Tuesday, December 30, 2008

One morning in Guayaquil

Another hot night, I couldn't sleep on my own will. I needed to zone out after listening to the neighbors celebrate, just to celebrate that it was Wednesday night. I don't have much to celebrate, except just the reason that I exist, waiting on the platform of life to take the train to a station where better things have been promised as result of a higher education. The morning in Guayaquil is not like in many places. Today the garbage truck passes by, and picks up whatever the neighbors throw out. The newspaper kid is yelling out "El Univeeeeeeeeeerso" for those who don't get it delivered at home. Another fellow passes by, yelling "naranjiiiiiiiiiillas", which are Ecuadorean oranges, smaller than the average Florida nectarine. On a adult size tricycle, a handicap male sells lottery tickets, "compre el guachito de la suerte", buy the lucky ticket. On foot, a guy is carrying mops and brooms - "escooooooobas y trapeadores". The clouds take the entire morning to clear out of the skies as it to kid around and pretend that it may rain. On the background, I listen to the diesel sounds emitted from the trucks and buses heading to the centro. People hop on and off the "colectivo". There are fewer roosters than in the past. The sounds of nature have been replaced by the mechanical churning of pistons and clutches. The stray dogs disappeared with the dinosaurs. Only rats, roaches, mosquitoes and flies have survived the hard environment. Beautiful, exotic birds are only found now in photographs and posters. Live music has been replaced by DJs who play 3 chords on the turntable and hypnotize the masses. The night shift security guard with his sawed-off shotgun and machete, "el guardian", of the block would be relieved by his "compadre". Mysteriously, some nights there would be break-ins and "el guardian" wouldn't know anything. It is as if he fell asleep or let his compadre take care of business, since they knew who's home or not. I sit in the living room, listen to the radio, I light up a Marlboro cigarette and the ashtray catches the remnants of the habit. The dark bitter coffee washes the morbid thoughts that float in my mind. The cloud of smoke lingers like a perverse thought as the "empleada" is sweeping the front sidewalk. Her young hips sway side to side as she pushes the broom. I wonder if she is still a virgin. She must be from "los campos" and probably fourteen years old. Strong like an ox, she could beat me up if provoked. As a kid I always wanted to "have" an empleada, but it was considered taboo for someone of my economic status. I would watch the empleada get dressed for her date and see her take the same "colectivo" that I would take to go to the "centro". I would see her all smiles when she returns from her date.