Monday, September 22, 2014

Piñatas One and Two

And just like that, the slump goes away.

I think it has something to do with piñatas one and two. 

Images courtesy Florent Brosollet (my French little brother)
As you're probably aware, the piñata is a sure sign in Latin America that fun is afoot. In case #1, we were invited to visit the home of our maid, María, for her son's sixth birthday. In her home in the barrio of Pantenal, far from the paved roads of Granada, she's known as Doña Dolores.

To get there we took a taxi outside the town and asked to get dropped off at the place in Pantanal where they make concrete bricks. In case you're lost, you tell the driver that it's also right next door to where they slaughter pigs. We found this out when we got out of the taxi as six hefty beasts, spray painted with red numbers, were also arriving by horse-drawn cart. Doña Dolores' home is right across the street from these two sentinels of industry, thus easy enough for a taxi driver to find. 

María tells me she didn't need to buy her stretch of land; she is esteemed enough in this barrio that when she told her neighbors she needed a place, they set her up there for free -- across from the noise of the brick-making and the squeals of pigs ready for slaughter -- but in any case, free land. Since moving there not long ago, she's been busy planting fruit and almond trees around the house -- which for now consists of a few boards, plastic campaign signs filling in the gaps, a dirt floor and a pile of concrete blocks signaling the hope of a more sturdy house to come. Two tiny pups, one with a bum foot, are tied on tiny trees outside, not far from tiny ducklings kept in a pen near the water trough. Everything here points to what could be, but isn't quite yet.

In lieu of a cake -- which of course was to my daughter's dismay -- María made a steaming vat of menudo -- this one a combination of cabbage, carrots, tiny hot dogs and chicken. Since her trees were yet too small for holding the piñata, all of us put our heads together to fashion a solution for hanging it -- a thick bamboo pole, combined with the taller, thinner piece of bamboo that was previously holding the tv antenna in place.

We played soccer outside in the dirt street with her son's new ball, told stories and laughed, and laughed some more when we got to see the neighborhood kids dancing for the right to hit the piñata. This was our first time seeing this -- the requirement that kids dance in a fashion something like twerking (as is the Nica fashion, we now know) in order to get to play.

That was remedy one.


Remedy two was another piñata just yesterday, at the home of the rebelangel's new buddy from soccer, Ms. A. She's fast-talking, turning 13, plays soccer like a champ, and spends most of her time taking care of her younger siblings, as is also the fashion in Nicaragua. While her home has a concrete floor, it too is shored up in places by cardboard and old signs. There are tidy beds and there is running water. To get to her house you must leave the cobbled-paved street where we live, turn right at the store where they sell knockoff Adidas shoes, walk a hundred or so yards toward Lago Nicaragua, cross a creek of soapy dish water and small boulders and then turn left at the end of the line. Even on the paved streets, these are the sort of directions you get. House numbers simply don't exist.

Like the party before it, A's mom was all too gracious in handing me the best cup in the house from which to drink Coca Cola, and bustled around finding me the best chair. At this party too we laughed at little girls doing the Nica twerk dance...the rebelangel remarking how she was surprised that little kids figured it out so innately. Me too.

The point here is, we have now been the guests of honor at two piñata parties inside of a week. Before this i've been spending time gazing at my poor, sad, lonely navel and writing about how things get so hard, but then i go home and i don't do my own dishes nor worry about whether i have hot water to do said dishes nor fret whether i'll have to spend time doing my laundry today.

Instead, every time i get home from the hot, hot heat of the paved street in front of my house, i strip off my clothes, put on one of my six swimsuits, and dive into my very own pool. Bam. Piñata.


Jack said...

"Hot damn, livin' in a movie!" Savor this time, both of you, for when you're much, much older, this is one of the things you'll be sooooo thankful that you did; much of the rest will look mundane and ordinary in comparison. Courage looks good on you...

Galen said...

Being home with my babe has given me time to follow your adventures and I am hangin on every word. Yay for Pinatas!

Nico said...

Thanks for the ups, peeps! I can't wait to see that baby, G!!!

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