n. infantile pattern of suckle-swallow movement in which the tongue is placed between incisor teeth or between alveolar ridges during initial stage of swallowing (if persistent can lead to various dental abnormalities) v. [content removed due to Bush campaign to clean up the internet] n. act of nyah-nyah v. pursuing with relentless abandon the need to masticate and thrust the world into every bodily incarnation in order to transform it, via the act of salivation, into nutritive agency

Friday, April 29, 2005

sweaty, pieling skin, and expats

well, I found out that Little Tom is leaving Ecuador for job reasons that came in conjunction with the theft. He works at the same spot as me, and apparently there have been cranky feeling and little structure. The little structure I had already figured out when nobody told me what texts I´m using for the classes that I´ve never taught on grammar, etc. anyhow, Tom just seems spent.

got told today by an American that ¨I´m sure you´ve experimented, but you´re no lesbian.¨ I try not to have too big an ego, but I think he was hurt that I wasn´t interested afterall. I´m tired of remarks that imply I might migrate to alternate and conformative positions after I´ve ¨grown up.¨ Just what the hell do people think ¨growing up¨ means?

Anyhow, last night I went out for awhile to the bar. I was careful not to get shnockered this time, and I met a German expat who sure as hell talks alot, but likes to go dancing, speaks Spanish, has lived in Ecuador for 9 years, and seems to go in for having a good time. I was happy to meet her, and got her number... she said she´d show me around if I´d like.

No real revelations today. The place was hot, sweaty, but not sickness-inducing. Dragonflies are still everywhere, everywhere. I spent the day on the terrace planning classes, and now I need to wind down and feel moderately mellow for the weekend. I think I´ll go downtown tomorrow, so I´m sure I´ll have plenty to say later.

Oh, and I found a good poem yesturday... I´ll put it up when I remember.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

robbery, not mine

Overhead, dragonflies like bats before a cave. City dragonflies, they feed and mate in the humidity. Their eggs float on hyper-heated H20 above my head... little eggy swirls. The fust holds.

Last night I got the news that Little Tom, the friend I went to school with up in WA, who has helped me engineer some of the logistics of my journey south, was robbed of everything of monetary value in his new living space. Gone is his computer, Ipod, and money. I thought, holy shit. Holy Shit. Apparently, his house had been cased... his roommate lost two computers, plus. One of them was at a resturant and the other at the corner store. I can´t imagine.

But, I just got the message that he has resigned (Monday is the start of classes), and I can´t help feeling both a little deserted, and a little startled... who is going to take his classes? Why does robbery equal leaving a job? How do last straws get formed? When he walks on the plane, will he have a clear idea why?

Will I be broken too? We were just down in the Montanita waves together, drinking rum and thinking... I could sense my thoughts were different, but will I be stripped too? Will this country case me?

SSS wrote to tell me that Dengue is mosquito-borne. Whereas malaria travels in night-dwelling mosquitos, dengue travels in daytime mosquitos. The solution: pollute your skin with DDT at all hours. No thanks. As long as my back gets better, I can deal with sick. So far, the mosquitos haven´t been too bad and we´ve been running fast from the rainy humid season.

Still hot and fusty, I slept my first night all the way through last night. I remember enjoying my dream. I believe it was a law dream, and somehow I had an alibi, or at least sufficient evidence. The night before, I dreamt I was in a huge palm-covered shack with family, NAM and others, and the wind blew and blew and blew. Little seapods fell down from the palmleaves and dusted the interior. Just a windstorm... I woke three times with the thought, ¨I´ll be damned, it´s just my fan.¨ Fust or fan, anyone?

My burn seems to be leaving... little skins are peeling?

A note to those interested in Ecuadorian politics. Approximately one day before I came, there was a coup and the E President was rousted by an angry mob that was marching on Quito, the capital. The airports were completely shut down one day before I came, and I so I just made a near-post-coup miss. I am told that the angry mob is now in charge, and a man of their selection is the President. I have read that this occurs frequently. Very frequently. But there are apparently still some pissed off dudes from the area of the rousted President, who are staging what I´m told are like ¨mini-wars¨ (gorilla warfare?), but this is in the Northeast of Ecuador, and I´m in the Southwest, and I am told it is nothing to worry about here. I can sense some of the cynicism in their voices when they say, ¨Absolutely nothing will change.¨ One of the jokes I´ve heard: ¨With the former president, we were standing on the edge of an abyss. With our new president, we have taken one large step forward.¨ Sound familiar?

