Friday, January 18, 2019

La Skina

yes we have no bananas

Near my house is a tienda (small grocery store) which I pass by once a week or so. It's called La Skina. I assume it's a translation of Greek η σκηνή, ee skeenee. It's where we get the word scene. In Greek, skēnē/σκηνη is not a uniquely theatrical term. It essentailly means tent; what the Romans and the King James Bible would also call a tabernacle, or a booth, a plain little shelter. I imagine that itinerant Greek theater troupes would set up a skene, a tent to house their stuff; have one side painted, and would act in front of that painted side. Anyway I'm also assuming that the owner of La Skina knows at least this much Greek. All that being so, he took the Spanish word 'tienda,' which primarily means 'tent,' and translated it into the Greek word for tent, skini. Because skini is feminine in Greek, it's adjusted to suit a Spanish sensibility: La Skina.
I keep walking by without ever going in to confirm all this. Hoping that writing it down spurs me to do so.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019


Plenty to eat at the reception
Spectacular day on Dec 22 at the wedding of our, what, godchildren? In Ecuador the church requires padrinos (godparents) for the wedding couple, and we were it for a young man and fiancee whom we've known for a couple of years. Had a great nuptial Mass at La Iglesia de la Virgen del Milagro here in Cuenca. The padrinos accompany the couple through the whole Mass, and once the couple is married, the padrinos put a rope yoke of sorts over their heads. Right behind the church is a small lot with a garden and tiny rough-lumber house, maybe 200sf that a Cañari abuela (grandmother, but also an honorific for any older woman) lives in. Cuenca has an unusually high proportion of indigenous people. Folks like this woman manage to live in a big modern city while residing in a patch of countryside. On any given street you can't see where this could be happening only a few yards away.
Then off to the reception with lots of food, dancing, modest alcohol consumption, and visiting with family members. Many of the older women were traditionally turned out in embroidered blouses, velvet skirts, braids, and Panama hats. All the younger folks wore dresses and suits. I couldn't ID the liquor, it was dark red and reminded me of sweet Vermouth. It was served in 1/2 oz. or so plastic cups which I imagine reduces the chance of anyone getting drunk.
Right before the meal was served we each got a small plastic bag. This was so we could take home what we couldn't eat of the pile of food that we were served: rice, potatoes, grilled pork, salad.
As is typical for us in social situations here, everyone was gracious and interested. Janet's long blond hair always draws attention, and a couple of boys had their pictures taken with her. We are very lucky to always be so well-received.