Friday, September 25, 2009

Spanish Campamento

About two and a half weeks ago, I went with the Rotary students from the south of Ecuador to a Spanish camp in Nobol, a town near Guayaquil. All of us from Machala, Pasaje, and Santa Rosa met and headed out in little buses. We took a stop and then made it to the camp in Nobol. The other group (from the north of Ecuador) had their camp in a hotel so we didn´t know what to expect. We pulled into a little resort with cabins and pools along the river. We ate lunch with everyone then moved in our cabins; I was in a room with Tjarko, a German from my club in Machala, and Alexis, a Swiss from another club in Machala. We had our own bathroom and three beds (one bunk and one queen-sized), a little nicer than the girls´ quarters. They had maybe 10 in a room and had I think 2 community bathrooms.

To get around, we rode on 2 tractors pulling wagons of wood. We all looked like we were on a sarafi because we had our cameras out, and we were jammed on this little cart. By the end of the week, we started riding on the back and the top of the wagon. The tractors that pulled these wagons would make an incredible amount of smoke; that was a pain. Each time we got on these wagons, the drivers would race against each other. This was made even more difficult because of the ridiculous bumps in the road. So we were swerving, choking on the dirty smoke, and the people on top were getting hammered by the tree branches. What a blast.

When we first got to the camp (on Tuesday) we took a Spanish placement test that put us into different groups according to our level. I was put in the highest, the Intermediate group (I should say so, after so many years of study!). Our group of south-Ecuadorian exchange students was split into two groups, one with classes in the morning and the other with classes in the afternoon. I was in the group that had classes in the morning. In our class, we worked a lot on worksheets and did review. There were only 6 of us so we also did quite a bit of speaking. In our class we could only speak Spanish and our teacher spoke to us in Spanish too. It was four hours everyday with a break in the middle. One of the days we got to watch the movie "Qué tan lejos" which was nice. On Friday, the other group was cooking in the morning and they brought us some food, so that was a nice break too.

The food was nothing to write home about, but I´ll write about it anyway. I´ll say that it was better than MO Boys State food. For breakfast we usually had toast and cheese with warm milk (on occasion containing chunks). Sometimes there was juice, but that was actually good. Lunch we ate outside and was a soup followed by a meal. The soup usually had some meat in it and the meal was a type of meat with rice. They served soda with that. Dinner we had a meal of meat and rice. A big secret that was discovered by the middle of our stay was that the kitchen sold Pingüino, a brand of ice cream. It was such a great taste and escape from the food.

Every afternoon my group had activities. The first night we had free so most of us went swimming in the freezing water. The second afternoon we had Gymkhana, a trivia game about Ecuador. This was kind of difficult because none of us were from Ecuador. You would run and grab a little keychain and answer the question. If you answered it wrong, you had to do a punishment. If you answered it right, you got 10 points. On a question where no one was going up, a counselor, Walter (who went to Germany on his foreign exchange last year), told me an answer. Turned out it was wrong (thanks Walter), so I had to stand like a flamingo for 30 seconds. My team lost, and we had to do "embarrassing" punishments. Since I know you´re wondering, the second time I had to dance. After this, we played some fútbol outside. We played without shoes, and I got a blister on one foot. One kid did say I was really good at soccer (yeah, JC soccer!). I stopped playing after I got the blister and for the rest of the week made makeshift moleskin with toilet paper and some athletic tape. Thursday afternoon we made skits, posters of Ecuador, and learned how to dance (to dances like Merengue and a traditional Ecuadorian dance). Friday afternoon we learned how to make patacones and empanadas con queso! That was so delicious. We also showed off our skits and dances to the other groups. Saturday afternoon we did a cultural simulation called BaFá BaFá. We split up into two more groups and each had a culture to learn. We all took turns visiting the other culture and tried to adapt. For some reason, on my visit to the other culture, I was placed in the jail twice. During the ending explanations, I was sitting next to the Hungarian girl, and she kept whispering in Hungarian, wanting it to be over. I don´t think it was that bad.

