Random tidbits de Otavalo…

~ Jorge and Jorge Luis (yup – the dad and his son) both have High School Musical songs on their phones, and love it! Boy do I feel dumb for not having seen it and for not knowing who the singer was…. we were going to watch it in Spanish but their DVD player is broken 🙁

~ Dany always wanted to play after dinner, so one night we played chess!! She is only ten and knows all the rules, I was pretty impressed, is that normal for a 10 year old? Maybe so… I rather more enjoyed after Chess when we played a game that she called Terra Moto… set up like chess except when its my turn I have to jiggle the board (like an earthquake) and try to make one of Dany’s chess pieces fall over before one of mine.  After one falls, its then her turn… to win you have to get all of the other players to fall…highly entertaining and hilarious!  We also played el juego de letras… yup Mom, SCRABBLE, but in Espanol?!?  A little bit harder!  But I am still pretty sure I won against a 10 year old and 16 year old… hehe. (okay maybe their dad helped me once and okay also I cheated and switched letters once or maybe twice but hey it was in Spanish and really hard…)

Daniela dressed as a Mexican and Juanita!

Daniela dressed as a Mexican and Juanita!

~ I also finally discovered the PIE SHOP one night …. it had delicious homemade pineapple pie! YUM!  they have SO many different fruits here and we have fresh juice and smoothies every breakfast and lunch… yummmm.

~ We went out a couple times with Ramona´s friend from Switzerland, Irene, who was in Otavalo for a year volunteering as a nurse.  Her Spanish was really interesting because she is a very relaxed, slow (not in a dumb way but in a chill way) person, and the way she speaks is the same.  It is always correct, but she never speaks fast . . . so I was able to learn a lot from her.  She also introduced us to some of her Ecuadorian friends who were great to practice with as well.

Our New Friend Franklin!

The afternoon of the inauguration, and more importantly in Ecuador, the day of the mining law protests, Ramona and I decided we wanted to try and get a glimpse of the indigenous people who were blockading the Pan American.  However, after lunch my brother said he wanted to go ride the “cuadrones” but none of his friends were around.  So, I was guilted into (and dragging Ramona along) going to ride some cuadrones, which I soon found out were four-wheelers?  Not really sure what we call them…. it was a puny little track but pretty fun!

After, Ramona and I left the little park and started walking towards the Pan Americana highway on our journey to see “las manifestaciones.”  We took what we thought was a pretty solid short cut to get to the highway.. however we ended up running into a policeman and another very friendly hombre (man).  Said hombre proceeded to ask where we were off to and introduce himself as Franklin.  He said that his wife used to work for our Spanish school and continued chatting with us about Otavalo, our plans, and other things we should see.  Very friendly guy.  And not to sketchy because the police man was a few meters away.  However, somehow it came up that he used to work in Amsterdam for 9 months, and he asked if we had been.  He then asked if we had smoked any yerba in Ecuador, because of course (as he said) all tourists smoke.  When we replied no, no thank you, we are okay… he was still friendly but quite persistent, probably thinking that we were just to shy to say yes. (side note:  Ramona is very tall and has big, black dreadlocks… however the ironic thing was that he was directing most of this to me?)  “When do you want to meet, tomorrow? Tomorrow?  What time? Where?” Franklin asked many times.  We just laughed and said no thank you, but finally to make him go away I was obliged to take his number since “I don’t have a phone” (praying he wouldn’t see it in my pocket).  Now Dad, mom, family – I know what you are thinking, “Michaela you’re an idiot don’t talk to strangers!!! ”  But honestly, it is very normal here to have friendly conversations with passersby, and I told the story at school and my professors told me it is very common for people to try to sell drugs to tourists – just have to say no, which we did 🙂

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