Friday, September 4, 2009

El Cristal

I finally got to El Cristal Monday night after 5 + hours of bus travel from Picalqui. It was dark by the time I arrived and my host family lives a good 30-45 minutes from the main and only road in town. (This is such a sleepy little town that the dogs take up residence in the potholes on this road.) The primary method of travel is on foot and they live up on a hill so you follow a path lined with grazing cows and pigs for a bit then hike up a little trail to get to their house.


The family is Ertufol (59), Blanca (49), Jonatan (14) their son, and their grandson Luis-Alexis (7). They have 5 chickens, 3 dogs, 2 pigs, a cat, and a horse. It´s pretty cute to see Alexi go storm down the hill barefoot, only to return moments later bareback on the horse singing at the top of his lungs.

The only water source is in the wash basin outside and electricity is intermittent. There are allegedly 100 families in the community, but as Stuart says, ¨you´d be hard pressed to find them all.¨ It´s a subtropical climate, the hills are very steep and green and homes are spread out all over amongst them. Being subtropical they have some serious blood drawing mosquitoes that I am feeling the affects of. Deet seems to be only a minimal deterrent.

I´ve gotten to harvest lots of beans, yucca, potatoes, and peas. It´s likely I´ll get to teach english at the primary school while I´m here too. Life is definitely much slower which can make me a bit antsy at times, but it´s good.

As for the cuisine in this area...it´s interesting. This community and the people in it are for the most part very poor. My host does a great job giving me mounds of food, which I feel would be rude to turn away. Most of it good and very palatable, but I´d be lying if I didn´t admit to choking some of it down. When they are really excited about certain novelty foods, I´m even able to do it with a smile.

I came back to Picalqui to do some hiking with the other volunteers and will head back on Monday to El Cristal until the 23rd of September so I may be offline for a bit.

6 comments:

Scuba Shell said...

I love it! Just caught up on your blog...I'm so proud and impressed by you! Navigating the towns and finding you way...you're awesome!

Great detail too...I feel like I'm there too...or should I say WISH!

Miss you and glad to hear you are doing well!

Kyla said...

Glad to see you are safe and sound. I just caught up with your adventure today. I love that all your families have boys. I am hoping that mine conditioned you well. Take care and enjoy the simple life back in El Cristal. They may be on to something there. :)

Stacey said...

Have you thrown up yet? That's pretty cool. Do you like harvesting the plants? Alexis sounds like he's a funny boy. Put a lock on your bag! ~Devin

I hope that you've been having a good time. ~DJ


I love you and I hope you have a great trip. ~Maddy

Watch out for those mesquitos! Malaria doesn't seem like a lot of fun; we've had our own brand of "fun" this last week. What's the most interesting thing you've eaten, besides the guinea pig? Life at a slower pace? That's sounds interesting! lol

Lucky Update! Doing well. Spike and him are friends now. I was lying on the couch with Lucky as a lap dog and Spike hopped up and laid down next to him and still on top of me. I was a little nervous, but they just nestled. Too bad I had to pee a few minutes later!

Take care,

~Stacey

angela said...

I'm glad you're settling into Intag okay! Have you started teaching English yet? How is it going? Have you come up with any fun teaching tricks?

I hope things are going well for you there-although you are clearly having some bad luck with the cameras. I'm sorry you got ripped off-that's never fun.

I'm glad I can hear about your adventures through your blog! Keep us all posted with your adventures. :)

A-train said...

Thanks everyone for the comments, I love the feed back and just gettign to hear from you all. So far it�s been great fun. I head back to El Cristal later today and am excited to try and get in with the school to try my hand at teaching a little english. After today I�ll post again after I return to civilization.

A-train said...

Thanks for the Lucky update Sis, I´m glad to her that he and Spike are settling in.