Culture Shock

So there are more interesting things that we see/experience here everyday then we can possibly share with you all but here are a few of my favorites from the last month.

Need a dead baby llama and are just not sure which tienda will give you the best price?  Seek no longer, friend.  The colored squares beneath the llama I believe are some how made from llama parts and are associated with some form of traditional spirituality / witchcraft.   Will let you know when I learn more about it.

mmm…tasty.  We spied these behind one of the meat counters at the market.  Sometimes you can see the guys in the back with saws cutting up the animals.  All I espoused for years about eating fresh, local meat and vegetables is  really coming back to haunt me here.  I am literally eating my words.  For those of you good at eye-spy you might notice a chicken foot in there also.

There’s no such thing as a banana, sorry to burst everyone’s Northern-hemisphere bubble.  These are cajitas dulces (above) which are very tasty and have a very thin skin, at lunch today I had something slightly larger that’s called a guineo.  The next size up which is more what you might imagine as a banana is a walele, and there are about 100 more kinds that I haven’t learned yet.  Then of course there are your larger platanos which are specifically called platanos machos and they have an almost sweet potato-like texture, look like a banana but aren’t sweet.   They do taste delicious fried however.   The overall name for this whole group of fruits is platanos.

Dyslexic graphic designer?  Under-educated editor?  You be the judge.  English, like in many places in the world is “cool” here.  But unfortunately English is poorly taught in schools and so no one really knows much, but they try not to let on.  Everybody has shirts with English on them that they have no idea what they say and store owners are constantly trying to use English in their advertisement.  One haircut place is called “Leidy” which is funny because it’s clear they sounded out the vowel sounds using spanish vowels but somehow still managed to keep the “dy” at the end.

This is what the Capilla that we attend on Sundays looks like.  It’s really quite pretty.  In this picture you can see part of the 150 or so strong First Communion class that had their celebration today (which meant an hour an half mass in a VERY hot and crowded church) but anyway yay for them.  The interesting thing was today lots of extra people actually went to communion, beyond the usuals.  Maybe they’re just special occasion Communion-goers?

Here’s one of the little geckos that lives in our house.  It was one of these that I saw crawl under the couch about a week ago, we’ve seen them from 2 inches to about 6-7 inches long.  Not sure about the species yet, could be multiple.  We had a really exciting show last night, there were a bunch of bugs flittering around outside our windows because we had the indoor lights on, then two geckos showed up to eat their evening meal.  We got to watch them stalk and catch the moths through the window, it was great!  Like a live Animal Planet or Discovery Channel.  Which is great because we don’t have a tv here.  As I was writing this, another little guy ran under my chair, they’re hard to get pictures of because they’re fast and think we want to eat them.  None has asked us to buy car insurance yet but we’re prepared to say no if they do (it’s actually not required here- scary considering the way people drive).

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