07.05.2007 25 °C
I am feeling better now and have decided today is the day I am leaving Puyo. Sorry I haven´t been writing much.. but things have been kind of hairy here.
Was lying on my bed watching an Arnold Schwartsenneger and Jamie Lee Curtis movie last night when I heard a comotion out my window. Some sort of street theater had erupted, same as the night before, and in a town of 24 000, about 130 people had gathered to see these two guys.
I audibly cursed myself for lying in bed watching a terrible movie. I could have stayed home for that... what did I fly 3000 miles for? It was dark out but with all the people and roving police officers I could feel safe. Not bothering with my hair or lack of makeup, I threw on a sweater and headed out the door.
I positioned myself at the back of the crowd, trying to observe the goings on without being noticed. Well surprise, surprise. It only took about 10 seconds. "Gringita!" the street actors had noticed me right away. I must have been practically glowing white.
They started rambling off in rapid fire spanish, and all I could ascertain was that they wanted me to get in the middle of the circle with them. I refused... I wasn´t going along with something I couldn´t understand. They persisted. Someone suggested I should donate $3 to the pot. Another person countered with something along the lines of "She´s Canadian! Make it five." The sad part here was that I was down to my last $2 anyways! The one place to cash travellers checks was closed.
I said a lot of "no, gracias" to all of their requests. They jokingly referred to me as ´leche´, or milk. In that crowd, I sure was. I was beginning to tire of the game. I pretended to slink along behind other people, which only made everyone laugh harder. I laughed, too. I may not have understood what they were saying or particularly liked the attention, but it was friendly nonetheless. They were just interested in me, and in having a good time.
After awhile, the furor died down. I was left in peace. I understood some of what was going on. They got the crowd to say ¨lights, camera, action¨before they did some things. Although my spanish is pretty terrible, I can understand more than I can speak.
A few minutes passed before I grew a bit bored of not understanding what´s going on... and I turned my attention to crowd watching. I started a game I like to play sometimes... find the hottest guy in the crowd. "But Sarah," my inner self argued, "you don´t generally find these ecuadorians very attractive!"
Nonetheless, I began to scan the crowd, selecting, watching, and discarding by turn. I was looking for a certain je ne sais quois.
Standing directly across from me, standing at the back, I found it. Him, I mean him.
He was perfect. He was so good looking in a non-ecuadorian way, I though perhaps maybe one of his parents were white. He had different features from most of the guys here. I can´t describe it. He had dark but clear eyes and dark hair, cut too short to really spike or style. He was wearing a dark, long sleeved shirt, and tan shorts, with running or other sort of casual shoes. A white shell necklace, the type that was popular at home five years ago, circled his neck. He had the look of a perfectly tuned athlete, and beyond that, was obviously a runner. He had those strong, lean legs, and tiny ankles, coupled with a strong, flat chest.
Perhaps, even while wearing shorts, a sweater, and my glasses, coupled with wild hair (that humidity has made it go uber-curly!) and no make-up, being a gringo made me bold. I decided to stare him down. Surely he had to have noticed me, it was impossible not too. But he seemed a bit aloof. Once I was certain I caught his eye but reconsidered. When the performers made their "gringita" remarks, he didn´t look my way. An amazing feat, since everyone was looking at me!
He turned and walked away from the crowd, climbing the stairs to a second floor apartment directly opposite the square, above a pharmacy. A surge of disappointment for this intruiging boy I would never meet. Pretending not to look, I could clearly see him move around the apartment, which was brilliantly lit with large windows. A moment later, he reappeared to join the crowd. Excellent.
I ignored him for the rest of the perfornance. Having plied the crowd with ample laughs and witty commentary, the actors were ready to rake in the dough. Instead of passing a hat or something as they do in Canada, they brought out wafers, like strawberry kit-kats, packaged in red shiny plastic, and began selling. I couldn´t see what other people were buying them for. "Gringita?" He came right up to me and I couldn´t refuse again. I gave him my last, very crinkled, american dollar.