Most of the nights we had free. We traded pins and cards with each other. On Thursday night some of us were sitting around outside, and we started singing our countries´ national anthem. We then got in a big circle and started doing sing-a-longs and repeat-after-me songs in all languages. We moved this group to a little stage and had representatives from each country sing songs in their native tongue. This was so cool! We had USA, Germany, Canada, Switzerland, Belgium, France, Denmark, Ecuador, and Hungary! We from the USA sang "Evertime We Touch" by Cascada for reasons unbeknownst to me. I suggested Bob Dylan and started singing "The Times They Are A-Changing" and "Blowing in the Wind," but they paid no attention to me. Friday night they played music over speakers spread throughout the camp and had a little dance party. Saturday night there was a bonfire and music to dance to. After the bonfire some of us stayed up and talked (me mainly about music) until 2 in the morn!

On the way home we stopped a little less than half-way at a solitary little open-air restaurant bar (we did this on the way up too). I got a peach yogurt and a cheese empanada! We got to Machala, and Walter and his mom gave me a ride home. At my house the streets were blocked off because there was a shooting on the street. This became the topic of discussion for the next 2 weeks or so. What excitement to come home to.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Morocho Weekend!

My second weekend here in Ecuador I spent with the Morocho family! They invited me to go with them to a Rotary party (to watch the fútbol game of Ecuador vs. Colombia) on that Saturday. I packed a bag because I ended up staying the night.

That Saturday morning Johny Morocho (the dad) came to pick me up in his truck. On our way out of Machala, we stopped by a marketplace where the vendors were selling flowers. There were huge bouquets that sat on stands and had little homemade containers. Johny bought one that was maybe 3 feet tall and only costed $3! We stopped by the mall - here called "Shopping" (not Spanish but used anyways) and "El Paseo" - and he bought some bonbons. These were for Geovanna (the mom) because it was her birthday!

We headed off to Pasaje - and bought a mini flag of Ecuador for the big game. Johny tried to stick it on his window, saying "mi país." Once in town, we went to a little restaurant downtown for breakfast. We ate "encebollado de pescado," a super delicious fish onion soup, with chifles and soya con leche, a good cold drink that kind of tastes like chai. We finished the soup and went to pick up a chocolate cake for the birthday festivities. We went to the house and I hardly recognized it because unlike the first time I saw it, the streets were filled with markets and vendors under their metal roofs that look like scaffolding.

Geovanna was working her store, but we all went upstairs (Johny, Geovanna, Johnny Andrés, Jocelyne, Kevin, and me). We ate the delicious cake and sang happy birthday - here they sing a mixture of the birthday song in both Spanish and English. Johnny and I went a couple doors down to an internet café. On our way, all the people waved and said hello to Johnny (his grandmother owns the building so they all know him). I met Katty, Johnny´s girlfriend, and her mother at Geovana´s store. Her mom parked illegally because they were just stopping by, and a cop came. They explained to him that it was only for a moment and they got out of a ticket because Catty´s father is an official or something like that.

We loaded up in their car and toured the town. We got some "chichurrón," pork that´s deep fried. There were still decorations and a statue of the Virgen María from the night before, when the city was celebrating María for some festival. We drove out to the Rotary members house and ate MORE food.

The men were all preparing for the big game by setting up a projector, a screen, and having several televisions. The majority of the people were dressed in yellow jerseys - Johnny and I didn´t have one. The TV to projector set-up wouldn´t work, and I finally explained to them that the TVs didn´t have an AV Out outlet - that´s fifth place in Introduction to Technology Concepts FBLA! Someone did end up bringing their TV from home and then we got the projector to work.

Johnny and I walked around outside and picked some fresh oranges from the trees. He peeled it and cut a piece off the top. These oranges, he explained, you don´t eat. What you do is suck out the top and squeeze the orange to get the juice to come out. I kept breaking the skin of the orange and getting sticky, but by my third orange, I got the hang of it.

Well, Ecuador lost 0-2 to Colombia. On our way out, we picked a cacao bean off of a neighbor´s tree and booked it home. In Pasaje, we ate morocho, a warm rice drink, with bread. Johnny and I walked around the town, and I drank some batido de guineo (a banana milk drink). It was all sooo delicious!

