Pour and Pass

July 29, 2007 at 7:33 pm | Posted in deep (shallow) thoughts, family, food, friends, party, pictures | 1 Comment

Yesterday we celebrated Peru’s independence day. The forthcoming thoughts are coming from a very sleepy and hungover cabeza, but here goes anyway: leading up to independence day we’ve been learning about the history of Peru, including the arrival of the Spanish conquistadores, the decimation of the indigenous population, and the consequential fight for independence. From what I’ve gathered the indigenous population was very quickly wiped out on the coast but people, customs, and traditions still remain up in the sierra. The indigenous and particularly Incan spirit is still very much alive in Peru and permeates many areas of life, which makes you stop to think just what exactly you are celebrating when independence day rolls around. Regardless, the people of this country are truly proud of their past, both Incan and Spanish aspects, and that makes it so fulfilling for someone like me to come visit or live here and experience all the living history.

So I’m thinking over all this stuff amidst my lessons on verb conjugation in the subjunctive and am realizing just how little I know about my own country in the years before the Brits arrived. I know there is information out there, and shame on me for never taking classes about America before it became America, but there really is no presence of Indian influence in our day to day lives. Let me qualify that statement by pointing out that I grew up and attended school on the east coast. Anyways, the Incan presence here is one of my favorite things about Peru, and I hope to find more native American influences when I get back to life in the states; maybe it is one of those things that you don’t notice unless you are looking for it, but over the course of my education sometimes it felt like life began in 1492.

I’ve spent the majority of today kicking back and catching some zzzz’s. Last night a bunch of people from the group came over to my place to pregame before heading out to a party in my neighborhood. For all the un-hip out there (Mom and Dad), ‘pregame’ means to buy beers or wine or booze from a store and drink in someone’s house or apartment before going out to the main event. It is a good way to spend time with friends before getting to a more crowded place, and is also a good way to save money because drinks are inevitably going to be more expensive when you get to where you are going. A healthy crowd of Americans and Peruvians showed and we had a great time. I made a CD for my brother of pure eep-opp (hip hop) and we threw that on and got our dance on to some American hip hop and then to some Peruvian tunes. Before I knew it, it was 1am and people were heading home, so we never actually made it to the party (this is a not infrequent consequence of pregaming). I think I headed to sleep around 2:30 and my brothers crawled back home at 6am after going up to the party for a few hours. They are troopers. All three of us spent a large portion of today sleeping.

Drinking in Peru is a little different than in the states. Here like there, you buy a bunch of beers, but there is usually only one open at a time. One person takes the bottle and a glass, pours himself a serving, passes the bottle to the next drinker, downs his beer, then passes the glass to the next drinker. He, in turn, fills the glass, passes the bottle, drinks and passes the glass. So the bottle and glass go around and around until the bottle is empty at which point they open a new one. For some of us, it was weird to get used to sharing a cup with 2-20 people, but I personally think there are a lot more things that are harder to get used to (chicken feet in my soup). For the most part, men pass the bottle, when the bottle gets around to a woman, instead of giving her the bottle, the man next to her will pour her a glass, give her the glass, she drinks, hands back the glass, and then he serves himself and continues the chain. So people get drunk a lot slower, but they also just continue drinking well into the night/morning. I haven’t seen a drinking game or any behavior I’d associate with binge drinking since I arrived. However, when we trainees go out as a group, or last night for example when everyone came over, we stick to our good old fashioned tried and true form of one bottle per person. I think it is pretty funny for a Peruvian person to see someone sipping on an entire bottle of beer, particularly a woman, because they are used to drinking only a half-glass or a glass at a time. For this reason usually when I’m around Peruvian friends or family I try to stick to the Peruvian way of doing things, but if I go out to a bar or a party outside of my neighborhood with my Peace Corps friends I’ll usually drink my own personal beer.

I think the highlight of last night was me dancing around with a beer bottle on my head. This was my cousin Martin’s idea, and not mine. I started off with a glass, was doing really well, then got cocky and it fell and broke. Party foul. I moved on to a beer bottle and had better luck with that, but I don’t think I’ll be making that a regular part of my party tricks repertoire.

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  1. OH Danielle, I just love your blog… I feel like I am living there with you..just no chicken feet in my soup and a few other minor things I guess… well it’s thursday here and in 2 days you will know where you are going and what you will be doing, I can not wait to hear… OH and by the way – a FEW years ago,, actually many, I called my sister robin and asked her about pregaming…did my daughter have an alcohol problem or … She KNEW WHAT IT WAS and explained the normalcy to me…so there ya go, sweet niece mocking your mom, when she is cooler than you think!!

    Not much new here..just major heat wave…last weekend I attended the first of 2 showers for Betsy and delivered the first of 2 gifts from you and Rachael.. last week you gave her a Kitchenaid Hand mixer…and this Saturday at shower number 2 ..you will be giving.. a Cuisinart mini processor… (Just thought you wanted to be reminded of what you gave!!)

    Your mom and I gave a Full big Cuisinart and a 12 cup grinder and coffee maker… ALL things she registered for at William Sonoma… (Just stop by the closest William Sonoma if you’re dying to see what these gifts look like)… Ok enuf silly humor.

    tis hot hot hot here…Rachael still living in NYC at my friend Ilene’s — going crazy looking for apt… You will remember she has an internship (no pay)…and I tell her what your mom told me… summer interning is a drag..cause there are so many there that there is nothing but grunt work to do… and she is also looking for real work..She works nights and weekends at City Stage (in Central Park)..making $10/hr for 7 hour shift + about $90 a night in tips..not bad not bad… but she works hard…hard…It’s all good

    David just played in Empire State Games as goalie and won the gold medal.. I will copy a clip from the opposing teams’ home newspspaper here for you..:

    Hudson Valley settles for silver in open men’s soccer July 29 by Rod Boone
    The Hudson Valley open men’s soccer team ran into a stone wall today. It’s name is David McKeon.

    The Adirondack goalie was superb, turning back eight shots to help lift his team to a 2-0 win over Hudson Valley in the gold-medal game at Rye Brook Athletic Field. Three saves came from point-blank shots.

    “He was on today and he made it tough for us,” HV coach Stu Robinson said. “All throughout the tournament, we converted those opportunities. And that changes the tenor of the game. And today, we weren’t as fortunate.”

    hehe!! So, you can balance a bottle on your head…david has turned into a stone wall!

    I will write more another day… waiting to see where you are going!!! I love you … miss you….love reading your blog!! looking at pics..
    xoxoxo Aunt Phyllis


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