L’Observateur : Peteca Tech Edition

First of all, it’s “peteca” not “patequé” (idiota). No matter, after two weeks of solid rain, the games are back on. Yesterday, we upgraded the court lines from chalk to twine and had a go. I went down 7-4 to Francesco in a sweaty Sunday afternoon match under a blazing hot sun. After going up 2-0, I lost my concentration and fatigue set in. He’ll never beat me again, I swear by it. The fact that he was playing in only a pair of whitey tighties didn’t bode well from the outset... my memory, singed. ||||| The day before, I built my first rock wall – after clearing a mess of brush and deep-rooted trees. I built it up and tore it down at least five times. It’s like doing a puzzle, except there’s no guarantee from the outset that the pieces will fit together – and to get more pieces that might, you have carry them at least twenty back-wrenching feet to find out. Five-and-a-half hours in the sun wearing a wool jumpsuit, my desk job hands bruised and cut (even through work gloves), I finished. Now it’s done, the plants are planted, and it looks nice. ||||| Jade grows like crazy here in spite of the dry climate. I planted three small sprigs five years ago and now the place is crawling with the stuff. The garden is only this year equipped with herbs: basil, rosemary, and mint. ||||| The alamo (poplar) trees are growing at an incredible rate and can now be touched from the roof. The pirul tree is another fast-grower and is called a “Brazil pepper tree” in English. The Incas used the berries to make drinks and the branches can be used in a ceremonial Temazcal steam bath. I like to do the “touch and smell” with it, like you would with rosemary. ||||| There is talk of building a sweat lodge to the east in Potrero and/or going camping in the desert to the west. ||||| My “American” neighbor up the hill is putting a wireless antenna on top of his house so everyone in the Swiss barrio can pick up the signal. At present, I can pick it up only on my patio, which is tons better than having to schlep into town to check my email. ||||| My closest Swiss neighbor, Max Roth, is here for the first time in four years. He’s having a photo show at the gallery – which is run by my German neighbors Corrina and Charlie High Belt – opening on Thursday, and titled “Desierto en Hielo.” It’s digital photos of the Swiss Alps printed on some kind of special paper, effected, then set between panes of bulletproof glass. ||||| This week, I agreed in principle to buy a painting from Cora. I’m not sure how I’m going to pay for it, but I should get a discount, since she used cut up pieces of old Austin Chronicles (using my last redesign there) in the work. I recognized that distressed Officina Serif from a mile away – like an old girlfriend at a house party. ||||| Favorite new Spanish expression/word of the week: ni modo. Whatever. No mode. ||||| Sorry about the “all one paragraph” thing. Not sure what’s up with Blogger.

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