A day to celebrate and more blablabla.

Why? Because that money transfer to pay for a 3 people trip to the Galapagos ( . can´t. freakin. wait!) I had been stressing about for a full 17 days finally arrived. Yep, it would probably have been faster to send a pigeon with a messenger bag full of 20 dollar bills from Paris to Cuenca….

French banks (at least mine, CIC: do not go to the CIC, seriously) suck even more than Ecua banks.

But all is well in the end. I had my little escort (thanks N. and S. !) to accompany me from the bank to the agency, which was great because I was slightly stressed out, carrying so much cash in my bag.

People here pay stuff in cash, no matter if it´s 20 bucks or 5.000. Simply because you get a 10 to 12% extra tax if you pay by card. So here. People carry loads of cash, an my host mum, for example, goes to the bank literally 3 to 4 times a week to pay for bills and withdraw cash and what not (automatic transfer whattt?). Which means I go to the bank  3 to 4 times a week to accompany her because people don´t go alone to the bank cuz, well, it ain´t safe. Now I understand how that feels and will try not to whine next time we have to wait 45 minutes in line…
I also know now that when my host mum says “vamos a dar una vuelta, si?” it means “can you be my bodyguard I´m getting some cash at the bank”

Que mas?

It was 4:30pm, cell rings, shitty shitty cells rings. Host mum:
-“…. obra de teatro…. puente del vato… 5… tu quieres?”
Ok….
So off I went. Turns out it was a sort of theater final exam in English of my host brother´s.
It was pretty low key but interesting because of the themes treated by the students.
My host brother is a second year double major (history and English). Apparently he had written the script for that 50 min play, directed, acted with about 20 other students who introduced themselves as “group number 2”

We enter the university theater and my host brother, very Fidel Castro like (green military outfit, black beret, fake moustache) greeted us.
-“Quien eres?”
-“A random cop”
-“Oh, ok”

The play was based on the “Happy couple” TV show, that makes fun of Ecuadorian machista marital life through one couple´s life.

My host brother was first the stripper at the bachelorette party who also turns out to be the priest at the wedding, and then … Presidente C-rr-ra (fill in blanks).

What struck me is that, of course, surprise surprise, I couldn´t help thinking about my Chinese students´plays and… man. They would NEVER choose such themes.

-making fun of the president (typical grins you see in the news, answering questions about bribery, calling everyone “camarado” and all in the fake tv show)
-parody of married life
-sex jokes
-immigration jokes (the Ecuadorian woman who spent 3 months in Spain and comes back a flamenco dancer speaking with a “s” -zeta, however you write that and who´s told “you didn´t learn flamenco, you were a maid in Spain, huh?”
-use of famous Ecuadorian people (other than the president: a famous Indigeneous singer, a TV host)
-sexy dance passages (“I´m sexy and I know it” is such a big it here ! Now think of 2nd year students  dressed as bunnies or in a whole leather outfit with a silver whip. No joke)

All these details somehow actually ended up saying a lot about what Ecuadorian students think about and allow themselves to express versus Chinese students, way shyer in their plays… (and no wonder, slightly different political system…)

Lately, after talking with S. who had her bf for a 10 day visit and how she felt safer and free-er with him than without, I´ve been thinking:
(huge generalization, I know, but that´s the worst case scenario)
Ecuadorian women: -better married to a macho man and slave of the house but protected outside of house, free to go out with the husband?
OR
-In a golden jail because a single woman isn´t really allowed to leave the house too often or too late anyway, + doing a lot of housechore on top of it all ?

Conclusion?
A very selfish one: I am glad I am free of my own movements as a single woman AND I freaking wish Peace Corps had a taxi budget for us.
Taxi here fron the center to my house: $3.
Taxi in China from the center to my house: less than $1

Way less reasons to go to take a cab from the center of town to my home in China, too…. I pretty much spent all of my evenings on campus or in the teachers´compound where I lived.

I never felt poor in China. Those stupid taxis here make me feel poor.
Silly, huh?

This post doesn´t make any sense but whatever.
This week-end I did a super exhausting hike in Cajas with the Sangay Andinismo club. 4 guides, 37 hikers, 8 hours, freezing, madly hot weather, depending on the hour, and a chaman looking guide with a Tibetan scarf as a bandana who opened a little fabric flag and gave us Coca leaves to chew on.
A group of Austrian, a retired old gringo married to a younger (duh) Ecuadorian, a bunch of Ecuadorian youngsters who were in such amazing shape (jealous), a few students, a bunch of people hiking in rubber boots. It was fun.
The pace was not my favorite (way fast, stopping for way too long, way fast ….) but I´ll definitevely do that again !

And that is all.
Besos.
M

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