I played some Pictionary with their family - actually quite difficult in Spanish. Then we all went to Machala to drop Jocelyne off at a Quinceañera party (a huge celebration for a girl´s 15th birthday). We walked around downtown Machala (my first time doing so) then went to an ice cream/frozen yogurt place called Twister Ice. I got a mixture of fresh kiwi and pineapple! We went home and ate sweet "uma con queso," smashed choclo with cheese.

Johnny and I headed upstairs. We looked through his photos of old times in Missouri and reminisced. We started watching the Blues Brothers, but I ended up falling asleep, so Johnny turned it off.

We woke up and ate encebollado de pescado again! How great is that? I talked to Rachel and Mom while Johnny and I walked the town. I had two hands on my phone the whole time - stories about cell phone robberies are common. I lingered around Geovana´s store for a while then went to buy jeans - I only brought 2 pairs and have to wear them to school most of the week.

Johnny and I went back upstairs and listened to some Cat Stevens and Ryan Adams! We then went next door, and I met his grandmother, grandfather, aunt, some cousins and their daughter and nephew (or something like that). They fed us some more oranges (to suck) and guayaba (fruit).

Johnny then drove me back to Machala - different because it used to be me driving him! That was quite the fun weekend.

Friday, September 18, 2009


My mother is currently the Vice-Mayor of the city of Machala. My dad was a Congressman in Ecuador, and now he owns a radio station (he´s on from 8-10 weekday mornings, and my brother Fernando also speaks on it), a banana plantation, and a owns a fair share of the buildings in Machala. Most everybody in the city of Machala knows the family. Our house is fenced in with the house of my brothers (each brother has a floor for his family). The house has a swimming pool, a small soccer/basketball court, an exercise room, and an entertainment room (pool tables, stereo, ping-pong table). Each adult has a car (my father has two). So you might be able to tell that this family is well off. There is a downside to this: my parents work long days. My mother wakes up with me and sets me off to school. I sometimes see her after school when she comes home to eat lunch, but then she takes off again. I don´t see her then usually until 9 (unless I´m downtown for some meeting then walk to the Municipio, the city hall, so she can take me home - still usually between 8:30-9). I don´t usually see my father until 10 at night (unless I go to his office during the day). They do try to compensate for this during the weekends by staying home. Most of the family then comes over and we eat together and spend time together. I actually haven´t been home for a Saturday night yet: I was in Guayaquil my first Saturday night when I arrived, I went to Santa Rosa, I went to Pasaje with the Morochos, and then I had the Rotary camp. I do plan on sleeping in my bed this Saturday night and partaking in all the family activities.

Around the house there are so many helpers:

Wacho (real name is Washington, but this is how they say it as a nickname) - the driver for my mother who also works at the Municipio. He somtimes drives me around, too, if I need to go somewhere. He also picks up food that we´d like or any supplies (he bought and brought me a blue tie to school my first Monday). He also has a little farm where he grows "mandarinas" - large clementines the size of my two fists together. He brings them to my house because I love them.

Araceli - The nanny for me (previously for Francisco). She first came when Francisco broke his leg, then she stayed to help. She does the laundry and cleans up around my room and the house. She stays to make me some dinner (usually just a small meal because lunch is the big meal) and to give me some company. She is around usually from 3-8 or until I leave (sometimes she accompanies me via taxi).

Gladys - The cook who makes us lunch during the week. She prepares a soup and meal for Mamá, brothers Fernando and Andrés, sister Paola, and me. She´s home when I get home from school at 2 and stays until 3 or 4.

Miguel - The gardener for the house. He takes care of all the plants and maintenance of the house.

Juan - A nice, old security guard who comes at night to guard the house. He also feeds the dogs the leftovers from lunch. Once I was exercising and glanced out the window and saw don Juan peeking in the window. I spit out some comment about how I haven´t exercised in a while, and I continued with my exercise. Next time I looked he was gone. That was a little awkward, but he´s really nice anyways.

María - A babysitter for my nephew Paolo (son of Andrés and Paola). She is usually around a lot and watches, plays, cares for Paolo.

Yolanda - A lady who comes, reads the piles of newspapers, and cuts out certain articles for my mamá.

Señor de la Piscina - I just found out about him today. He cares for the pool. Araceli doesn´t know his name either, just Señor de la Piscina.

