Tag Archives: Family

Cockfights, Twin STDS, And More!

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I’m about half way through One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Sometimes it gets confusing remembering the characters’ names, because most of them are almost the same, since the family keeps recycling the same names from one generation to the next. One reviewer on Goodreads said that it annoyed them so much that they ripped out the one of the first pages that contained the family tree and used it as a bookmark.

The chapter I just finished was about the identical twins Jose Arcadio Segundo (JAS) and Aureliano Segundo (AS). Nobody could tell them apart, not even their family members. They were troublemakers at school, constantly confusing teachers by pretending to be each other. As children their habits were the same, they had the same dreams, woke up at the same time and even had bathroom urges at the same time. They used to pretend to be one and other so often that they likely confused themselves, forgot who’s who, and permanently switched identities.

Over time they began to show differences – AS grew to a towering height and JAS was smaller and bonier. JAS once witnessed an execution via firing squad and was so revolted by the act of violence that he ended up becoming a priest… and a professional gambler that placed bets on cockfights.

JAS then started seeing a woman that AS also liked. So when JAS was not with that woman, AS would pretend to be JAS and see that woman behind JAS’s back. And then the woman broke up with JAS because she got an STD – whether the STD was from AS or JAS is unknown and all three of them had to take elaborate steps to get cured. AS told the woman the truth about how he pretended to be his brother so that he could sleep with her, and somehow she forgave him (Her name was Petra Cotes or PC for short) and they continued to see each other for a long time, even after AS got married and had children with a different woman.

Lady Luck also had a major hard on for AS, for AS was considered to be extremely lucky in regards to his livestock. Quote from the book: “His mares would bear triplets, his hens laid twice a day, and his hogs fattened with such speed that no one could explain such disorderly fecundity except through the use of black magic.” Some believed that his luck was due to his relationship with PC. The more he fucked her, the more animals he wound up with.

Meanwhile JAS the cockfighting priest made it his life mission to find a treasure that was reportedly hidden somewhere at the bottom of a sea. He even borrowed money from his brother to fund the expedition and even though it was a complete failure, he did manage to bring back French courtesans that were highly skilled in the art of love. His foreign companions decided to stick around and provided tough competition to the local prostitutes.

So yeah, that’s just a fraction of the novel that I’m currently reading. Inspiring isn’t it?

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The Shower

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He’s showering after a traumatic day. His father was shot in a bakery. It was a robbery. Dad tried to be a hero. He drove his dad to the hospital. Ambulance was taking forever. The doctors said his dad will need surgery and that it would be a few hours before he’d be allowed to see his dad. His girlfriend suggested he go home and change out of his blood stained clothes. She went home with him. He got into the shower. That’s where he is now, wondering why today happened. The temperature of the water is just perfect, but his life was far from perfect even before his dad was shot, and now his life is so far from perfection that perfection seems like a dot from where he’s standing.

He hears the bathroom door open. Looks like his girlfriend is about the join him. It feels wrong that he’s about to get intimate with his girlfriend while his dad is at the hospital. But what else can he do? It’s in the doctors’ hands now. Or God’s if you ask his grandmother. The glass shower door is foggy so he can’t see her yet. He waits for her to slide open the shower door and join him. But then he hears a sound that he already heard earlier that day – a gunshot. And then he feels what his father felt earlier that day – the feeling of a bullet inside him. He falls, blood mixing with water.

The shower door slides open and a masked man looks down on him and says, “Like father, like son.”

Mountain Girls That Trek To School Every Day

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Meet Radhika and Yashoda – two sisters who live in a remote village in the Himalayas. It takes them 2-3 hours to get to school depending on the weather. That might not sound like a big deal, lots of people all over the world have long commutes. Well, Radhika and Yashoda don’t have access to any kind of convenient transportation for most of their journey. To get an education, these two teenagers must literally trek to school. They must trek through a forest where wild animals can appear out of nowhere, especially in the morning. They once saw a wild bear and have been scared ever since.

