Strange Characters

It’s a cool day in Cuenca. Not much news, we’re still alive. Our first month of intense Spanish lessons has drawn to an end. We skirted a fine line between kickstarting our learning and exploding our heads. This weekend we can decompress a bit. Next week I need to get tickets for the visit back to the US the end of May, file taxes, follow-up on various issues related to health insurance, wrap up my little side project on synthesizing the sound of the wind (a follow-up to the ocean waves project.)

We said goodbye to several students we’d met daily during the break. We’ve either been encountering amazing people or amazing story-tellers, probably a bit of both. A fellow named Gary, for example, was heading out for Vilcabamba Friday. Buses were full, he was going to show up and wing it. He took classes for a couple weeks after a month long engagement in Saudi Arabia where he was evidently working as an expert consultant inspecting their new billion dollar counter-terrorism fence. maybe. I was impressed as his facility in putting together a limited vocabulary and carrying on extended conversations in Spanish. He also disgorged a torrent of Arabic, informing me that it was the first of 5 requirements to become a Muslim, to recite that passage by heart. Not that he was a Muslim, he assured.

Alan and Pikku were a another couple we met, much like us, they’d gone the 1 month intense route and then backed off to a couple of hours a day after a break, which is what we’re planning. She’s Norwegian, he’s Canadian. She works in a local restaurant, is trying to get contracted as a specialist teaching Medical English, they spoke only Hebrew at home until they had learned it and now they are speaking to each in Spanish. A Czech we met was leaving to go north where he was teaching an indigenous tribe English, he was probably close to 70 and full of stories but had a habit of spewing food, so one had to maintain a little distance that he kept trying to close as he got more into his story. Another Canadian was heading for Columbia, looking for a ritzy health club where he could work as a physical trainer and forestall his entry back into the job market at home.

One of our class assignments this week was to head out to experience the protests and see if we could figure out what they were pissed about. Some pictures below<