I think that does it, but I´m not sure because I keep learning about new helpers.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Spelling Bee

Two weeks ago some younger students (2 groups) in my school were preparing for a Spelling Bee. They would compete with other students in their level, first against students in Santa María then against students from the other schools. Julie, an exchange student from Denmark, and I got roped in to helping out the teachers. I thought "helping out" meant that we´d be with a couple students reviewing a list of words that they knew. It turned out that the teachers just gave us 15 kids each and a room. I´m not even sure what kids were left for them to teach. A couple of times we got kicked out of our classroom because another teacher had it, so we just shuffled around the school and found other classrooms.

They did give us a list of words, a different one for each group. I ended up taking the older group (with more difficult words). We asked the teachers if we needed to do something in particular, but they just said that we can do whatever we need to do and take breaks whenever. When we did take breaks, I´m not even sure if all of them came back because there were so many students. The teachers asked that we work with the students from the start at around 7:15 to 12! I got really good at using "you (plural)" commands. It was so long, but we did this anyway Thursday, Friday, and Monday. We did take ample breaks because it was so dang long. Sometimes I just sat back and talked to the students about Ecuador (like the nice beaches and citys). A classmate and Lara, another exchange student from Germany, came and visited (They told me our class was doing nothing - big surprise) when we were talking and said that I was a bad teacher, but I told them that I wasn´t the teacher and had no obligation because they weren´t paying me. Sometimes the students called me "Teacher," and I said "Who?" because I´m not the teacher. They snuck snacks (prohibited in class) in at first then I told them that I don´t care. We did review most of the words.

The words were crazy hard! I asked the students if they had ever seen this list of words before, and they said that they hadn´t, so that was even better (sarcasm), starting fresh. Some words were juggernaught, gourmet, quiche, and courier - crazy - amounting to 1,289 words. Since they didn´t know the words, I just let them glance at their list if they needed to. They had enough trouble with their letters.

On the last day, the teacher did buy Julie and me a hamburger and coke so that was nice. I don´t think any of them won against the other school because I haven´t heard anything, and from those that I did see, they said they didn´t win.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


My high school is supposedly the "nice" school in town where the wealthy people send their children. I´m not sure if they are getting the best education for their money, but at least their students enjoy the school. Class "starts" at 7:10 a.m. and that just means that most of us are in the classroom. We have four classes each day, but they change every day. Most of the classes are 90 minutes long. This is my schedule:

Monday: Physics, English, Math, Bioanatomy
Tuesday: Math, Physics, Chemistry, Accounting
Wednesday: Technical Drawing, English, Literature, Chrisitan Formation
Thursday: English, Chemistry, History & Geography, Math
Friday: Literature (45 min.), Bioanatomy (45 min.), Investigation, English, Physical Culture (like P.E.)

My first week I started on Tuesday, and we did barely anything. Wednesday was a day of "sports," where each class had a "Madrina," and there was a competition between them. My cousin, Caroya, was the one for her class, and she was dressed up. I don´t know what it was judging, but our "Madrina," Sole, got second place. We stood outside and watched cheerleaders, a police dog jumping over 4 feet high hurdles and hopping around on two feet carrying a flag of Ecuador in it´s mouth, and a presentation of the best sports players from each class. Some other classes started playing fútbol and tennis, and our class just watched and talked to each other. We did no work that day either...AND we didn´t even have school Thursday and Friday.

We wear uniforms. Monday we wear a beige shirt, blue tie, blue blazer, blue dress pants, blue socks, black dress shoes. Tuesday through Thursday males wear jeans, blue socks, black tennis shoes, Santa María jacket, and Santa María polo; females wear Santa María skirt, blue socks, black shoes, Santa María jacket, and Santa María polo. Friday we wear Santa María gym shorts (with built in underwear might I add), Santa María gym pants, Santa María t-shirt, and Santa María jacket.

The man in charge of discipline is called "Teacher Juanchila" (all the teachers are called "teacher" here). He checks our fingernails, electronics, hair, attire, and grades. He is an odd man who uses only a wrist-grab handshake. Today was funny because Lara, another exchange student, and I saw him halfway-hiding behind a corner of the wall, extending his cell phone about 2 feet from his body. It looked like he was taking a picture, but I think he was texting. When he noticed that we saw him he ducked completely behind the corner.

