Friday, July 3, 2009

Ollantay Raymi might be nonsense.

Wow. The time flies by! Sorry it´s been so long. I forgot to bring my solstice story so I will have to wait on that.

My favorite thing that happened recently was that on Monday there was a festival called Ollantay Raymi which is about the namesake of the town and the history of the founding of the town. The guys at the tourist office asked me to take a look at the translation that they had and to translate a couple of words. Well, they had thrown it into Babelfish - about 12 pages of it and of course it came back complete nonsense. I spent about 8 hours translating it again. Originally the story is told in Quechua and then translated into Spanish, but the translation even into Spanish was terrible and many parts didn´t make any sense and there were lots of words that don´t even exist in Spanish. So when I would get to one of these parts, I would have to go find someone who speaks Quechua - luckily not hard to do in this town and ask them to translate into Spanish for me so that I could translate into English. Anyway, a long and hard task that took many hours. Then the night before the festival, they decided that instead of having the whole play translated, we should just make a simple summary of each scene so I then went and did that. Then the morning of the play (maybe drama is a better word - over 450 people involved) they suddenly wanted me translating all of the welcoming speeches from the mayor and such on the fly in front of thousands of people. Translating speeches on the fly is one of the hardest things to do. Especially if it´s people you´ve never met before so because it is harder to understand. And they are speaking in a way that is more formal and not the normal sort of words or tenses that I am used to. Also they were speaking half in Quechua which is just a language that I don´t speak. Some phrases here and there, but not like that, not translating. It´s a good thing I don´t get too nervous in front of crowds normally because I was shaking and couldn´t believe what I had suddenly gotten into. But I just kind of made it up, figuring that if I couldn´t understand it, certainly no one else could either. Thanks to all my thinking on my feet training with film and video and meetings and events. To have an intimate understanding that no one knows there is a problem unless you tell them. So there I was, involved in a ceremony that has been going on in Ollantaytambo on June 29th, every year since 1780. It was harrowing, but it was fun and I was glad, after it was all over, to get to be there. Also it makes me giggle that there is a whole patch of tourists in the world that were given complete nonsense as translation.

So that was my most entertaining part of the week. Other than that, life is good. I can´t believe how rapidly approaches my time to leave here. It gives me some panic sometimes that I haven´t done enough or something, but then I get glad that I will get to see the people I miss again. And to remember that I didn´t have any plans coming in, so there is nothing that didn´t get done. I will laugh at myself if after all I spend 8 months in Peru and spend all of it between Cusco and Machu Picchu which may very well happen. But it is a life that I enjoy and people I enjoy and a place in the world that is unlike anywhere I´ve ever been before. No matter how shitty you start feeling or out of sorts with the world, you can just so sit anywhere and look at the mountains and put your feelers down into the ground and wham! there you are, all connected again and feeling at peace. I am profoundly grateful to have found this place.

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