Friday, August 5, 2011

"Summer" camp

I swear one day I'll write a "when the First World isn't" post, explaining why the difference in the worlds is really categorical and useful for economic textbooks, rather than any individual's daily life or experience. Upon learning of our plans for Ecuador, one (very successful, highly-educated, intelligent) friend asked, "Do they have flush toilets?" So perhaps an easy way to understand the worlds is to say, yes they have very nice flush toilets here (many even wash your bum with a warm, soothing...oops, too far). But the difference is that there are many people here who do not have them. So one of the measures to measure your country's world level is flush toilets per capita, but the lack of flush toilets affects me personally as much here as it does back in the States; that is to say, not at all. Now, I said all that to say this: They have "summer camps" here just like we have at home!

Actually they have summer camps here better than they have at home. Besides being remarkably cheap, the options are stupefying. For 90 minutes a day, every weekday, for seven weeks, each kid gets to burn off some energy and, not insignificantly, parents get a little of their own time. (Though we miss them horribly during these times away. Horribly. It's almost painful. Horrible. Yes, another Pilsner, por favor.) And it costs about $35 each for the "summer" (it's actually winter down here, but you can't tell.)

Here is by no means a exhaustive list of the sports/activities available:
Chess, weightlifting, boxing, martial arts, bailoterapia (dance workout), figure (roller) skating, basketball, archery, tennis, swimming, gymnastics, BMX, ice cream eating (kidding, of course...that's just automatic for every child after every activity every single day).

Duncan started with the obvious route, soccer (fútbol here, of course). Whatever doubts we had about Duncan having Wu Hyperactive Affective (WHA?) disorder were dispelled as he rolled, flopped, skipped, motorboat lipped, and in all other ways failed to pay attention to one moment of actual gameplay. He managed to touch the ball a surprising number of times by simply being where the ball was randomly kicked (then howling as if he were the victim of a driveby soccer assault).

Not exactly a form to strike fear in the heart of a goalie
We did a brief stint in gymnastics, then, but he surprised us again by finding a world even deeper in his own subconscious. You could almost see him watching the movie playing out on his eyeballs ("Wow this is so real! It's like that lady is actually talking to me. Why does she look so angry?). So with a little gentle parental persuasion (no movies for a week, and we won't love you anymore, or something like that), he went back to fútbol and has even managed to hit the ball on purpose (take that, you...ball). He has even developed a more masculine style that the Catholics here aren't so suspicious of.

While yelling "arrrggghhh"

No problem--just fall more slowly and you'll be fine

 Piper, on the other hand, has been a regular monkey with her first choice to take climbing. While Duncan has the speed in the next generation (Piper looks like Chubby Checker when she runs), Piper has always had the grace and fearlessness. Fearlessness is key at this climbing wall, which is about 50 feet high (and she hits the top), and offers to break your fall with a parking lot paved in gravelly blacktop (which can be quite forgiving on a hot day).

We'd like to thank Monodedo for their generous $10,000 sponsorship of this page

The national climbing competition is this weekend at this wall, but Piper's coach thinks she can compete for our province (Azuay) in the next meet in November in Quito. You may notice that there is little competition in the age-7 category.

Am I in the right class?
So we have high hopes for sponsorship and a summit of Fitz Roy. And for Duncan we hope to keep him happily on the other side of the fence.

They kick balls at me. Can I come out? I wanna come out!


  1. This is by our house. Will you guys be home schooling or are they going to a local school?

  2. The kids will be back at Santana again. They started there in November last year.

  3. My son starts there tomorrow. I am so nervous for him, his spanish isn't very good.


  4. Nothing like deep water to learn swimming. It won't be easy, but it will be worth it.