I already mentioned this but every day we get 2 recesses! The first is for 20 minutes and the second is for 15 minutes. During this time, we´re free to go outside, mingle, or buy a snack from the food bar. They sell sandwhiches, burgers, a plate of food (rice and a meat usually), drinks, and candy. Also, at the end of the day, we have 10 minutes where the teacher advisor for our class tells us info that we need to know (like announcements, news, etc.).

Sometimes the teacher doesn´t show up, then we have a "free hour" where we do anything we want, with the exception of leaving the campus. Sometimes we play basketball, walk around, or just sit, talk, and listen to music when this happens. I think I asked maybe four different people what was going on the first time this happened because I could´t believe it. Now it´s just old hat. This morning we had technical drawing so we went to the computer lab. When we got there, we found out that the "AutoCAD" program wasn´t yet installed, so we just spent the hour surfing the web (I spent my time looking up information Bob Dylan and the US Open). That was great. Oh, and our teacher didn´t show up today for Christian formation.

We get homework every once in a while. We´ve had to do some research and answer questions. With the assignments I just jot down the answer in my notebook, but I´ve noticed that the other students put more work into it. They type their work, color the pages, add pictures, and sometimes put it in a plastic folder! This is surprising to me, but maybe it accounts for the lack of work we do in class.

Two weeks ago our class spent the majority of the classes preparing for the English Fesitval last week. They practiced dancing to a mix of songs: the first cut was the rap song Low, Hot N Cold by Kate Perry, and Mambo Number 5. That was a little too much so they ended up just using Low and Mambo Number 5. This is them Keep in mind that took up precious class time. I was gone last week at a Rotary camp, Tuesday to Sunday, so I missed the performance. I hear we didn´t do any work either because of the English Festival. Hooray.

Monday, September 7, 2009


So driving is pretty much crazy. Here, driving is on the right side and everthing is in kilometers. My first experience of the driving was driving with my padre, José; madre, Patricia; sister, Patricia María; and cousins, Paulina and Sebastian to a house in Guayaquil from the airport. We took off in the blue SUV like we were trying to reach lightspeed in the Millenium Falcon. I was pretty swept from the flights, but I was still clutching on to my seat a little. We got to the house then left again to eat at a nearby restaurant. This time Mamá drove. A little more relaxed but still less structured than in the U.S. We were passing cars, pulling u-turns, and crossing/blocking traffic some.

The next day we left for Machala, so we had some highway driving (with Papá). Now these highways could maybe pass as a 3-lane highway but (sometimes) there´s only one line in the middle to separate the direction of traffic. Despite this line being there, we still were on the left side of the road maybe 30% of the trip, passing slower cars. I´m pretty sure my eyes were as big as half-dollars (used quite often here in Ecuador) a couple of times when we went to pass a car and there was oncoming traffic (fairly close). Fortunately, we made it home safely (and I didn´t have any cardiac problems).

In the city, I am mainly driving with Wacho, the driver for my madre who also works at the Municipio (city government building). When he drives, he goes pretty fast. On a road that is maybe for 30 mph, he´s going like 50. I asked if the police pull people over for speeding, and he said that they don´t do that too much.

One caveat to this speed driving is that speedbumps are commonplace. When one of these comes up, we slow down to maybe 5 mph to cross it then kick it back into high gear.

In the downtown area, cars are everywhere, as well as bicycles, tricycles (the back end of a bike with a front end of two wheels and a large basket to carry food and goods to sell), and especially motorcycles. Even in these tight quarters we pass cars, sometimes barely making it back into our lane before an oncoming car comes, and pull u-turns.

Pedestrians aren´t allowed to cross the road on a red light (they can be fined $10) because there have been so many accidents. When I´m walking, my Ecuadorian companion (Johnny, Araceli, Mamá) usually stops me from walking in the street. I then follow their lead, sometimes running across. Kind of like Frogger. The streetlights are also a little different. The colors are still green, yellow, and red, but there are times when the green and yellow are lit at the same time and when the yellow and red are lit at the same time. I have not yet seen a green and red lit, nor a green, yellow, and red lit, but I´m keeping my eyes peeled for them.

