Friday, February 10, 2012

I'm dreaming Ecuadorian Christmas

People keep asking how we're adjusting being back home, acknowledging the considerable differences of life in Ecuador to that in Colorado without actually knowing, or at least being able to appreciate, what those differences probably are. Our Ecuadorian friends have wondered the same thing, and since many are not as familiar with the American Way as, well, Americans, I'll do these next posts for them in hopes of also shining a brighter light on the obvious for the locals.

The first full day we spent in Denver after landing saw ten inches of snow. And us and our little chicks without a stitch of winter clothing. So after some quick digging in the grandparents basement and some bits of finish from Target (happy wife), we chucked the kids out in it like fish under the limit. So for those Ecuadorian friends without any experience, here's a short photo primer on what one does when it's too white to stay inside…

Nothing will make an old man's back seize up in paroxysmic spasms than a foot of fresh, heavy snow. But give a man a snowblower, and watch him skip meals as he happily blows out all the neighbors in a half-mile radius. Sure the stock market's down, he's upside down on his house, and work stinks and barely pays the bills, but what of those things when he can sweep away winter's worst like Paul Bunyon felling a forest. What hath God wrought, indeed.

A child's first instinct, on the other hand, is less waging war and more waging peace. This is called "making snow angels," and when done properly leaves a silhouette precisely like those on the fronts of hymnals and entrances to FAO Schwartz stores at Christmastime.

We do feed them
No, these children haven't just had their tongues pulled off the metal trash can lid; this is a tradition as old as children, snow, and tongues themselves—catching snow on your tongue.

This is something you do when you want to feel like a you're an explorer in the olden days. It's called snowshoeing, and on this packed trail the big paddles on your feet—"snowshoes"—are as necessary as a canoe on a frozen lake. But if you do manage to find deep, undisturbed powder you can imagine that you're walking on clouds with special "cloud shoes". That's how they walk on clouds in cartoons usually.

We don't actually live in the town of Vail. No real people do—just lift operators and people in animal costumes. So going into Vail is like going on vacation. Our little town just down the road from Vail, called Minturn, struggles to provide water to its citizens. Vail pays people lots of money to make melting sculptures out of frozen water.

These are from a series of snow polar bear sculptures in Vail Village. We actually know the artist, Karl Krueger. He's world famous in Vail. He's really an architect, but he does this stuff to annoy his wife. We all like him better when he does bears, though, so you can help us all out by buying a commemorative miniature of one of the bears that won't even melt. Check this out. Call him and tell him he should give you a special deal because you saw it here. It'll work; he's an artist, not a businessman.

Contact the Artist:
Karl Krueger

Ha ha!
And this is, of course, ice skating. It was created by frustrated parents so they could point and laugh at the children who so often cause them grief and make them look foolish. It works by reducing the stable surface area of the bottom of your foot by 98% with a slim metal blade that also directs your body's inertia forward or backward on the ice with no way to stop it. You'd love it. It's great.

Ecuador, producer of the best cocoa in the world, can take credit for children in cold climates doing anything at all outside in the cold. Because this is the only reason that they do.

Cocoa face
But adjust to the cold and snow? It seems some of our bodies haven't quite.

No comments:

Post a Comment