After two hours of trekking, they have to cross a fast moving river. There’s no bridge (it was destroyed due to floods a few years ago) so they have to get into a small metal trolley suspended by a cable. Quite daunting as there’s gushing water below and the trolley must be operated manually by pulling a rope. It takes a lot of strength, especially when it rains because when the rope is wet it’s harder to pull. People have fallen into this river. People have lost fingers by accidentally touching the overhead cable (and the trolley has many sharp edges).

Not only do these brave girls worry about their safety, they also worry about getting their clothes dirty. Their hands get dirty enough from opering the trolley but they don’t want their nice white trousers to get stained. Oh but before they even get to the river, they have to trek for two hours as I mentioned, and the footpath (where they trek) is filled with loose stones. They have to be careful not to fall and hurt their hands, because they won’t be able to operate the trolley or be able to write properly in school.

Yashoda wants to become a police officer. Radhika wants to be a teacher and teach all the kids in her village. They don’t want to get married in their teens like their mother and aunts did, and do housework all their lives. That’s why they trek to school every day. After they cross the river, they wait for a taxi to take them to school. And they don’t have to wait till the next day to do this all over again – they have to go through the same perilous journey while going home from school. Their parents worry about their daughters’ safety every single day and are not at peace until their daughters return home in the evening.

On the upside the mountain scenery is breathtakingly beautiful. During the monsoons they see many tiny waterfalls while traversing through the forest. In the winter when the leaves are falling from trees, it looks like nature has laid out a red carpet to welcome somebody important (Those are Yashoda’s words). And the girls can even drink water that’s made its way down from the mountains – water that is actually pure and fresh unlike the crap bottled water companies sell.

They’ve asked their father to rent a room closer to school but he tells them he can’t afford it. Some teachers scold the girls for being late and tell them that they should live closer to the school if they are serious about their studies. But those teachers are seriously blind if they can’t see how dedicated these girls are. Not many kids would be able to do what Radhika and Yashoda are doing.

The Things We Do For Love

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How do you feel about wrestling a dangerous animal to impress a potential life partner? That’s what you have to do if you’re a man seeking a wife in Madagascar. These men wrestle wild bulls to impress future wives so that babies can be made. God forbid if your family name is eliminated because you suck at bull wrestling.

The rules are simple. The wrestling goes on until the bull gets tired or until the man dies or gets injured. Ideally you want to tire out the bull, that really gets the ladies soaking wet. I’d definitely get killed trying to win over a future wife in this manner. I can’t even last 15 seconds on a mechanical bull.

Thankfully this isn’t the norm for men all over Madagascar. If it were, I’m sure the country’s population would be in steep decline, because I’m betting most men cannot merely tire out a bull. This tradition mainly takes place in some villages, where bull wrestling is the only form of entertainment that brings together large groups of people. When there are no bars or clubs to meet single people, the only sensible option is to risk your life in order to shed the ‘forever alone’ label.

Take a look at the video that inspired this blog post. At the end of the video, one guy feels good about doing pretty well in his bull wrestling match. But when he tries talking to a girl, she pushes him away and tells him to leave her alone. Damn, that’s rough.

A Mother That Cares

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I just read a Reddit (a website where people can discuss any topic) post about an American mother requesting the Australia subreddit (subreddit means a section of Reddit devoted to a specific topic) to make sure her daughter is safe because her daughter will be visiting Australia in the near future. Usually people who frequent a country related subreddit live in that country itself. Basically, a concerned mother reached out to a random group of strangers over the Internet and asked them very nicely to look after her daughter. If this mother’s level of concern had to be measured on a scale from 1 to 10, I think she’d get no less than 15. And that’s good! Her daughter is lucky to have a mother that loves her so much.

A few of the responses to her request were funny, like this one: “Don’t worry. Apart from the spiders, snakes, drop bears, crocodiles, sharks, bunyips, jellyfish, dingos, stinging trees, thylacines and backpacker murderers she’s got nothing to worry about.”

But a lot of the responses were encouraging and contained helpful safety tips. Aside from the genuine concern for her daughter’s well being, there was another part of this post that caught my eye. She referred to her daughter’s future vacation as a “trip of a lifetime” because it took several years for her daughter to save up enough money for this trip. As someone who travels a few times a year, this reminds me not to take travelling for granted.