I´ve driven also with Johny Morocho quite a bit. On our journeys to Pasaje, we encounter several roundabouts. These are all throughout Machala and some have stoplights. Sometimes it´s really difficult to see the streetlights because of how far back the lights are positioned.

With everyone, I think it´s mandatory to use the horn at least 5 times per ride. Once I was sitting in Mamá´s office downtown and there wasn´t 10 seconds without a honk. Unlike the U.S., the horn isn´t to send evil vibes to others, but more of an announcement. They usually give a tap or two if they pass someone or see a vehicle/mode of transportation entering traffic. It is also prevalent for the driver to give a couple honks to some friends on the road (this happens a ton with driving in Pasaje with Johny).

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

First Day of School - Tuesday, August 25

So I was planning on waking up at the early time of 5:45 to get ready for my school (Unidad Educativa Santa María), which starts at 7:10. I ride with Uncle Fernando and my cousin Caroya (real name - María Dolores), and they leave at 6:30 for school. I happened to fall back asleep after my alarm went off and woke up to my madre saying "Buenos días" at 6:22. I rushed through a shower, brushed my teeth, and dressed. I ran downstairs and grabbed a sandwich Mamá made me (two pieces of bread with cheese and a slice of ham, toasted, is a common food here). I chugged a chocolate milk (not completely mixed) and she ran upstairs and grabbed a jacket for me (it was kind of cold and rainy). I have a jacket for Santa María (part of the uniform) but she grabbed my black one - I didn´t get into trouble for having it instead. During this whole ordeal, Tío Fernando is honking the horn. What a hecktic morning. I ran out of the front gate, hopped in the cab of his truck (I sit in the back seat because Caroya sits up front), and off we went. Now, because of this first morning, my family all checks on me and asks me if I got up on time (every other day I HAVE).

After a 15 minute drive through town, Caroya and I got to school. She showed me the campus. It´s a reeaallly small school (I am comparing it to JCHS) and has maybe 30 classrooms.

I met Caroya´s cousin, my second cousin, Tita. Luckily, they helped me find a principal, and then he showed me to my class. There were 2 other foreign exchange students in my class (Julia from Denmark and Lara from Germany - both in Rotary), but now there are 4 other exchange students (another Lara from Germany - with Rotary and Soli from Germany)!

School was completely crazy. First was math with some satanic, devil-worshipping (thank you Mr. Hermann) signs - matrices. I don´t mean to toot my own horn, but when it comes to math, let´s just say I´ve got a full box of crayons. Well in this math class, I couldn´t figure out a single thing they were doing. They were doing a complicated way to find a system of equations. The students are friendly and helpful if I don´t understand something. They asked me a lot about the U.S. and things there. They like to joke a TON, telling me different "joke" names for people. I acted skeptical and got the truth out of them in the end. They do all (nearly all) have nicknames so I had to learn at least 2 names for everyone. The teachers talked and cycled through (we have 4 classes each day, but the classes change everyday). The students talk a lot so it´s pretty fun and borderline getting-in-trouble. The classes seemed so complicated because they´re in Spanish, and Joffre told me that they take notes when the teachers speak! I guess that´s like the U.S., so we´ll see what happens. We had homework in Physics (already!). Apart from that, we did absolutely nothing (except talk) in all classes because the students took exams the week before and the teachers were grading them. We do have "Recreo" twice a day, every day, where we go outside and can buy food, play sports (basketball that morning), or just talk.

This day some teachers took all of us into another classroom and handed us some song sheets. On the song sheets were Catholic songs and prayers. We listened to a tape then we all had to sing along. It was especially funny because I had no idea what was going on, but I still sang out. The other students said that they don´t do that very often. At the end of the day, we all lined up in the central area outside. Someone was talking over the speakers (barely audible) and we lifted our hands every once in a while. I still don´t know what that was all about. We were then dismissed, and I went home with Caroya and Tío Fernando.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Santa Rosa!

