words :: Feet Banks
photos :: wikicommons
En el lago Titicaca, una vieja se hizo caca…y la vieja eres…tú!
This incredible little poem is what kids in Guatemala sing/say when they are trying to select one single person or thing out of a group—much like the way North American kids use “eeny, meeny, miney, mo…”
The real fun, however, is in the translation, which basically breaks down as:
“In the lake Titicaca, there’s a crazy old lady who took a shit. And that shit is….you!”
Genius, it appears, knows no age constraints.
For the uninformed, Lake Titicaca is a massive freshwater lake in the Andes mountains. At 3,812 m (12,507 ft) elevation and straddling the border between Peru and Bolivia, the highest navigable lake in the world is certainly not remote in reputation. I distinctly recall being smugly pumped to turn in a handwritten report on this infamously named lake to my grade 5 teacher, feeling as if i were getting away with something…What child doesn’t love potty-mouth words delivered with a straight face in an academic setting (see/hear also: the French word for “seal”…la phoque.)
If only I’d known the Guatemalan kids were so far ahead of us simpletons up in the great white north. But such is the joy of meeting people from other parts of the world—we can adopt their most juvenile of cultural practices; it helps keep us young and awestruck.
In any case, I still harbour a healthy desire to see, paddle, and fish Lake Titicaca (anyone been there? Hit me up with tips and beta!) And while that old handwritten grade 5 report is long gone, it wouldn’t have been impressive enough to share here anyhow, having mostly been copied/re-written text from the World Book Encyclopedia anyhow. (Shout out to everyone who grew up with just a small-town library, pre-Internet, pre-Wikipedia).
Instead, and to keep the Lago Titicaca stoke going, check out this kickass video of Jacques Cousteau (and his team on the Calypso) diving the lake to check out a billion wild creepy underwater toads. And let this one act as the gateway drug to the soothing radness of Cousteau’s cinematic library—a perfect combo of knowledge, adventure, and tiny Euro swimwear. (And “you’re welcome” to anyone who didn’t realize the Calypso films inspired Wes Anderson’s The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou.)
Here’s another interesting Titicaca vid (archeology!!) that really showcases the totora-reed boats the indigenous Uru peoples still build and use. I’m fuckin’ going, that’s it.
It’s not common Pie Quarterly practice to write about places I haven’t actually visited, but that Guatemalan poem put a lot of wind in my Titicaca sails. Lago Titicaca is on the dream destination list, for now.
And for the record, the unofficial “Official Pie” of Peru is Pie de Limón, a modified Lemon Meringue that uses lime juice and a crushed-biscuit, soft-butter crust. Sign me up!