I am starting to feel comfortable in Spanish again... it´s like I can feel it brushing over my skin...odd somehow. I don´t understand everything, but that´s okay. Every American I´ve met down here can´t speak Spanish worth a shit. I´ve been here a week today, and I´ve been the translater for two people who have been here near a year. To tell you the truth, it´s almost like a point of pride with them. There are jokes, obviously joking, hahahaha, about why Ecuadorians don´t just give up their language? ¨They don´t speak English to me, so why should I speak Spanish to them?¨ (that´s Big Tom). Hahaha, my sides ache, what mirth. I feel an unspeakable despair and hatred that more people don´t learn to give up something in exchange for the priviledges. Oh, it´s oh so hard to give up the comfort of appearing smart and astute because you are speaking your native language. So hard. Why don´t more people love learning new languages? It seems to make sense to me... you come to the country, you get paid shitloads by E standards, you learn the language to the best of your ability. You meet people other than Americans. You listen. End rant. I try to be patient and hold my tongue on this matter, because I´m in a minority, but I feel frustrated. I need to meet folks.

The dragonflies fly. People build cities in the crops in their necks, and their throats grow goiter with the fantasies they´ve eaten to later regurgitate and masticate at leisure. There are no lakes in this city, only roads, and the best way to cross the street is to find an old woman and follow her across. If she knows she can make it, you know you can make it too.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Try to figure it out

Well, I´ve been keeping a log on my own computer, but I thought that Id write right now while Im at the cybernet for family and friends.

Im in Ecuador, waystation Guayaquil, home of 3 million people. First instincts about the place are nebulous. It is huge and dirty and busy with cars. The feel of it is LA or Miami, noisy, standing at attention but without much knowledge of where to go, in some senses. On street corners, mothers paint their small children silver, so that when the babes ask for money there is something more magical in the process. Silver equals donation. Sparkle, crisp.

Im a little startled by the way cars might prefer to drive over you here. It is said that either you will love Guayaquil or hate it, and yet I still remain nebulous. It is always hard to find yourself in a place you dont understand, the area of discomfort. Should we hate that? There is much for me to discover here, I think, whether it is hot and fusty or not.

Speaking of hot and fusty, it is so hot here, humid, that I have gotten sick off it... pukish, even. Thats right, the girl who claimed no heat could get to her, has been gotten. I am learning the places of air conditioning. At night, I roll around and discard clothes until light comes up, and because my room has see-through curtains, I start putting the layers back on. Hot hot hot, and there is no nightly escape. They say it should get colder soon... like a summer in Washington, Im told.

Im living in a boarding house, and Im not sure whether Im going to stay for too long. The original deal was private entrance, second floor, food when needed, etc., but due to renovation, I find myself with a small downstairs room sandwiched between the kitchen and several rooms with a bustling noisy family washing and pounding outside my window by 8... for the same price as the dude upstairs with private entrance, etc. I end up wondering slightly if it has to due with me being a girl in need of protection within the walls of a Catholic family house. The food is good, and most of the large family is sweet... they took me out to help me get a cellphone. They allow my broken spanish to pass for acceptable. But the loss of chosen and occasional privacy might be more than I can deal with for an extended period of time. I will have to see, and find myself in the same state of nebulous that exists with everything else.

A question? When traveling, I have noted everybodys propensity to exagerate, or at least, emphasize, the painful: rape, theft, murder, and sickness sickness sickness are the words of wisdom many have chosen to share with me. Ive been told not to go into a certain neighborhood because "it is said that if you have an inch of flesh showing from under clothes, you will get sliced with a knife." Everybody gets sick, nothing is edible, there are outbreaks of Dengue (whatever that is, although I do know that it leaves red dots on your skin as a symptom), the water has everything, infections fester and grow (even a little scrape), people get hit by cars, I keep hearing more and more each day. And I am good, easily frightened. Im not sure where to set down my feet, but I do know this wont last. Whats the good of it if you are too scared to move?

By the way, I still havent figured out certain aspects of the spanish keyboard, which has great easy lettering by hard to access punctuation. I need a guidebook for keyboards.

This Sunday, after feeling wretchedly ill on Saturday ... 1/3 hangover from the very Ecuadorian TGIFs that I was dragged to by Big Tom (worthy of his own entry), 1/3 from backache, and 1/3 from heat-sickness ... I decided to go to the beach, hop on a bus, drag Small Tom with me, who I went to school with. We went despite it all, and I had a glorious time. I am now feeling much more hopeful, refreshed from travel, sunburned, feeling the possibilities mount in front of me. Im still overwhelmed by the approaching school quarter and the bizarrely scattered class prep, but I think I can do it.

