Thursday, 13 February 2014

Vagina watching, you say?

Foreign language errors. We all make 'em. I still am making them! It's all a part of learning the lingo. Recently, I just cannot get it into my head to ask correctly for a pound of chicken (in weight). Instead, I ask for a book of chicken. (WHAT?!) 

Pound - libra 
Book - libro

As I very rapidly walk away from the chicken seller upon buying my book of chicken, I mean, pound of chicken, one memory keeps coming back; a particular ocassion that continues to be at the top of my list of language errors. Pretty embarassing, but here it is.

(This conversation was in Spanish, but I will type it in English).

I was talking to the guy who part runs the organisation in Ecuador who I first volunteered here with. A friendly, casual chat, about what I was planning to do with the rest of my time in Ecuador, whilst here in 2012.

Me: "I'm going to go to Puerto Lopez to go vagina watching."

Him: "To do what?"

Me: "Vagina watching."

Him: *Very blank expression.*

Me: "I have read and heard about the great vagina watching in Puerto Lopez and its almost the end of the season so I really want to get there in time to see the last of the vaginas. *Hand action of a vagina*

Him: Still nothing. "I dont know."

I was just as confused as he was. Why could he not understand that I was going to Puerto Lopez to watch the vaginas? That's just the thing to do in Puerto Lopez during vagina season. It's in all the guide books, the internet, YouTube. Why did a native Ecuadorian not understand? Had he never gone vagina watching himself, in Puerto Lopez?


That would be why..

"Vagina" and "whale" are pronounced very similarly, but, of course, they are two very different words.

Vagina in Spanish is pronounced bahina. Whale, in Spanish, is pronounced bajena.

They say that you often need to make the mistake in order to learn from it. Boy, did I learn from this one! It wasnt until I was in Puerto Lopez the following week that it clicked what I had actually been saying to the poor man. Elder still continues to laugh and tease me about this incident. Its just one more memory of my first Ecuadorian adventure. Ive come a long way from speaking absolutely no Spanish upon arrival in June 2012, to now being able to speak pretty fluently. A rookie error, a blip, a learning curve? An embarassing moment!

My first glimpse of a vagina. I mean, WHALE!


  1. Absolutely brilliant Bess. Remember on Elders birthday in my only 3 words of Spanish I said " tell Elder.......good anus" but vagina ever.

    1. Hi Bess. Just read your blog, all looks very interesting where you are and all the travelling you are doing.I had to laugh reading your blog re. the vag*~a watching, it certainly brought a smile to my face. I was chatting to your mum a few days ago, she said your probably up the Amazon by now, lucky girl you. Myself im doing pretty good as is.Lesley. My new leg will be hopefully finished approx. three weeks time, with all the final nips, tucks and with its new plastic skin. I'll be running around Wattstown park before you know it. Well take care babe and I'll hopefully see you soon. Lots of love . . Rob* xxx

  2. Hi! My name is Sarah, and I love your blog! I am an animal lover too and that's why I wanted to send you this article below. I live in California, but I am hoping to move to Ecuador later this year. Kind Regards, Sarah ~x~

    The Stray Dogs of Montanita: Your Chance to Help Man's Best Friend

    Anybody who has lived in or traveled through developing countries before will be familiar with the sight of stray dogs. They are so heartbreaking to see so underfed, diseased and suffering. These poor stray dogs are not properly cared for, or neutered, and are left free to roam the streets, multiplying rapidly in the process. There is never enough food to go around and the dogs often end up dying of starvation or from diseases or injuries.

    Here in Ecuador's most famous surf town, Montanita, stray dogs are Everywhere. I’ve noticed them everyday on our way to the beach to give surf lessons, constantly swerving the truck to avoid running over the dozens of dogs lying in the middle of the road in a suicidal manner, too tired to move.

    They don't look too healthy and although they may look rough, they really just want to be loved. Just a simple pat on the head and these dogs will collapse in joy. But at the end of the day, nobody looks after them, there is not enough food to go around, and many of them will catch diseases and suffer painful deaths. So what can we do to help alleviate some of the suffering of these innocent creatures?

    Barak Epshtein first arrived in Montanita nine months ago and set up “Café del Mar” on one of the main streets in town. Everyday Barak sees the dogs around the town and he is sick of seeing their suffering. “Nobody cares about the dogs here, nobody is doing anything to help them,” he says. But he has an idea. Barak is appealing to a veterinarian from around the world to come and live in Montanita for a month, or longer, and work in a clinic neutering and treating the town’s stray dogs for diseases.

    His plan is in accordance with the advice of many animal rights organisations. All too often governments think purely in a short-term economic manner, ignoring the suffering of the animals and killing them in inhumane ways.

    Obviously the best way to help the dogs is by giving them homes and registering them. However in places with large stray populations, like Montanita, neutering the dogs and treating them for common diseases is a great first step.

    Barak will provide a suitable clinic for the treatment of the animals, and other people and businesses in town, such as Montanita Spanish School, will be providing the materials needed. Many others will be volunteering their time to assist with the program in other areas.

    In return, the suitable applicant will have a comfortable apartment to stay in and all food provided for their time in Montanita.

    So if you, or anybody you know, is interested in helping the dogs of Montanita, and have a background as a veterinarian and/or in neutering and caring for animals, then please email the school at this address: and we can put you in touch with Barak. Start dates and time frames are all flexible.

    Warm Regards,