On Saturday we went to the Otavalo market with Jocelyn and Jeff. I looooove Otavalo. It is heaven for anyone who likes handicrafts. This time I bought a little ceramic chicken whistle. You pour water into its head and when you blow through the tail hole it makes a bird/like sound. It doesn't really sound like a chicken but I couldn't resist the pink with red and white polka dots (or the 75 cent price). There was also a man who makes beautiful marionetter puppets. They are completely made by hand, including little suits, leather shoes, and felt hats, and he only charges about $10 for them! I wanted to buy one but by the time I decided which one to get he had left for the day. Next time...
My friends brought me this collection of two novels by Nancy Mitford on Saturday and I already finished The Pursuit of Love. I agree with the Amazon reviews of these novels that while not the finest literatures, they are hilarious!!! Anyone looking for some light and fun reading should check out Nancy Mitford. Especially anyone interested in the British bourgeosie and all of its ridiculousness should definitely check them out. It should be noted, that there are a few things that I believe are not actually part of the satire but dated and actually offensive (although I could be wrong). This book was originally published in 1945 and I find it interesting that one of the main things I found offensive was something that occurs here in Quito today. Fanny, the narrator of the first novel, is rather dark-skinned and so is her husband, Alfred. Hence, their children are also dark and they refer to them as being black (in a way they would probably consider sweet and endearing but is actually quite sickening). Here, in Ecuador if someone is dark-skinned (but not actually of African descent) or looks Asian, they will often be dubbed with the nicknames "Negro" of "Chino." Jordan says that socially he sometimes feels like we are in the 1950s here, and this is a good example. I do recommend the book (especially to Liz, if you are reading this).
I am still planning a post on buying "real" art and also an update on my book, which is moving forward rather slowly...
Any New Yorker reader´s out there? If so, you may have read the article about Fanesca in the September food issue. The author of the article is a bit obsessed with this Ecuadorian soup that is only served around la Semana Santa (around Easter) and I finally got to try it today. I still haven´t decided if I love it, but it was definitely yummy and definitely different. The ingredients vary from place to place, but it is always heavy on the beans (lots of chochos-little white beans high in calcium) and contains goodies like fried plantains, little cheese empanadas, and hard-boiled egg. It is almost more of a stew than a soup and I was stuffed after finishing my bowl. I´m looking forward to trying it at a couple of other places to compare.
Speaking of food, check out my new Decole magnets from Suzy (the bottom row, although the top row are also from Suzy):
Thanks Suzy! I love them!!! Toy food...it´s the best!
I miss NY attitude. It may sound strange, but I do. A couple of weeks ago we met a gringa from NY in a bar. We compared where we lived before moving to Quito. (She lived in the East Village.) When I told her we lived in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn, she squished up her nose and stared at me like she couldn't believe what I was saying. "But only married people with kids live in Brooklyn. Except for Williamsburg, of course." She was wrong, but she said it with such attitude and in such condescending tone that I wanted to grab her and give her a big wet kiss on the lips. It was beautiful.
I´m sitting in the internet cafe bouncing to "Jenny from the Block." They always play funny music here.
I bought this beautiful print from Ms. Mati and she sent me a whole pile of other goodies: a pink lantern and cards of her artwork, her fiance´s and Isabel Roxas. Thanks Mati! It was an excellent package! I started a new inspiration board yesterday with some of your work.
I sent her a little thank you package with some goodies and this little card I made (see right). Sending mail is as fun as receiving it. (I´m open for new swaps if anyone is interested.)
One of my favorite parts of living in the Andes is the large indigenous population here. It´s hard to witness the discrimination (e.g. getting pulled over by police and forced to pay large fines for no other reason than they were "driving while indigenous") but I love learning about the clothing, dancing, language (Quichua), food, etc. And overall, Ecuadorians take great pride in their indigenous populations and history comparing themselves to places like the US and the Dominican Republic where a huge percentage of the indigenous groups were killed by European settlers. (This happened here too, but a smaller percentage was murdered.)
I´m hoping to visit Bolivia at some point. I´ve heard various statistics but somewhere between 65 and 80% of the population there is indigenous. And they even have a new indigenous president (Bush is not a fan).
I was reminded of how lucky I am to be experiencing such interesting cultures while reading this recent report from the World Bank. If you´re interested in the social conditions of indigenous groups in Latin America it´s worth checking out. You can even read it in Quichua (or kich'e as the report spells it).
I had a nice VDay. Jordan and I aren't really into celebrating it, but we did use the day as an excuse to go to San Telmo, one of our favorite restaurants in Quito. We drank some delicious red wine (sooo much better than the cheap stuff we usually buy from the Megamaxi) and ate yummy food.
My friend Jac sent out this cute valentine's day drawing:
Thanks Jac! And Ana sent me this darling bookmark and a set of her postcards. Yippeee!!! Muchas Gracias Ana!!!
Behind the bookmark you can see some of my sketches for the protagonist of a little book I'm working on...more on that later.
Oh, and for anyone who was interested in the Julie Arkell book, Jen from Earth Angels Toys has some available.