Los Borrachos

Having attended two Ecuadorian weddings, Christmas celebrations, New Year‰’s celebrations‰, and, well, simply having lived in Ecuador for over three months‰ I have seen my fair share of borrachos (drunks). Some, as you can imagine, have been thoroughly entertaining. The groom at the first wedding I went to busted out some phenomenal dance moves, for example. However, some have been thoroughly‰ – well, I‰’ll let you fill in the blank. I have seen a variety of drunken men using the sidewalk as their pillow. I have laughed (partially out of feeling incredibly awkward, but mostly out of a lack of capability to truly understand slurred and/or mumbled Spanish) at my drunken relatives telling me that I shouldn‰’t go home with anyone I don‰’t know or that I am an accepted part of the family. I have sneaked away from dancing with drunken cowboys, using the “‰I’m sorry, I really have to rest‰” excuse. For the most part, I have attempted to laugh off the interactions that I‰’ve had with slurring, stumbling Ecuadorians (and perhaps even enjoyed a few: dancing next to that groom made my silly dance moves look like something from a Shakira video by comparison‰, okay, maybe that good). But in truth, I was fairly uncomfortable and slightly annoyed, and then this happened, and ‰’slightly‰’ fell out of my vocabulary: The other night, I awoke around midnight to the sound of dogs barking. Although not unusual, I was still bothered, as I would put sleep in my top-five most enjoyed activities (okay, that‰’s not true, but I do treasure my sleep). I heard a car, which I assumed was attempting to leave my driveway after having dropped off someone, and I figured that soon the barking would cease and I could return to my slumber. That‰’s when music began blasting. Over the cries of ‰pobrecito, mi corazon, I could make out the sounds of obviously drunk men, clapping along to the monotonous beat and slurring about something or other. For the next thirty minutes, my agitated self and I had to fight the urge to open my bedroom door and mutter something about respect or about how much I like my sleep‰ or at least ask them to turn the terrible music down. The knowledge that getting out of my bed would mean facing the cold night kept me tucked under my wool blankets, growing more and more annoyed. Finally, I heard one of the men say, ‰”I‰’ll see you tomorrow.‰” ‰”Where?‰” was the response. “I don‰’t know, man, but I‰’ll see you in the chuchaqui (hangover). Wherever we are, we‰’ll both be there.‰” I have to admit, I chuckled at this exchange.