Taricaya, like any other place has rules to follow or a dogma to live by. Though at Taricaya the rules must be different than normal places (either that or they are just more leniant with punishment), because I believe I have broken all of the Seven Deadly Sins. If I do not write another blog post, the Gods have smoted me. Perdoname!
1. Gluttony. I crave foods all the time! I miss food from home like she was my other sister (no offense Allison, I still love you more). I´ve literally had dreams about muffins and pizza! Here we have a very good, but very basic diet. We normally have some sort of egg dish for breakfast, some sort of rice dish for lunch, and a pasta for dinner. It´s totally fine, but I´m a true American so I crave more. Vicki and I went to the market the otherday and splurged on some AMAZING chocolate to fulfill some of our needs.
2. Pride. Being from America, and being a gringa, everyone seems to have a preconceived notion of me. Normally I take jokes really well, but after constant America-bashing, I start getting a little defensive! Haha! A guy from Holland thought all of the West coast was still cowboys and indians and I had a hard time convincing him otherwise. He also didn´t believe that I do NOT go to McDonalds all the time and that I do NOT own a gun. Vicki and I have at least proved that some Americans are NOT morbidly obese, and we´re trying really hard not to come across as idiots. Of course, me being me, I have done some pretty idiotic things that I don´t need to elaborate on! But while I have my moments, we´re trying really hard to represent YOU well! I promise!
Pride Example 2. We have a few Peruvian staff members at Taricaya and every other time I try to speak Spanish with them, they laugh at me and mock my gringa accent. It´s very frustrating because I want to learn but it can be discouraging here. After the last time Gigo laughed at me, I had slowed down on my Spanish a little. Until this morning. Gigo was trying to speak to me in English and I had an epiphany! His accent was so thick, I could barely understand him. But he kept on speaking. I decided I´m just going to have to swallow my pride and learn to laugh with them!
3. Greed. They say scratching mosquito bites makes them worse in the end and they can even scar permanently. Well too late.... I have no self control and go for the immediate satisfaction. It just feels soooooo good to scratch! If I returned looking like some odd sort of leopard, I will take full responsibility. In the mean time, I must keep in mind the chant: mind over matter, mind over matter, mind over matter.
4. Envy. Everyone is in awe of those few lucky souls whose blood does not call out to the mosquitos like a beacon. Unfortunately, I am one of the envious, not one of the lucky. Though we are all lucky here at Taricaya because Malaria hasn´t been seen in these parts. I still take my antibiotics just in case (and I think they give me more vivid dreams) but I feel better knowing that death isn´t flying by my face every 5 seconds.
5. Lust. Though I have not been lustful myself, I have witnessed it (kind of). Apparently, gringas have the reputations of being easy. Lucky me. Why couldn´t I have been magically born tan with black hair?!? When I walk through the streets in Puerto I can feel eyes on me and hear the whispers ¨gringa¨. I might as well just wear a pineapple on my head or a gorilla suit. The other day, Vicki and I had a couple of hours to kill in the main plaza before the boat left to return to Taricaya. This one guy sat across from us and literally just watched us the whole time. We were a little disconcerted but it´s all good because everyone has been very respectful and friendly to our faces. Their social rules on staring must just be a little accepting. All in all, we feel very safe. I am grateful.
Also, the latin American culture is just more emotional than North Americans I believe. Girls hold hands down the street, people kiss when they great each other, and if you can find a latino song without the word "corazon" (heart) in it, I will give you a present. A large present. One employee at Taricaya named Raul calls me Corazon or Corazonsita because it´s hard for him to say Heather and he thought that my name meant Heart. But it´s endearing and everyone hear is like family.
Another observation (it´s kind of random but I´m just going to put it under the lust section), is that many men here walk around with their T-shirts all rolled up just above their bellies. Like girl shirts from the 90s. Unfortunately, the majority of them drink too much beer or something because it does not attract me at all and it just suprises me that a man would be inclined to do this.
6. Wrath. Lets just say maybe amatures should not be given machetes....
7. Monkey. Taricaya is working really hard with Spider monkeys at the moment. They have been hunted to extinction in this area, so we have a group of monkeys that we are trying to prepare to release them back into the jungle. The ultimate goal is that they will repopulate the area. Unfortunately, spider monkeys can only give birth once every three years, so it´s going be a long process. Right now, we have an enclosure for the older spider monkeys about 2 km away from the lodge. Volunteers go out there at least twice a day to feed them. But now, we are sending extra volunteers out with Raul (the monkey man) and we sit there for two hours at a time and observe the monkeys and their behaviour. Though Raul says the monkeys will be ready in 2 months time, everybody says that 4 months is a more realistic goal.
....Oh wait... the Seventh Sin is Sloth..... Oohhhh..... Welll I´ve definitley had my share of lazy times. Last weekend Vicki and I stayed at Taricaya and were reclusive in our bungalow almost the entire time! We only came out for meals and once to dance in the rain. Vicki and I are having a blast and I´m so glad she´s here with me- she´s my better half that tries to keep me away from these deadly sins!