In no particular order, here are the things I forgot to mention in the last post:
Amanda and I saw a bright yellow Datsun truck. I was alredy starting to feel fairly at home here, but now it´s official.
I forgot to mention our dog Bobi. We think that our family is trying to say Bobby, but we´re not certain.
On the subject of dogs: They´re everywhere. I´ve gotten really good at always keeping an eye out for them, but I just know one is eventually going to sneak up without me noticing. The key is to already have a rock in hand and to throw it at their feet, just close enough that they think you were trying to hit them. It´s enough to scare them off, but that way you don´t have to feel bad about what you´re doing.
There have been several earthquakes since we´ve been here. I´ve only felt one of them, but apparently that one was pretty strong. The rest our family all left the house, but neither of us woke up long enough to register that something was going on.
There are several playgrounds in our community, and one of them has what I can only describe as a dangerous variation on a tire swing. There´s a metal pole in the middle, with a giant metal ring connected to it by four chains. The people sitting within the circle then push off in a coordinated effort to get the thing spinning as fast as possible. Eventually, if you´re doing it right, you aren´t able to even sit up. And the whole time there´s a metal pole that you´re spinning around between your legs.
I´ve introduced Liar´s Dice to a bunch of the volunteers. Every short break we get during the day, I grab those around me for a few quick rounds. I´ve already heard at least one person call it their new favorite game. Thanks, Kerlins!
Yesterday my language class went to Lima. I got to walk around the center for a while and then headed to Miraflores for the afternoon. In the center, I got to go to a food museum and see a bunch of really incredible buildings -- which is only slightly depressing when you realize that the architecture you´re admiring is a result of the utter distruction of the native people´s culture by the Spanish. I went to a little cafe and got arroz a la Cubana - rice, with two fried eggs and fried plantains on top - bread on the side, and a glass of juice for four soles (about $1.50). In Miraflores, I saw Kennedy Park, famous for the crazy number of stray cats that live there, ate at an absolutely incredible outdoor restaurant, and walked in and out of as many markets as we could. I had some dish that I couldn´t remember the name of even 10 seconds later, but it had some sort of spicy sauce, rice, and as many kinds of ocean creatures they could fit, including but not limited to octopus, squid, shrimp, and something I couldn´t quite identify. The most important thing about yesterday, however, is that I bought a charango. The charango is the national instrument of Peru and is best described as a Peruvian ukulele with double strings and an extra E thrown in after the usual pitches. It compliments well the guitar I bought (but also forgot to mention in the previous post) the day after we first arrived in Yanacoto. I bought the guitar in Chosica, which has this ridiculous open air market with as many 10 foot wide stalls as they could fit into an area roughly the size of a city block. I don´t know how it all stays standing. They all have their own tin roofs, and they run tarps between them to block out the rain in between them, but even then, the aisles are only about 4 feet wide. Chosica also has a 30 or 40 foot high statue of Jesus called "El Cristo Blanco." We visited it the first night we got to our new home, and I´d be lying if I said I didn´t get a kick out of walking around a giant white Jesus statue with my host family and seeing all the Peruvians do double-takes at my appearance. Fortunately, I think my host family thought it was just as funny.
We finally a mailing address for you should you want to send us a postcard or something. Peace Corps does not recommend sending anything that can´t fit into a padded paper envelope or has a worth of greater than $100. Their overall advice is not to send anything except for letters, but if you really want to surprise us, go ahead, just know we´ll have to pay the customs fees when it gets here. Also, this address is only good until late November. At that point we´ll be going to our new site, and we´ll let you know then how best to contact us.
This past Friday, we got phones. We have free calling within network, but have to buy phone cards in order to text anyone or call out of network. We don´t exactly have a surplus of money (or after buying two instruments we don´t), but but we can receive phone calls for free regardless of where it comes from, the US included. For privacy reasons, I´m not going to post our numbers on the blog, but if you want to be able to call us, just send us an email.
I think that´s everything I forgot in the last one. As I said before, at any point feel free to leave a question you may have in the comments, and I´ll try to answer it the next time I manage to get online.