24 mayo 2006

Oh, soul-mate of a country...

dear mom,

I hereby lend my full support and moot vote to Peru´s socialist candidate for the 2006-2011 term, Dr. Alan Garcia. He´s a good speaker; what can i say?! Plus, the only other candidate, Ollanta ("little pot") Humala is a Nationalist, and Fascism really isn´t my style.

thought one: an analogy
(Note: This is written with a certain audience in mind. If you consider yourself a "progressive," this probably won´t mean much to you. Proceed to next thought.)

Imagine with me for a moment that this is the 2008 US elections. We have three candidates: Condoleezza Rice, Bill Clinton, and Hillary Clinton. Oops, 1st round and Condi loses by .5% of the vote. Yes, that´s a decimal.

So Bill and Hillary enter Round Two. Except our Former President Clinton, instead of merely committing moral "indescreetions," actually brought the country within 6 months of Communist guerilla takeover, contributed to a 7000% inflation rate (wherein over half of the country lived in "official" poverty), and headed a military that committed human rights abuses no less than their "terrorist" counterparts (between the two, 69,280 people "officially" died or disappeared.)

Ah, and Hillary. She was a Lieutenant Colonel during that previous "conflict." During her campaign, there were all these noisy protests about some "torture" rumored to happen under her command. She lives in one of the richest neighborhoods in the country and represents the "people," who brought her to a decisive win in the first round (ie: 30% of vote to Bill´s 24%). She tried to overthrow the government in 2000. She´s buddies with Fidel and Hugo and doesn´t like our southern neighbor. She does like the death penalty. A lot. She wants to nationalize the industries and legalize coca.

So, there are our choices... on a bright note, in a debate on Sunday, Former President Clinton slew his opponent into many pieces by his clear, well-articulated presentation of ideas. Ms. Clinton ranted. It was good listening.

thought two:
i am very proud of myself to have figured out that "ctrl k" = italics and "ctrl n" = black. just thought i´d share for future reference.

thought three: a profile
When i am old, I shall be as Mama Nila.

i wish.

tranquil... sitting by the fire, drinking coffee. sharp in her wit, in the center (in-the-know) yet undisturbed/ undisturbing. daughters around her, but one in the US. raised nine children. all alright with God, all good humans.

she´s been sick before... bad sick. she´s suffered. she´s seen bodies littering the jungle road. shés lost her land to the communists. she knows terrorism.

she was once like Chana, 10 years old and full of light. she was once like Reyna, 15 and singing, punctuated by giggles. she was once like Mila, young and working, uncomplaining and efficient. she blushed like Celia, new to marriage. she mothered like Amelia, swatting as need be. she´s received the calm faith of Rosalvina, half her children excellent, the other half being prayed into that state. now she rests...

but she is not idle. she´s too Peruvian for that. the grandchildren run around, always one or another. she scolds, she defends. grinding coffee, she reaches into the back of her manta (tied at the shoulders and waist) and pulls out a tissue for a productive toddler nose.

her legs are still strong. she still descends and ascends, to and from church each night. in the dark. her hands remain busy, but not frantic. sometimes the older grandchildren fill the table and their plans fill the air. sometimes her children crowd her kitchen, and she remembers them as children. the talk surrounds her; she doesn´t feel the need to over-commentate. sometimes just a few are within shouting distance, but there are always a few.

her husband reads outside. "the Sierra is cleaner than the jungles," she pronounces to me. the sun purifies; the blue disinfects. the children, the dogs, the mountains... as long as the earth turns, they will never disappear.

thought four:
weeeeiiiirrd... i´m hearing Franz Lizst´s Liebestraum, which i remember from piano lessons back in 4th grade. it´s coming from somebody´s cell...

thought five:
The other day, I met a girl who "didn´t pass through adolescence." Thusly was she presented. The daughter of a cousin, she had come over to help wash the laundry. Her mother sells fish on a bridge nearby, beginning at 5 each morning. They say that this little adolescence-evader, my age, has had to be the "Mamita" for her 3 or 4 brothers and sisters. Breakfast and washup, send ´em off to school and hurry through her own... she wants to be a computer programmer.

I like the idea that "adolescence" is a voluntary thing. That´ll preach.

thought six: re: cute peruvian words borrowed from english

-"wachiman": wah-chi-MAHN (guard/ watchman)
-"halo?": ah-LO (hello, when answering the telephone)
-"esteishon": es-TAY-shun (station wagon; ie: a Toyota Corolla)
-"google punto com": goo-GLAY poon-toe cohm (axiomatic; my personal favorite... "goo-glay" just makes me smile)
-"jajaja": ha-ha-ha (internet use)
-"Jennifer Lopez": YEN-ee-fehr Lo-pes

you haven´t lived until you´ve heard:
1) someone mockingly imitate your language, like we did growing up with Spanish ("English is like chicken talk... ´shlp shp chpk shlp´... ")
2) someone immitate the American pronounciation of their own. ("Kayrez too whogar" for "¿Quieres tu jugar?")

its very humbling to remember that Americans are the minority on this planet.

Thought the last:
The food here is inordinately good. Really, i might possibly be convinced to travel 3000 miles just for the food, but the additional incentive secures my addiction to this place. MMMMM...
sample menu:

Breakfast: Quaker (pronounced: kwah-kur; an oatish drink, terribly addicting, which i originally thought was an ancient Inca staple until i spelled it out and noticed how eerily similar it looks to the "Quaker" Oatmeal... hmmmm... globalisation...), fried bananas, one itty-bitty practically microscopic piece of freshly baked bread, and corn (mote) with cafe, now taken with a bit of evaporated milk.

Lunch: Spaghetti with sauce made from tomatoes and carrots, salad, boiled yuca (tuber... kinda like potatoes, but different.)

Midafternoon snack: Mandarina (tangerine, bought off the street), maracuya (passion fruit, first time tasted... soooooo good. smell stayed with me the rest of the day), ice-cream of lucma and strawberry (lucma wins prize for best flavor ever tasted in my life)

Dinner: Arroz chalfa (rice with soy sauce, ham, chicken, eggs, seasoning... 2nd favorite dish), yuca, cafe

so... when i come back fat, please be courteous. ask me about politics or something. or food... i don´t mind talking about food at ALL... ;)


Anonymous Timber said...

thought one:
Yikes! Good analagy...that brings the point home. I fear for what this means to our Peruvian brothers and sisters in Christ.

thought three:
How beautiful! You have described Senora Trujillo perfectly.

thought six:
You forgot one. My favorite Spanish-borrowed-from-English name brand is Vix-vapur-roob (Vicks-Vapor-Rub).Its really fun when they say it in everyday conversation and you think your ears are playing tricks on you.

We did it to their language too.
Rio Grande

It's a good idea to keep a sense of humor when learning a foreign language; at some point the natives will surely be laughing.

thought the last:
maraculla...yuca...arroz chaufa... That's it! I'm going on the next trip. What's lucma?

jueves, 25 mayo, 2006  
Blogger berekkah said...

Lucma is good... it was the third picture. i´m not sure how to describe its taste... rich, not fruity... mmmmmm... thanks tim, i´m salivating now. but good news is that lunch is less than two hours away!!! ;)

viernes, 26 mayo, 2006  

Publicar un comentario

<< Home