As stated in the last update, the whole Semana Santa week is kind of a hazed blur. This is not because of alcohol or any substance abuse, but because we were just so relaxed in a kind of positive “echar la hueva” mode (can’t be arsed). I will try to summarise what we did in bullet points:
– I remember watching a suspenseful thriller with Hugh Jackson called Prisoners which was good. I think that was Tuesday. But because it didn’t finish in time for the family to go on a walk to the cemetery, we missed a very dark humoured prank of seeing Santiago climb into a tomb. This upset Pam’s granny no end, a very direct and conservative lady who let him know that he should never, ever do that, ever.
– On one of the mornings (I thnk it was Wednesday), I helped grandpa deshell the tarmarind. My early rise mode meant I was up before the others, but I wasn’t forced to labour (though the dictator Tia Sofie likes to think I was). It’s a delightfully sticky task, which can be irritating if the shell breaks into little pieces and sticks to the tamarind, as it needs to be picked off. It’s a tropical fruit, very brown and not very pleasing to the eye, but the sharp sweetness is very good way of making you feel alert in the morning. Pamela came, not to help mind, but to eat a few. I then began to eat a few. As did grandad. I don’t know how much more juice granny would have had if we hadn’t have scoffed so much. The juice is a great way to start the day, as the sharpness tingles straight to your spine, brilliant for me as I had given up coffee for lent and I was looking for healthy substitute. Tamarindo seems to be it.
– In the many hours that I was sat with grandad (who I should refer to as Papi Milo; neither of the grandparents like being called grandma or grandad) on the wooden chairs in front of the house, we chatted about how times had changed, how much the town had grown, the loss of some of the conservative values of the town (which struck me because the town seemed very conservative still), where he was born, the safety back then, though there was plenty of battles and family warfare in the town, over land and sex scandals (everyone loves the latter). Like in other towns, I’d heard of “ley del pueblo” (law of the town, but it’s better translated as law of the people). This means that people take law into their own hands, the police brush it under the carpet, it stays hush hush but everyone knows who did what, as (they believe) it’s for the good of the town. Pamela had told me that eight years ago or so, there had been a mara gang forming, practicing extortion, robbing houses and people, and generally making a nuisance of themselves. I’m not know how many there were or how old they were, but one night there were several gunshots coming from the area they hung around, then the next day they weren’t there. As simple as that. The police turned a blind eye, washed their hands of it, a nuisance dissolved, less work for them, and conveniently no bodies showed up. The families of the gang members seemed not to have kicked up a fuss about it (one member seemed to be a distant relative of Pamela), maybe due to shame, so the chaos frizzled out. Having worked with street kids, I found it all very horrific. When I asked Papi Milo, he looked at me, smiled his forever welcoming smile, as well having full knowledge of my work with humanities, and gruffly said, “The town doesn’t do human rights.” The dark secret that everybody knows about remains just that. Think the Wicker Man. Lives sacrificed for the peace of the town. How different this culture is.
– Another thing that many people talk of is ghosts. There seems to be there have been many sightings and hauntings in town. I used to think it as nonsense. However, I too have experienced a couple of supernatural goings on, which left me a little spooked. The first time I was here (I’m pretty sure I told you in my blog), while everyone was out and
I was reading a book in the bedroom, I saw a strange black shadow at the door. It stayed perfectly still. I thought it was just the trees swaying in a reflection, but this wasn’t moving. I ignored it and put it down to my playful imagination, so I turned back to my book. When I turned back again 5 seconds later it had gone and I felt a huge shiver go through my body and all my hair stand up on end.
This time around, I was a woken about 3 in the morning to the lights in the living room being switched on and off. I found it weird and went to investigate. No one was around, not a sound or peak, and the lights were left on. The next morning I asked the family if there was a problem with the electrics. They said no. I told them what happened. Some people had spooked faces. Others just shrugged it off. I like to believe there’s a reason for everything. I believe Pam’s granny is behind it and giggles about it while she plays with the lights. Bless her.
To be continued . . . .