Tuesday, October 26, 2004
My Birthday - Parts 1 and 2
That's why my birthday this year is going to be so bloody good. Part 1, on the said Saturday night, involved imbibing plenty of thrist-quenching Cuba Libres, going to Samba nightclub, enjoying lashings of Pina Coladas, and dancing my pants off until about seven am. Monika and Neil, fellow teachers at ICPNA, both missed their Sunday morning classes completely, which I think is a fitting testiment to the excellence of the evening's festivities.
Part 2 involved waking up sometime on Sunday to a lovely, massive arrangement of flowers from Tito's parents, a gorgeous cake and about 10 pounds of pork to be cooked. We went out for lunch with some friends, came back, slept more, then prepared dinner(the largest I'd ever made). Tito's mum Glavis had very kindly seen to the pork, I just had to prepare the mountain of garbanzos. I did, then 17 people came over and we fed them. They left, we went to bed. It was wonderful.
Stayed tuned for further episodes of the never-ending birthday!
Thursday, October 21, 2004
All that aside, when our friend Marco, who has gorgeous flowing tresses, recommended a hairdressers (Pepe's) to us, myself and Monika decided to go for it. The place seemed a bit foreboding, as it was on a second floor and we had to ascend many stairs and knock at a heavily barred door to get in. But we were pleasantly surprised to find a light and airy room, with awaiting stylists. I had never before had my hair cut by a transvestite. Let alone a middle aged one with a cut-off top and boobs. But I let Pepe, the owner, do his stuff and was not disappointed. He gave me a cut exactly like what I wanted. I was so pleased that I let him really go to town and blow-dry it backwards with a round brush. He gave me wings like Farah Fawcett! And I loved it! I never though I'd see the day. Thanks, Pepe, you made me look like one of Charlie's Angel's - and gave me a cut that still looks great today... and all for 15 soles (2 pounds). Monika opted out of the Angel's blowdry, but got a really nice cut too, just what she wanted. We are both well chuffed.
Sunday, October 17, 2004
English... Mas o Menos...
1. THE DRUNK TYPE
*develops unjustified confidence in their English ability when inebriated
Pablo, a friend of a friend, was very pleased to meet me on Friday night. "I speak English." he declared grandly. "Mas o menos" he added, with a devil-may-care shrug. Conversation ensued. "I...go... no, I.... work." he confided. "Where?" I queried. (Pablo makes expansive gesticulations). I make some random guesses "Your home? A disco? A shop?". "Si, si," he agrees affably. (Mimes taking a photo). "Photo? Camera?"... "Si, si, camera. Shop. Yo... I work. Camera.". Menos, mate, mucho mucho menos.
2. THE OVER-AMBITIOUS TYPE
*uses 'Spanglish' or 'Japlish', etc. liberally... that is, anglicises words in their native language with just a dash of very basic English grammar
Pepe, Tito's bible-bashing cousin, is a prime example of this type. Should he wish to use a Spanish word in conversation, but does not know the English translation, he will simply pronounce the Spanish word with an approximate English accent. Sometimes these words are mutually intelligible. For example, 'abandonar' is abandon. 'Eutanasia' means euthanasia. 'Zombi' is zombie, etc. However, many Spanish words may appear to have parallel English counterparts, but these are very misleading. They are called 'false friends', and Pepe is apparently not aware of them. For example, 'constipado' is to have a cold. 'Embarazada' means pregnant. 'Suburbio' is slum. The only reason I can understand his English in any way is because I now have a fairly strong knowledge of Spanish. Pepe, however, on our last meeting, asked me if I can understand Spanish at all. This places him firmly with this category, and also the next...
3. THE INEXPLICABLY DELUDED TYPE
*believe, since they are communicating with a foreigner, they must be using English
I once had a Japanese boyfriend (yes, just the once). He could not speak, understand, read, or write a word of English. It was a jolly good chance for me to practice my Japanese, an opportunity I snatched in no uncertain fashion. I sent him lengthy text messages. We went out for dinner, we cooked dinner at my apartment. We went shopping. We went to the park. (All this in 100% Japanese, remember). After a couple weeks I introduced him to my friend, Amy, who speaks excellent Japanese. "Oh, I wish I could speak English" he confided. "Why?" she said, "you don't need it at work, and you live in Japan..." "Well," he sighed, "it's because Vanessa doesn't speak Japanese...".
Tuesday, October 12, 2004
Top 5 Student Names at ICPNA
2. Julio Cesar (parents with great expectations - possibly unfulfilled - he's missed 3 of 5 classes so far)
3. EKatherine (parents thought 'Katherine is such a lovely name... but how can we jazz it up, make it a bit different? The answer is clear - wack a random E on it!')
4. surname: Chunga-Chunga
5. male student's surname: Ponce-Vera (ooo! ducky!)
Monday, October 11, 2004
I have to say, though, I hope that some of this experience stays with us in the future. For example, how many people carry a list of phone numbers on a hopelessly low-tech piece of paper for use when their mobile battery dies? Or agree on some place to meet at a certain time should they not be able to get in touch by mobile beforehand? We have to do these things all the time. This Girl-Guide-like level of preparedness would have helped in no end of situations in the past... for those times when you went down to Tokyo and ran out of phone juice and got extremely lost, for example. Or missed your stop on the train because you had passed out in a drunken stupor. Not that I would know.