Friday, August 28, 2009
We arrived in Machala and went to our house (address is Malecón 909 in Puerto Bolivar - a section of Machala). I learned from Sandra that not all houses have numbers; they usually write what intersection the house is near and then describe what house it is. We entered the gate in the car (it opens with a clicker) and walked around to the side of the house where the family was preparing for the 2nd birthday of José Martín (they call him Panda). Almost everyone here has nicknames (sobrenombres) so it´s even more difficult to memorize because they have 2 names - and the names are said differently or just a different name than those in the U.S. I met two of my brothers (Fernando and José Andrés), the wife of Andrés (Paola), and my uncle (Fernando) in the house of Tío Fernando (the uncle). They coerced me to play guitar (on their classical guitar with nylon strings) for them, but since I don´t have many songs memorized, I only played for a little bit. I played and sang a little of "Green Eyes" (by good ol´ Coldplay) and Andrés and Paola recognized it. Then my sister, Patricia María, gave me a tour of the grounds. She showed me the pool, the little court (with basketball hoops and fútbol goals), the exercising room, the activity room (with pool tale, ping-pong table, stereo, organ, and TV), and the house of Patricia and José. She also showed me the terrace where you can see the ocean (about 50 feet from my house) and the neighborhood. We ate some cake (chocolate mint) and strawberry soda and sang "happy birthday."
Yesterday morning (Friday) I woke up and ate some cereal and yogurt. I was going to work out, but my mom called me and told me that there is a festival going on down the street. I changed clothes and headed out of the gates. Many people were congregating around the stage (with steroes and some posters) and the many booths. I saw Wacho (the driver for my mom) and went over to talk with him. My mom was sitting under a little tent in front of the stage with some other women. I went over with Wacho to meet them, and then Wacho and I walked around looking at the booths. He took me out on a pier where there is a museum of preserved sea creatures (like eels, fish, whale bones, seahorses, etc.). We went back to the tent with my mom and sat and watched some of the shows (one of them was a skit with clowns about hiring young people). The cultural festival was promoting the youth and their rights (or something like that). There were clowns on stilts, vendors on tricycles (homemade so that there are 2 wheels in the front with a cart where people ride or where they have their good that they sell), and mimes. One of my friends (Angie from the Rotary club) was there with her school, and I went with her and her sister, Támara, to walk around. Támara bought some "mango verde con sal" which was mango (green) with some lime juice and salt. It was really tart and bitter but wasn´t very bad. They left with their school and I stayed till the end of the festival, watching bands, singers (one of them sang Selena!), and dancers. One group danced to part of "Thriller." When it started playing, I looked around kind of nodding my head because it was music in English.
I did get a little sunburnt even though it´s in the rainy/cloudy season in Ecuador.
This morning my dad made some kind of soup with a lot of tabasco, a little whiskey, and oysters (I think there was more ingredients but I don´t know them). A friend of his named Fultón (that´s how they say it) came over and brought bread and ate with us. He likes it a lot, but me, not so much. We also ate some chifles (that Miguel, the gardener, bought from down the street), peach juice (so delicious), and watermelon. While we were eating, we heard music from across the street. It was a caravan of boats celebrating the "Virgen María." We ran outside and watched as they passed near the shore. There were like 20 boats filled with people and balloons and playing music. My family told me that the "Virgen" was on the big boat in front with the music. I didn´t have my camera the first time, but I was eating an egg tortilla with shrimp when I heard them again. I sprinted upstairs, grabbed my camera, and continued on up to the terrace to take some pictures.
Later today I´m going to a fiesta in a small town of Santa Rosa with people from my class!