Excited, he held it high, proclaiming, "The gringita gave me a dollar!" Pressing it repeatedly to his lips, he shouted something about using it to buy Marijuana, which the crowd, myself included, found halarious.
Soon it was all over, and the crowd, which I counted to be about 130 people (which, in a town of 24 000 at 10:30 at night is quite a feat- have you ever seen half as many people in a crowd in Peterborough, a town 3 times the size?) quickly melted into the night, in clumps of twos, threes,and fives.
Suddenly I realized I had won, it had worked. In the ten seconds where everyone was disappearing, mystery boy had not. He was merely loitering on the sidewalk, pretending not to have anywhere to go. His apartment was 20 feet away. The old dude, with no front teeth and a face like shoe leather, who had been talking to me during the entire show, suddenly grew annoying. He was pestering me, asking me something about where I was going to sleep? This was my window, and I wasn´t going to lose it. Firmly, I said "No, gracias" twice, and turned away. I wanted to be nice, but honestly, he was creeping me out.
He was standing on the sidewalk, body angled slightly away. I walked up to him. " Hola." I know I´m bold, but I just do what I want. "Hola", he replied. Damn my terrible spanish. Impossible to come up with something slick to say. I smiled. Introduced myself.
If I don´t know the words in Spanish, I´ll just say it in English. Its better than saying nothing. "Do you want to go for a walk?" and gestured down the street. "si". We tried to make small talk but he knows about as much english as i know spanish, which makes for a really quiet walk. We reached the first intersection.
"Which way do you want to go?"
"I don´t know, it´s your city."
Half spanish-english followed. I found out he´s 25, goes to school in Quito. Taking something engineering to do with oil, or petroleum. A very good career choice as most of the ecuadorian amazon is flush with oil. A very sensitive topic; the government feels it has the right to drill for oil in the middle of the land the Shuar, Waorani, Kitchua, and Aschuar have been living on for hundreds, maybe thousands, of years. Most of the time, the native communities don´t even get enough compensation to build a proper school for their children. But that´s neither here nor there. I haven´t the linguistic capability at this point to get into and eco-political debate, and I am walking a quiet street with the hottest ecuadorian I´ve ever seen.
We come full circle to the park beside my hotel, which overlooks the city square. It may not have warm showers, but the view is unparalled. We sit on a bench to talk, I learn he grew up here in Puyo, and has two brothers, one older, one younger. I don´t ask about his mom, and he doesn´t mention her. Only his dad lives here. He asks me if I like dogs, he has a golden retriever. There´s a lot of "no enteindo" on my part, and laughing when we don´t know how to say what we want. I feel perfectly comfortable, as if the language barrier is a minor problem only. I can read his eyes perfectly.
I take his hand and we continue talking, sitting close. Something about him is very polite, gentlemannly. I must have given him an unconscious signal, as he leans in to kiss me. Under the rusty orange lights of the park, bored police officers and teenagers wandering the streets, a stray dog curled up a few feet away.
He stops and asks me if it is okay. What a sweetie. I smile and say yes. Its divine. We stop occasionally, to talk, and smile, before we once again find ourselves lost in the kiss.
I become wary about the PDA, and we leave the park, walking hand in hand, stopping to kiss in corners. We go back to my hotel, and I make him wait while I tidy my messy hovel.
A Claire Danes movie is on Fox, and we snuggle to watch. Its here where my writing skills shall become glossy, and for the first time in this epic story, I shall omit details. Suffice it to say that it was amazing although we didn´t go "all the way" for reasons I shall not elaborate on. And he´s even better looking without clothes.
Its getting late. He shyly asks me if he can stay, sleep here with me. Its not for convenience; his apartment is less than a minute away. He is very distinctly not a Western boy. He´s sweet and caring, and as much as my jaded soul will allow me to admit, I liked it. He must go back to Quito, to school, a manana, but wants to see me next weekend.
Sleep is a long time coming.
Its 630 when he wakes, and me in turn. He presses something into my hand. His white shell necklace. He wants me to have it. Brushing aside my curls, he fastens it around my neck.
Perhaps my 12 year old, romantic soul has reawakened. I swear I´m never taking it off.