So my mother and I went to my sister's house (Patricia Maria) Saturday afternoon. I met a second cousin Carolina and I played some Star Wars Battlefront with Sebastian. We ate some delicious cheesey mashed potatoes, salad, hot dogs filled with cheese, and a kind of gelatinous pineapple cake. I ran out with Cesar (uncle) who took me to the house of Meche (a girl from my class). There were about 13 other classmates with us, and we loaded up on a little bus and took off for Santa Rosa!

We got to the town - everyone calls it a tiny pueblo (bigger in size but not in population than Machala) - and went to Demi's house. We walked around the town because nothing had started yet, and we got some ice cream (like a popsicle) - I got peach that had real peach chunks in it! We hopped in the bed of Demi's dad's truck and headed across town to eat. I had some carne de res, menestra (a soupy bean mixture), rice, choclo, maduros (a type of banana), and sugar cane. We went back to Demi's house and killed some time - subtly everyone got prepared for the night (some showering and soaking up in cologne and changing shirts) but I wasn't really aware of this ritual so I just hung around.

We went out to the streets, heading to the concert, and they were packed with vendors and people. Around the stage was a fence with limited seating. Somehow Demi's dad got us in (we had to squeeze through like 50 people all pushing against the fence to get in), and got us some chairs (not enough for all of us). I think my mom threatened my classmates so that they'd watch out for me because the whole night they were saying "Where's Logan" and "Logan hold on to us"and such. Since there were only like 6 seats, the boys just sat on the ground, waiting for the concert. Demi's dad was getting us some more chairs, but some workers wanted us (who didn't have chairs) to move, despite our explanation that we had chairs coming. Eventually the police came over and escorted us to the side of the fence (I was just laughing through all this - not aloud of course). Demi's dad finally came and handed us some chairs over the fence. We put the seats pretty close and near the edge of the stage (about 5 feet from it). First came on was a singer doing covers of Spanish songs - I think they just pulled him off the street to waste some time. Then came on a band, and were just what you'd expect from a teenage band - the singer kept on holding the mic out to the crowd as if they were going to sing. Then Makano, the main act, came on. The music was reggaeton and some of his songs were pretty catchy. We were moving to the beat, and everyone was singing the first song "Te Amo" with him. There were fireworks on the stage and people were trying to reach up to touch him. There was a little girl on someone's shoulders and she was holding some money in her hand. Makano took it and passed the exchange off casually as a little handshake. Later he pulled the girl on the stage, and she sang a little bit. We tried to leave early but, unfortunately, got stuck; fortunately the last song was "Te Amo" again and there was a crazy girl who ran on stage and clasped Makano. We left, being crushed again and carrying our chairs out. We kind of made a "congo line" to get out of there together.

We went back to Demi's house and just chilled for a little bit (the others prepared themselves again). They set up a stereo on the terrace, and we all headed up there (this was about at 1 am). They brought up some chips, juice, beer, and pina coladas. Don't worry, Mom, I didn't drink, but man, did the other boys. The other boys usually drink and smoke - neither of which appeal to Pedro and me - so I hung with Pedro. We danced, and they taught me some dances! I learned the Salsa and the Bachata. It was pretty funny by the end (around 4 am) when they were pretty "soaped." One classmate kept on talking to me about the Bachata, repeating the four steps. He also kept on saying "Wolverine" when around me. Another kept doing Michael Jackson moves. We got ready for bed (eventually - we had to care for the boys). One guy was pretty funny because he got really serious (usually he's just does whatever), telling us to be quiet and get to sleep and monitoring us. It was also funny because they sometimes spoke to me in their English. We finally went to sleep (or at least I did).

We woke up and ate some ceviche (supposed to alleviate hangovers I've heard) with tostados (little corn kernals), popcorn, and limes. We got ready and hopped in the truck bed. We headed to a bull fight, but it didn't start until 2 pm, so we went to watch a motorcross. We watched a little, talked, and ate. I tried some pastel de pollo (a croissant with a little bit of chicken, onions, lime juice, and mayonnaise), which was pretty good. They called it their "McDonald's." We left back to the house then went out walking. We went to a grocery store (my first one in South America!) and it was crazy because every single brand was completely different. They also had a ton of fruit and some I didn't know. They made some tacos and we ate. We headed back on the bus, and I got a taxi home.