So, the beach I went to was Montanita, which had the International Surf Comps last month. Great large waves on a flat beach. Children that come out of caves at sunset and groop in the swish and swirl. A small village, parts of which are established for tourists... resembling a Latin Disneyworld for International Surfers and Playboys. I went with it. The salt air blew the fust away, and I feel less ill. I went swimming and swimming and boogie-boarding for the first time. Once a wave caught my legs, yanked them up, and bounced me in a backwards somersault. I think it actually did my back lots of good... oddly: youd think it was a bad move. I drank dacquiries and played cards, ignored the fact that the hostel we were staying at seemed to hate us. Im not sure why... tourists, I suppose. I havent met any friends yet, but I figure theres always the possibility in every interaction. Smiles given, or full eyed looks of seriousness. Children in Montanita carry puppies under their arms.

There's a street down the way from my house called "Orville Wright." A little bit further down the street, under the eaves of a corner grocery store, the title morphs to "Orville Witch." Who had their hand in that pot?

People in the villages here are like men in the suburbs who sit in garages with the doors open, elaborate evening rituals and interactions. At night, people sit on the curbs, bare-chested men, bare-footed people with dust in between their toes. Babies play in their diapers and women walk in knowing ways... knowing that their walk is a form of conversation with those on the sidewalk, their girlfriends, boyfriends, enemies, babies alike. The trip to the sea starts lush and gets dryer and more desert, but the air gets lighter somehow... still burning, but maybe not so laden... is it humidity?

Back in the city, my burns turned so pink, I started wondering if my skin might just rub off at any time, a touch of a finger. Despite the city fear, I rode the bus home, instead of taking a taxi, which made me proud... small steps. The taxis are pretty cheap here - a coupla bucks a ride, but the buses are 25 cents, so it makes sense to learn them, even if they dont actually stop to let you on or off. Ill hone my nascent train-bum skills.

Nascent seems to be my English word of the week, whereas "Si, se puede" is the Chavez mantra that runs along in trickles.

Monday, April 18, 2005

does it ever pay to panic?

Two days from this exact moment I will be defying gravity in a huge metal contraption as I move ever closer to a life and world I fortunately can't even imagine. Aside from being quite pleased with myself for having engineered an escape from a pulse that is incrementally approaching flatline, I am also scared, almost into paralysis. That type of paralysis where all you can do is creep under a blanket and read the trashiest novel you can find (Kellerman, most recently), even though you really really need to get quite a bit accomplished. Buying, collecting, cleaning, packing, talking, etc.

The other activity I perform when I'm panicked at the Unknown is to look up old acquaintances, enemies, and friends over the internet; a few dozen clicks of sifting and riffling, the attempt to distill 10+ years of distance into a more or less comprehensible biography of Those Left Behind (or far more frequently, Those Who Have Left You Behind). I just found the first of two people I fell ruthlessly in love with at The BabyAge, and discovered she is making movies. I'm sure it is her, because cinematography is two steps beyond the perfect choice of action for her. Despite myself, I'm impressed with her and wondering if she is still so arrogant, searching, and lovely.

Lists and alcohol are the third and fourth means of stilling fear, but the lists get messy as you cross things off or add more, whereas the alcohol can, if consumed in too large a quantity, make you blubber and wonder if you are becoming an alcoholic. Liver cancer, sluffed brain cells, jaundice, tendency to speak More Than You Ever Should Have. Which is something I have to watch out for. Most countries of at least mediocre intelligence understand that a munitions trade embargo is a more or less healthy part-way solution to dealing with hostile or deceptively-toadying territories. But not me; I love arming untrustworthies. Get me drunk enough, and I'd even provide several well-drawn, highly articulated maps to allow for easier infiltration, perhaps because my addle-pated head wants to reveal the Reliability of even those most unreliable. The glory of Surprise (which so very rarely comes).

Anyhow, I guess panic never pays... it allows chinks. But it certainly can provide a pleasing degree of adrenaline combined with a the slight sweet smell of rotting self-indulgance... ah, like too-old pineapples. But yes, despite my uptight antics, I'm ready, ready, ready to leave. Stasis sucks.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

despite it all

something really must be said, even if there is some sort of inflamation creeping up through the crevices between each vertibrae on my elongated chronically weak and under-excercised upper torso.

outside, Nam sits with Phoenix sweat working its way down her sleeves. Or maybe that is me. I am enjoying myself, even if, on the first vacation I've had for six months, my back gave out and has caused me repeat attacks of panic whenever I think about the fact that, not only do I have to take the 3-hour flight from AZ to WA, but in a week and a half, I will be making a 24-hour journey from Seattle to Guayaquil, Ecuador, and really don't need to worry about how I'm going to bend down and take off my shoes at all the feel-you-up custom stops along the way.

But blogs are not for the whine, or at least I'd like to believe this. Instead, I'd like to note that I'm pointedly, violently, pro-actively (etc.) leaving one year's worth of grieving behind me in order to bely the cliche that a depressive needs to cling to their sadness so as to feel that life is Real. I'm going to turn humid and gatheresque like a tree-topped orchid....