Number of People with Nothing Better to Do

Saturday, October 17, 2009


Saturday our Water and Sanitation group went to the Catholic University in Lima to look at some different development-type stuff like water pumps, renewable sources of energy, improved kitchens, etc. Some of the folks went down to the coast to get some seafood but I had to get back to the house for a Pollada. A Pollada is a fund raiser, a big chicken blowout. The event was thrown to raise money for a group of graduating nursing students to go on their graduation trip up to the sierra. In attendance, about 22 nursing students, 50 chickens and 10 cajas of beer. Cost 7 soles (<$3) + beer for 4 soles (<$2) each. The chicken was some of the best tasting chicken I’ve ever had (never mind that there wasn’t a ton of meat on them).

The party started off kind of slow with the men sitting around in one room eating chicken and drinking beer and the women in the kitchen cooking the chicken and doing whatever else it is that women do when they get together. They started cooking the chicken on the grill but ran out of charcoal so they improvised with a makeshift wood-burning stove made out of bricks set on the concrete floor of the courtyard just outside the door to the bathroom. I’m not sure where they got the wood but it looked like someone chopped up their bed frame and brought it by for the occasion.

I hung out with the men in living room but they started to get pretty drunk and they were yelling at the women to put on shitty American 80s music (esta música es “Sooper”) instead the festive salsa music that was on (which the guys considered to be “basura”) We drank al estilo Peruano which means someone opens a beer, they pour themselves a glass, hand the bottle to the person next to them, drink the beer out of the glass, shake the foam and backwash out of it, and hand the glass to person holding the beer bottle. That guy gives the glass another shake (optional), pours himself a beer, hands off the bottle, drinks the beer out of the glass, and so on around the circle. The glass doesn’t get washed. Ever. Sometimes it gets broken when they drop it on the living room floor while shaking the shit out of it, but it’s bad form to go to the sink and rinse it out. After it gets passed around the circle a few times, the glass is pretty sticky and, well, pretty damn gross.

Turns out the women weren’t just sitting around cooking and gossiping, they were passing around the bottle too. I stepped over the cooking operation to hit the head and afterward passed the bottle around with them for a bit. Turns out I broke beer drinking with women protocol by not holding onto the beer bottle and serving them (but how was this gringo to know?). The Pollada really sounded like the beginning of a really good/bad porno: 22 two nursing students, ten cases of beer and 50 chickens. But in reality it wasn’t as hot as I had imagined. The Pollada turned into a dance party but I was getting kind of tipsy and didn’t want to embarrass myself with bad gringo dancing so I went to bed. The Pollada ended about 2am?

I’m not sure how much money they raised but most of the chicken hearts and livers wound up in the soup I had for lunch and dinner the next day.

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