little adventures

now it’s serious. this language learning stuff. we’d been messing around, 30 minutes a day going through a program for a while, since last October and it’s now December, of the following year. the pimsleur stuff is fun, we focused just on the auditory, the dialogs, trying to pick up the grammar by osmosis. “I wanted to rent the monkey yesterday” … I can totally say that. but it wasn’t very useful asking for toilet paper at the local tienda. and why is toilet paper so hard to frigg’in remember (papel higiénico) Then asking for matches… cerilla, while technically correct I guess in mexico and central america but prompted a confused look and then a flash bulb of “ah, el fósforo?!” Which is cool, and created a similar flashbulb in my own cabeza cause the head of a match is actually made of phosphorous. we’re at a frustrating stage where sometimes we know what to say and it doesn’t come out and of course sometimes we do and because our accents are pretty good (a nice side effect of a pure audio learning track) we feel good for a second and then get lambasted by a response or question that is unparseable.

yesterday at the laundry mat was a complete disaster. lesson learned: need to build up some contextual vocabulary.

we’ve got until the 7th to find other accommodations. I was thinking we might like this place, sight unseen, and extend it to make our search for more permanent residence more languid but it doesn’t really match us well. Although the Tomebamba river is only 10 meters or so from our kitchen and bedroom window and there is a nice little commons area with rampant and diverse vegetation. But I may have negotiated us a nice place beginning in April, we meet to see it this Sunday. Then have to figure out the between.

We’ve been here two days now. Shopped a bit for food…great, rich tasting bananas from the mercado (a big open flea market of meat and produce, sans fleas. Or flies even.) Went to a mini-mart type place for some things like milk and eggs (unrefridgerated of course?) then hit some tiendas for water and finally a big supermaxi today where gringos and rich Ecuadorians go for the good stuff, like peanut butter. Pasta de mani (aka good old peanut paste)

tonight is new years eve. later we may head out and cross the mighty Tomebamba to Plaza del Otorongo, our range is somewhat limited for a day or two as miko sprained her leg yesterday when she missed a step. I almost did the same last March on our reconnaissance trip at the top of a long flight of stone steps. The terrain here is notoriously unpredictable.

I saw a lot of fat purple grapes for sell all over the place. Evidently one is supposed to eat 12 of them before midnight to ensure a prosperous year follows. In the southern US it’s black eyed peas, in Japan it’s toshi koshi soba. I suppose if you wanted a global guarantee you’d be eating a lot of strange stuff tonight midnight.