Monday, May 11, 2015

The Miracle of Small Things -- #AtoZChallenge Giveaway Results!

Sorry for the delay, y'all... You'd think after 3 -- or is it 4? -- years of A-to-Z-ing I'd have learned not to underestimate the post-April burnout, but every year it's the same. Come May, I'm a useless blogger. (More than usual, I mean.)

I did, finally, get around to collecting the names of those who guessed right first in the Papiamentu guessing game, and writing those names on itty bitty pieces of paper...

The nine participating names, the twelve itty bitty pieces of paper
(Debbie, Bob, and Sabina had two correct guesses each, so they participated twice)

and putting those in a hat...

A beach hat -- of course ;)

and blindly selecting three, which means

(drumroll, please)

we have the winners!!!

Congratulations Bob, Susan, and the blogger at Pempi's Palace! I'll drop by your blogs to let you know, and we can communicate (email me at guilie (dot) quietlaughter (at) gmail (dot) com, or via Facebook) to figure out how to get your copy of The Miracle of Small Things to you. The book won't be released until this summer, July probably, so we have time to iron out details.

Thanks to everyone that joined in... I hope you had fun with Papiamentu's sometimes-misleading vocabulary; I certainly have, during my twelve years on this island ;)

Thursday, April 30, 2015

X + Y + Z -- Three (Last) Quirks of #Curaçao (#AtoZChallenge 2015)


In Curaçao, crossings are one of the many quirks used to trap us foreigners into hilarious clueless entertainment for locals.

Roundabout in Otrobanda
There's your normal, everyday, run-of-the-mill roundabout or traffic circle. We all know the rules for that: if you're in the circle, you have preference. If you're outside the circle, you yield.

And then there's the plénchi di tráfiko.

Part of the reason this post is so late is because I couldn't
get a good image of a plénchi di tráfiko. Sorry. But this sign
is just before one of the island's most well-transited plénchi di tráfiko:
the one on the way to Banda Abou and Westpunt and the most gorgeous
beaches you've seen in your life.
To me, it looks for all the world like a roundabout -- sure, a bit irregular, like not the perfect circle roundabouts tend to be, but a roundabout nonetheless. A circular intersection. And so, as I enter into one, I yield.

And get honked all the way to Banda Abou.

In a plénchi di tráfiko it's traffic from the right that has preference. So as I enter I have preference, but then I must yield to the next intersecting road -- because it's coming from my right.

(It took me a good two years to learn that, because there are no signs.)

Yu di Kòrsou
Literally: young (as in "child") of Curaçao

Yu di Kòrsou, shortened to YDK, has become ubiquitous.
"United we stand," reads the caption.
Yu di Kòrsou is what Curaçao natives call themselves -- not Curaçaoans, not Antilleans. But one can become a yu di Kòrsou, too, and not necessarily by a change in citizenship. When someone displays behavior that's unique to Curaçao -- using, for instance, the expressions in this A-to-Z series -- or when someone has lived in Curaçao for a long time, or even if they haven't but exhibit obvious and extreme love for the island and its food and customs... Yep. All of these are qualifications for being a yu di Kòrsou.

But the opposite is also true. If you're critical of the lifestyle, if you don't like Curaçao food, if you're no fan of Carnaval or Sèu or the tumba festival or if you don't like tambú, or if you just think differently -- what some would call out of the box -- then it doesn't matter if you were born in Curaçao and have lived all your life here. You'll still find yourself seldom being referred to as a yu di Kòrsou. Especially if you're white. And if your skin is dark, then you'll more often hear the pariah term of black macamba (wigger, but in reverse).

And last but certainly not least:

English: hangover

Perhaps the most important addition to your vocabulary if you ever visit Curaçao ;)

This is it, the end of the #AtoZChallenge. I've had a blast researching for these posts, and I hope you've enjoyed them -- and, besides learning some funky expressions, gained a bit of insight to this cultural melting-pot of an island I've chosen to call home. It's been a pleasure to share Curaçao with you.

Te aki ratu, dushi hende!

Okay, we'll use that phrase as the last bonus question of the series. No hints... well, just one. In English, the equivalent is often paired with alligator :)

(Find updates on the giveaway here, and come back on May 8th for the announcement of the three winners of THE MIRACLE OF SMALL THINGS, a collection of short stories set in Curaçao.)

Monday, April 27, 2015

Weg'i Domino & Wara Wara -- Quirks of #Curaçao (#AtoZChallenge 2015)

The sharp crack of tiles against wood -- domino tiles, that is -- is a trademark sound of Curaçao streets. At every bus stop and taxi depot, at every snék (when the bachata music isn't too loud--and sometimes even then). Crack! Crack! Crack-CRACK-crack! They follow one another at impossible speed, as if the game is about who slaps them down faster.

And, in a way, I suppose it is.

One of these taxi drivers at the Otrobanda depot gave me
a curt nod as I held up my camera in a non-verbal question.
I snapped away for a good three minutes, but none of them ever looked
my way again.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Viña! (but not Del Mar) -- Quirks of Language in #Curaçao (#AtoZChallenge 2015)

Literally: vine

Yep. As in the vine that gives vineyards their name. In context, however, it does not mean vine -- it means wine.

Unda Punda -- Quirks of Language in #Curaçao (#AtoZChallenge 2015)

I'm running behind, I know... It's been a hectic month. Besides the A-to-Z, my publisher and I are busy wrapping up THE MIRACLE OF SMALL THINGS for the NYC launch in September -- final edits and tweaks, illustrations (my idea, not so great in retrospect), planning, drumming up support from official sources... Anyway, more on all that later. The point is I apologize for the lack of consistency in these posts. And my unending gratitude to all you who keep coming back in spite of it :)

"Hey, Cor. Unda Punda?"
"Right here, swa!"

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