Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Ketchup III

6/19

* Crossed river to Bribri reservation in big wooden canoes with motors on the back, and a black plastic duct-tape-esque canopy for the guy steering

* Very bumpy ride in bus. Bus had sticker on window: "Cree usted en Alberto? Yo tampoco" (Do you believe in Alberto? Me neither)...I don't know if it was political, but it was funny.

* We passed the nicest restaurant (perhaps the only restaurant) on the reservation...it's built in a tree. Partly in a tree and partly on the side of the hill next to the road.

* We went on "a short hike" to the holy river and I swam in my clothes.

* We met this ancient man named Enrique who is the keeper of the river, pretty much. He lives in this amazing house with no walls, just walls up to...about waist height, and then a wonderful thatched roof....it's all held together with rope. He has a tilapia pond, with a water supply that comes through pipes of split palm or bamboo trunks.

* We tried the fruit that is on the outside of cocoa beans.

* We went to have lunch at the "cultural house"...lunch was cooked by the granddaughter of the last king of Talamanca...so, the princess. She owns the tree restaurant.

* I bought a beautiful water gourd, that is actually a cocoa nut of some sort hollowed out.

* We took part in a ceremony to welcome and purify us. They had us breathe vapors from a pot (smelled like a tea and was pretty relaxing...the same way that too much chamomile is relaxing) and then wiped us gently with a singed leaf.

* We tried to shoot traditional arrows...not fletched and as long as my armspan, almost.

* On the busride back, we had a tire blow out. I had a coke in a glass bottle for less than a dollar.

* Mentioned to Jeremy that it would be pretty funny if the Bribri were just making it all up, and we were totally serious about all of it. I don't actually think they were, but if I were them, I might be tempted. Stupid whities.

* Had a discussion about who's a "Good Indian". I told everyone that I was sick of stupid racism and putting Indigenous cultures above others categorically. Sick of hypocrisy. Said that I didn't know much about my tribe, but what my father had taught me about being an Indian was that you try to be kind and compassionate, and give people slack, and don't judge them, and accept them. And that really is, as far as I'm concerned, what it's all about. There wasn't really a good refutation of my calling out of specific people... I did mildly call a specific person out, but Doug deflected that. But that's ok, because the question ("So is the best way to educate people to intimidate them and act like they're stupid if they don't know as much as you?") was the important part, not the answer. Hooray for pointed, rhetorical questions. Charlene was a lovely person afterwards, though. Doug was an asshole afterwards, but honestly. It's kind of what I've come to expect.

As of July 3, he hasn't made much effort to understand me. He's told me he doesn't wanna hear about my issues with other people, and says I'm too negative. But he doesn't see the times I am kind to them, go out of my way for them, and so on...he doesn't see any of it, partly because he doesn't look for it. And I think part of the reason he doesn't look for it is because he doesn't expect it to be there. In any case, there isn't a single person here I haven't made an effort with, and repeated those efforts. In fact, I'm so nice here that most people wouldn't recognize me. Doug makes basically no effort with me, and he's not....fair or helpful. Erin, it just occurred to me that you may read this, and I hope that you can either forget it or not take it personally...because I don't want to delete it, but I also don't want to hurt or offend you.

In any case. It's past my bedtime here. More ketchup at some point.

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