaza.

Seeing Greg and Gracie was a blast, I missed goofing around with them.

The hot showers were INCREDIBLE, the Diet Coke with ice was AMAZING, and the home cooked meals were even better than how I remembered them.

Now I feel energized and ready to get back to Yanzatza to finish up all my projects I have started. I can't WAIT to see my girls and of course my Tortilla and kittens. Also, the hot weather is going to be a very nice change to this cold, dry, snowy season.

I am flying back to Quito and then heading straight to the beach for a New Year's celebration with the other PCVs! Have a great, happy, safe new year! See you in 2010!!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Cock Fight!

Once again (however it seems like ALWAYS down here), fiestas are in full swing for the holidays. This weekend my barrio, Jesus del Gran Poder, was in fiestas and I was able to witness a full baile and hoochie dancing...TWO DAYS IN A ROW! More on that later...

Yesterday, Grigs and I managed to finaggle (although it wasn´t hard...) Brown Sugar in to taking us to these cock fights the next town over. They were held at this huge arena, meant for cock fighting, which is owned by a Spanish couple. They came here 5 years ago and built this ¨Wal Mart¨ looking facility, with amazing food, a dirt bike race track, ponies, everything. But their real claim to fame is their cock fighting arena. It is a circular arena that goes into the ground, probably 5-6 layers of seating with the cock fighting ring at the bottom of this cone. It was quite amazing and I have never seen anything like it.

For as much traveling as I have done through South America, I have never witnessed a cock fight. But this was probably the best way to `pop my cherry.´

Brown Sugar´s dad used to raise cocks, so he was familiar with the betting system, how to call out bets and pick cocks. In the end, it´s pure luck as to which gallo is going to win. So we got some beers and Grigs was all ready to go. He had saved up some money this week, so he whipped out some crisp bills out of his fanny pack (true ecua style) to place his bet. Brown Sugar knew one of the guys fighting and said his gallos were the best, so Grigs bet $10. Brown Sugar yelled out some names, held up 10 fingers and basically made our bet.

The two roosters were carried down to the center of the arena, red tape on one, green on the other. The tape was holding in needles that help stab the other rooster as the fight goes on. Each fight is about 12 minutes, and it is possible for a tie, where neither one goes down. They spit liquor on the roosters to get them all riled up and then a man with a whistle starts the fight. This guy with the whistle reminded me a lot of the wrestling judges back in the day when my brother used to wrestle chunky middle schoolers on stinky, ringworm infested mats. But this is Ecuador, so it was a LOT more hygienic...

Grigs lost the first fight.

But then we bet on the next rooster, which was white (like us) so we thought he might have a chance. And he won! It was very exhilarating. There were about 20-30 minutes in between each fight, because they have to weigh and measure them so they are equal.

At times it was kind of sad because these roosters are just pecking the shit out of each other, all for sport. The drunken cheers, money exchanged, cigarettes hanging loosely out of mouths...I kinda felt like I was in Snatch, but I was with Ecuas and not Pikeys.

We stayed until about 9 pm (after I won $5 off of Grigs!) and then we headed back because I needed to dance at my barrio´s baile! It was a lot of fun because I knew so many more people in comparison to last year. At 11 pm, no one had started dancing. The soccer court was full of people, at least 300, and not a soul was dancing. So I got up and danced with the neighborhood´s crazy lady...still no one danced. Oh well, after the hoochie girls came on to sing in their thigh high skirts and overdone makeup, people started to shake their groove thing.

They even did a fireworks show, where they set fireworks off of a giant bamboo tower; sparks fly WAY too close, but what do you expect from a country with no fire codes?! Good fiestas, in my book.

In other news, I´m HOME THIS WEEK!! I might do a Peace Corrie America post, but if not, have an extremely Merry Christmas/Happy Hannukah and Happy New Year!!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

I got my first real rap shout out!

I might have mentioned a few entries ago that I was helping a young aspiring Yantzazense how to speak English so that he can continue with his dreams of being the next Daddy Yankee. Well, last night was his first concert.

Well I was told that is started at 4 pm yesterday. Being Ecuador, I showed up early at 4:15 and they were still putting together the stage...I was like wow this is SUPER late...even for Ecuador! Marco (the rapero) told me to come back at 5:30....came back then and it wasn´t ready. Went home to take a shower....still wasn´t playing. Then I went and did some rounds around the neighborhood, come back at 8:30 and they are playing. With 6 people in the audience. Marco was so excited to see me though, that he have me a shout out! He was like I´d like to thank my gringa friend for coming, you are great blah blah blah. He kept throwing around ¨baby girl¨, one of the phrases he picked up from 50 cent, it was great entertainment. It was sad though because he kept counting the number of people in the stayed the same 6 people, but he rapped on like it wasn´t a big deal. I was really happy for him though, that he didn´t seem to care about how little people showed up, he was up there doing his thang and that´s all he cared about. AY dios.

On another note, this week I had a tech exchange with a girl from my group, Kawshy. She lives near Ambato, which is in the north, very cold. She came down to help teach me and my girls how to make piggy banks out of recycled items. It was a lot of fun and the girls really loved her. Kawshy is from California, originally from Sri Lanka, so actually looks Ecuadorian. However they knew she wasn´t from here when she started speaking Spanish (didn´t have the accent...) It was hilarious though, people kept asking if she was my little boy asked if she was my daughter! I was like, do we even look REMOTELY alike??? Oh Ecuadorians...

Tortilla and the kittens are good by the way. They opened their eyes a few days ago and are starting to learn how to play.

But the best news so far: I COME HOME IN 11 DAYS!!! I will be home for Christmas, I am so excited to see everyone, to see my family, sleep in a clean bed withouth roosters crowing, drink DIET COKE WITH ICE CUBES, drink out of water fountains, hot showers, CHIPOTLE, possbily snow???, but best of all it will be great to see everyone!