Saturday, November 9, 2013

Talking to Strangers

Boy on bus: It’s too hot…(unintelligible)
Me: Mande? (Ecuadorian/Colombian Spanish slang meaning what)
Him: It’s too hot to wear uniforms and carry guns.
Me: Yes..(he points out the window, where a guard is stationed). 
Him: Are you from here?
Me: No, the US.
Him: You said “Mande.”
Me: I lived in Ecuador.
Him: What’s the difference between there and here?
Me: I don’t know, I’ve only been here for a day, on a bus…
Him: Is your family worried about you being in Colombia? This area is dangerous…(points at the jungle outside the window)
Me: Well, yes, a little.
Him: There are landmines in the jungle over there. Lots of guerillas.
Me: Oh?
Him: Do you like war?
Me: What? No…
Him: Why not?
Me: Because I don’t like violence. It’s stupid.
Him: Why is it stupid?
Me: Because it accomplishes nothing. Why, do you like war?
Him: Yes. Everything you see here is from war. War brings money.
Me: (Incredulous look.) That’s crazy. War brings death.
Him: Do you think I’m ugly, or just crazy?
Me: Just crazy. Maybe.


  1. This is poignant --- and reminds me a bit of "The Things They Carried". Have you read that? Oh man. The opening chapter…sometimes I mentally drift off and end up thinking about it...

  2. I haven't read it yet! But yes, a bit of a different perspective.