Dance-able Bingo and other short stories
Trip Start Nov 08, 2004
55Trip End Nov 08, 2005
Him: "Hi what are you doing?"
Me: "Sun bathing and going for a swim"
Him: "I am going swimming too, why don't we swim together. Do you have a boyfriend?"
Him: Where is he then?
Me: "He is teaching. We are teachers at Nueva Era Foundation"
Him:" How old are you"
Me: "how old do you think?"
Him:" about 30"
Me :"( sniff, snort, and resist temptation to hit him)"
Him:" where are you from" etc etc
Me:" What? I just said I have been already....you are crazy...uhhh, well lets see; you're a horrid little 16 year old. Why on earth are you trying to chat me up?"
No this is not a joke. All the foreign girls; however old or young they may be, are a target for young boys to try out there chatting up skills and more on. Apparently, at least ones I know anyway, harbour fantasies about older foreign women. If it's not a 16 year old that trying to chat you up it's invariably a man who is no more than 3ft tall - an equally unattractive proposition.
So we are nearly at the end of our experience now. Teaching finishes this week and I don't want to think about leaving. I am staying for an extra couple of weeks to go island hopping with a friend. Jason is leaving and going to do lots of mega-active stuff like climbing a volcano.. then we will meet south of Quito.
Even after 3 months here we are still ridiculously fascinated by the sea lions and could spend hours watching them and their humanesque behaviours
Normally this is a fantastic thing to witness as you are swimming or diving, but suddenly the mood of the males has changed. It's mating season and boy does that seem to put them in a bad mood! Last week I arrived at the beach to find 2 or 3 huge males presiding over the shoreline. As I was coming back to the beach from my swim and I saw Romy standing up and waving at me. "What is she doing, has she gone mad" I was thinking, but then I realized that I was surrounded by about 6 sea lions, 3 of these were huge males. Males can be aggressive and have been known to bite so I was not that happy about them swimming around me. Romy was trying to point me out a path between them, but every direction she pointed in, a sea lion would suddenly pop up
We have been enjoying living in our little room with the great views. There are 3 or 4 other rooms in the house occupied by volunteers who come and go so itīs a great way to meet people. The family who own the house (Nelly and Javier) live downstairs, I can't say they are a typical Ecuadorian family as they must be loaded compared to even the rest of this island, but they are lovely people and we have lots of fun with the 3 youngest of their children. Andres is 3 and the cutest (see pic on last entry) he loves food and has a habit of coming upstairs and eating whatever we are eating from our plates whilst throwing the rest of it over us. Ivan is 7 and is in Jason's class, he adores "teacher Jason" and can often be found with his nose against our window asking for him. Anna-Lia is 9 and a gorgeous little girl who never stops talking.
Last weekend Nelly helped organise a night called "Bingo Bailante" in aid of the eldest child's school. Translated as "Dance-able Bingo" this doesn't actually involve dancing about on gigantic bingo boards as you may be thinking
It's not only parties and bingo we hear from our room. This has to be the loudest island I have been too. The (quite small) school just down the road feels the need to use a loudspeaker system to announce any instructions to the children (as presumably, they don't listen otherwise). So we wake up at 7am everyday to "Get in lines please now! Carlos, what are you doing?" etc etc and on Monday mornings we are treated to the school assembly over the loudspeaker system! At weekends we are bombarded with loud Ecuadorian music at during the day and night.God knows how come every family has disco-loud sound system in their house and itīs not like anyone would ask them to turn it down... noise pollution is not a concept they understand
Guide to passing as a local in San Cristobal
1. Firstly it is essential that you bring with you all close and extended relatives - Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, Cousins etc, they must live in the same house as you and your family.
2. If you are male and over 3ft5 it will not be possible for you to pass as a local, in fact you may not be allowed onto the island at all. There is only currently one tall male on the island and his parentage has been questioned.
3. Begin building your house using concrete only. Build one storey and then start the foundations for the next storey. Important: leave the house as it is now and do not finish the second storey, this would be a fatal mistake in your quest to pass as a local.
5. Get a job in one of the local cafes. Be careful to take at least 30 mins to serve your customers with a drink though, and if they order food make sure you do not start cooking the food until at least 30 mins after they order. A drink should never be served until a customer has finished their meal.
6. Alternatively get a job in the local supermarket. This will involve stacking the shelves with bags of rice and boxes of cornflakes for the first few months. If you are successful you may then be trained on the cash register. However you must not have a working speed of more than I item per 5 minutes if you work on the till, and you must do this one handed, the other hand is only for sending text messages to friends about what time you are driving up and down the prom that night.
7. If you are a 17 year old female and not yet married you must find a mate quickly
8. If you decide to buy a car you must choose a white Chevrolet pick-up truck to match your neighbours and your next door but one neighbours. No other colours or models will be tolerated.
9. Next you must perfect your manner of speaking. You must learn to talk alot without actually saying anything at all. Whenever asked a direct question be very careful not to answer it. Use very flowery language to skirt around the answer, throw in some deep observations about the meaning of life and finally end on a topic of conversation far removed from the original question. If you are female, be aware that on occasions you may be taking part in very normal activities (such as doing the shopping or dancing at the disco) and you may be approached by a young (short) man who will say nothing more than "This is what the meaning of life is, don't you think?"
10. It is important to have prior training in the art of carbohydrate overload. To do this simply eat a huge plate of rice and mash 3 times a day every day for 2 weeks. Most meals have a special carbohydrate theme and consist of a soup for starter, this will mostly be potato soup but if you are very lucky it may contain a dog bone, chicken head or foot. (This was obviously intended for the dog so be sure to throw it to him.)Main course will be a plate of 2/3 rice, a bit of potato, a small piece of meat (which you will need to borrow the dogs teeth to be able to eat) or fish and a few bits of salad. Be sure that your meals do not contain any nutritional value whatsoever even if you cook them yourself, and that you eat a variation of the same thing 3 times a day.