So while we have some time in Otavalo Ed and I have signed up with the local Spanish School. It´s four hours a day, one on one in a room with your very own spanish teacher. In addition the school offered to place us with a local family for 12 bucks a day for accomodation, 3 meals and of course much practise in terms of using our Espanol - a scary but practical idea.
Morning one and we have to start class at 8.30 in the morning, this is never a good time for me at the best of times and this was definately not a good time. We have been staying in a cold, damp hotel notable only for the fact that is had the worlds smallest double bed. When we hopped up to go to the school I was already a bleary eyed mess.
Dumping our packs at the school office we are assigned our teachers, Eds is a stern looking `cool guy` with spiffy clothes and a bit of attitude. I am grateful to have the diminutive, smiley Juan who takes me to our classroom which looks just like the kind of rooms they have in films for interogation - four walls and a small table smack bang in the middle with a chair either side. The lessons begin from scratch, it is exciting but incredibly challenging as smiley Juan speaks only a few words on English and I have had about 3 hours sleep. We spend the next four hours miming, pointing, drawing on pieces of paper and when I've had enough I just nod and say 'si', 'si', 'si' when I actually have no idea whatsoever.
Once school is over we are met by Marco who is to be our host dad person... he has brought along his two cute little sons Carlos and Marcocita (little Marco). Before I can draw breath Marco whips up my bag and spirits us both down to his car. As we drive along Ed asks Marco if he speaks english - 'no' he shouts 'nada!'. We burn through the streets in his brand new Toyota family wagon and then pull up in front of the biggest and pinkest house I have ever seen. Deep rose pink, two stories high with a huge flight of white marble steps up to the front door, arched windows and cupolas seem to be attached on every corner. Yolanda meets us at the top of the stairs, she is quite glamorous and babbles on in Spanish to me us she leads us inside. Inside there is polished wood floors, a bar, a huge dining room, a salon topped off with a huge wooden spiral staircase. Below the staircase is a huge glass pond filled with koi carp and above is a massive glass chandelier. I start to think I´m hallucinating when the little boys take us to our room with its massive double bed, tv and all the mod cons. Wow - the homestay thing is a winner.
The boys are 8 and 11 years old and are complete darlings. They have trotted around with us dutifully carrying my things, helping out and giggling whenever I try and speak spanish. Marco is the youngest and a typical youngest child, always making a mess, always getting in trouble and getting bossed around by his big brother. They are great fun and I think to them we are giant toys to play with - I am just a mostly mute toy.
Last night we took the boys to the local 'carousel' think funny little rides and games outside and of course on giant, decrepid ferris wheel being captained by a drunken local. Of course before I knew it, I was on the bloody thing screaming my head off much to the amusement of the boys. They are obviously into value for money here because for 5o cents I think we were left on the thing for about 20 minutes......I keep shooting the guy in charge evil looks to let us down- it didn´t work. If anything he seemed to keep speeding it up - I prayed I wasn´t going to come to grief ¡n my first week away in such a stupid way and kept my eyes squeezed shut.
After an amazing delicious dinner we I fell into bed by 9pm delirious with so much new stuff going into my brain.