Monday, April 28, 2008
A storm, A day, Pictures.
I was awoken at about 4:30 in the morning by a big mouse (or small rat) scampering in my kitchen. What followed could have been a scene out of any whacky comedy. Me with a flashlight and a broom chasing a mouse as it ran from room to room through my dark house. As usual, the mouse won the race and escaped to its hidden lair deep within the bowls of the Earth. Already being awake, I put some water on my little gas stove to boil and put a chair out on the front porch to watch the sun rise as I ate my breakfast of oatmeal followed by a nice tranquilo matè session. I had planned to catch the bus to Encarnacion that morning. Fate had other ideas and as I sat sipping my matè a lid of dark low clouds slid over the sky from the West, obscuring the finalé of my sun rise. The storm came in so fast that my eyes were barely used to the sudden dark before the wind started up tearing leaves from trees and even snapping a few limbs. I still had a vague hope of catching the bus so I put my bags together, and got out my squeege mop to take advantage of the rain and clean the constant dirt off my porch.
(A huge double rainbow following an afternoon storm. The plants are called cameroon and are used for cattle feed and to protect soy crops from the constant dust clouds drifting off the dirt roads)
I spend the rest of the day reading, writing, musicing, and even got a little bit of cleaning done.
(Here is my kitchen. I use a big tub for a sink and dump the water out the window. The light in this room is broken, so I often cook and eat dinner by candle light. It would be romantic if I didnt live alone!)
Just as it got dark I heard a familiar voice call from my back yard (where my gate is). I was shocked at the timing. Nobody ever goes visiting after dark out here, and any bus that would have gone through (none did that day) would have been long gone. It turned out to be my buddy Nick from a few downs down the road. He got a ride by his community contact to a big party at my site (being given by my nonfunctioning contact who didnt invite me).
(Nobody in my town has running water. The lucky ones have pumps like mine that suck water from the well up into a tower where it can be stored and used just like running water. This is the back of my house, behind me as I took this picture are some trees, my garden, and way over to the right a little church.)
We went to the party where I got a sheepish late invitation from my contact, and we were invited to partake in a dinner of cow innards. Despite my very true claims to have already eaten dinner, I found myself sitting at a big table with a big bowl of every internal organ you can think of. It had obviously been boiled in its own fat for a long time, and as I took the first bite of mucus-like unidentafiable cow slime I reflected a bit on the things I feel I must do for the sake of acceptance by my neighbors. Then I almost gagged. I took a quick bite of mandioca and swallowed the whole thing down. This was just the first bite and I had a whole bowl to go, luckily the rest was more solid than whatever I had just swallowed. I could identify a piece of heart, some sort of valve, and what I swear looked like a sphincter. For the sake of science and world peace I moved, piece by piece, the innards from the bowl to my own innards where they mixed and danced in a great gastro- cultural integration.
(Better than cow guts! I am eating my dinner of tasty carne de soja, textured soy, over a pile of rice. The spices you see were mailed by my grandmother. Pure love in a tasty powder form.)
The night ended with live music, Polka Paraguaya. The day was one more experiencial grain of sand in my expanding beach of memories.
(Did I say I live alone? I do have tarantulas (horse spiders here) to keep me company. George here was part of my house welcoming party.)