Here are some things:
While I am excited to go visit an association that wants my help, that is located about 5 hours from me, the last 3 of which will be on horseback, I am unsure as to how I will help them get more tourism business. It is a very high hurdle just to get tourists to where I live, let alone another half day's travel into the mountains. I will however, take one for the team and head out there to see all of their caves and waterfalls and jungle and unexcavated Pre-Incan ruins. You're all welcome, I will get this horrid tourism off of your hands.
My Spanish has crossed a bridge. For the first long time, I was catching up to previous knowledge and tying things together. Understanding was always far easier than speaking, as it was easier to recognize words and pick things up than it was to come up with the words on my own and put them all together coherently. I have now gotten to a place where I can use my available words and structures to convey most of anything I need to, though it is often in a simplified or roundabout way, and also now I know enough to realize just how much I do not know. Often I am unable to follow someone because the accents of the deep mountains are just that hard, but much more often now I am realizing that I can completely understand a person but simply do not have the vocabulary to have any clue what they could possibly be getting at. Part of this I look at in a positive light – my accent has improved enough for people to assume I speak more Spanish than I do. Must speak more poorly...
It is apparently completely appropriate for a marching band to wander the streets at any given time of day or night. In fact, one passes my house every night around midnight and again at about 5am. I am unsure exactly when I am supposed to sleep. Am I missing something key here?
I feel so much more comfortable in my community. This place is home. They are still getting used to me, as the only gringa in existence, and shout greetings from afar. Only now I enjoy shouting greetings back. They are my friends, or will be whether they like it or not. Sometimes I just want to shout back, “No, I am not getting married soon, to you or your brother,” just to nip the most asked question in the bud. Maybe I could wear a sign.
I just drank some tea I got in a package from my grandmother in the states (Thanks, Grandma!) and it was SO strong. Wow, flavorville, I didn't realize the stuff here was so weak. It was also my first caffeine in weeks, as I am completely off of most everything that is any fun, and I think I will probably be up all night. I mean, look, I am writing a damn blog again.
My town party has begun. First, I was asked to lead the parade, helping carry the banner that announced the beginning of the festival. Later, I was given a festival brochure, complete with a schedule of events and tons of pictures. I open it up to find, in the center, a listing of people involved in the organization. There, right in the middle, in big ol' capital letters, it says in Spanish, “And With Special Guests: Courtney Anglin and Ashley Sansotta.” Apparently just being two gringas in the middle of nowhere makes us the special guests of the whole damn town party. I have also made a lot of new friends, including mountains of random people who speak some English. A lot of my new friends are only here for the week, however.
I just got back from a bullfight. It was the most beautiful, terrible, suspenseful, insane, awesome, awful thing I have ever seen. There sure is a lot of blood. Also, one of the bulls battled a horse, knocking it down along with the gate, getting to the outer ring amidst tons of gasping and screaming. There were periods when I was unable to talk. I wanted to cry and throw up and laugh hysterically. I am still shaking, trying to eat dinner and type.
My whole family is out of town this week. They took my mother to town to send her off to Japan for a month and the rest of the family is just visiting relatives in Chiclayo. Ash and Mark came to visit for the fair, as we have tons of artisan booths. We have been cooking up a storm of American food and just hanging out at the house. It is so nice, like we are real adults with our own place again.
I was out making new friends and dancing until about 3am last night, so I am thinking bed before seven. Is that pathetic? I almost always go to bed absurdly early here.
Yesterday I saw the greatest thing. We had our afternoon thunderstorms and it was a real doozy. Lightening every 5 seconds and the streets turned into rivers. I could still here noise from the plaza though, so I went to investigate. I found the bands still rocking away on the church steps and my town out dancing in the downpour, jumping around in inches of water. It was phenomenal. I love this place.
Ok. Now, less phenomenal. This town party is never going to end. Never. Still raging. Has been for almost two weeks now. I really hope I can get back to work next week, and that everyone sobers up eventually.
People keep finding me. Whether I am in a dark back corner of an internet cafe or shopping in the crowded aisles of a far away market, people who are looking for me appear to ask me whatever question. I think they must just be able to walk to the plaza and ask which way the white girl went last and follow my trail from there. I don't think I could ever have secrets.
I am in a hotel now and just took the most amazing hot shower. Might be the cleanest person in Perú. Ok. That's all for now. Hasta.
Well, just tried to upload some photos, but there seems to be a problem with me and the new uploading form on Blogger. So, not my fault. You didn't really wanna see all the party pictures anyways, or all the gory bullfight pics especially. They are awful. I will not be attending another.