Sunburn and scissors!
Good morning Federico!
Well, it’s morning here – another cold and frosty one, but bright and sunny.
What a wonderful weekend you had! While northern Europe was cold and wet you were on the beach getting sunburned. Don’t expect a lot of sympathy from us! And take care: it can be very dangerous to get sunburned. But perhaps I am beginning to sound like a parent. Sorry.
Ceviche sounds interesting. I have no idea how to pronounce it, but I wouldn’t mind trying it. You said it must be made with fresh fish. Then I think you wanted to say, the fresher the better.
Now then, this Scissor Dance business sounds complicated and mystical. Let’s see if I understood everything properly. First of all, maybe we should get the terms right. I think the usual translation would be, The Peruvian Scissor Dance. When ‘scissors’, which is a noun, is used as an adjective, the ‘s’ at the end of the word is dropped (as in the name of the band, Scissor Sisters).
So, originally the Scissor Dancers only danced at Christmas – is that right? – but nowadays you can see them on other special occasions. Which ones?
I am interested in how dancers are trained to become Scissor Dancers. You said they must be ‘elastic’. I know exactly what you mean but a better word would be ‘supple’. I guess that’s because of all the jumping they do and the acrobatic movements they make. Then you said that the dancers offer their lives and their dance to Apu. Does that mean that once you become a Scissor Dancer you remain one for the rest of your life? What happens when they are too old to dance?
OK, let me just check I’ve got this right: the dancers make an offering to Apu before they dance. Do they drink this offering themselves? If they do, I’m not surprised they seem to be possessed and in a trance (nice word, by the way) with all that liquor and coca! They must be totally exhausted after dancing for three whole days (is that non-stop?). Then they disappear. Where to?
Absolutely fascinating stuff, Federico, and thank you so much for sharing it with me and all our readers out there in cyberspace. I didn’t know anything at all about the Peruvian Scissor Dance and I am grateful for having learned something new. I’m not sure I completely understand the significance of the scissors, though. Is it some sort of symbolism connected with cutting the old year or cutting something bad? I’m sure there’ll be lots more enquiries from our blog readers. Oh, yes, and by the way, what a superb photo.
I suppose that after all the sun and fun of the weekend today is just a normal working day, is it? Are you staying in Lima or will you travel out to another mine later in the week?
Here, in my family, we have very strong Swedish connections. Tomorrow is one of Sweden’s most important celebrations of the year – Lucia. My daughter is named after Lucia (and also after the famous Swedish children’s writer, Astrid Lindgren). Tomorrow morning, around five o’clock she will get up (which she hates) and make a pot of strong coffee for me. She’ll prepare a little tray with cups, a plate of spicy biscuits, called pepparkakor in Swedish, and a candle, and then, dressed in a long, white gown with a bright red sash, and a crown of (real) candles on her head, she will come into my bedroom and sing me the traditional Swedish Lucia song (a cruel way to wake me: Lucy singing, I mean) while we have coffee and biscuits and I give her the small Lucia gift I have bought for her. This is not an English tradition at all but we love it and I have many lovely memories of all the Lucia Days I have spent in Sweden over the years.
Federico, have a good day at work and thanks again for telling us all about the Scissor Dance.
Keep on using the after-sun lotion!
Bye for now,
SOME USEFUL WORDS AND EXPRESSIONS
wouldn’t mind trying
you’d be quite interested in trying
the fresher the better
The more fresh something is, the better it will be for your needs.
a long piece of material which you wear round your waist (like a belt) or across your shoulder, especially with formal clothes or uniforms
MORE WORDS, EXPRESSIONS AND USAGE
Remember to use the definite article before the word ‘internet’: example sentence: There was no access to the internet.
When ‘despite’ is followed by a verb, that verb should be in the ‘-ing’ form: example sentence: I am sunburned despite using sun block.
verb (danced, danced; dancing)
noun (plural, dances)
noun: a person who dances
SPELL CHECK (AND CAPITAL LETTERS)
To consist of…
The offering consists of coca leaves, liquor, corn…
The band consists of a big harp, a violin and a …
The same as…
They play to the same rhythm as the music.
Take care to make sure you use the correct possessive pronouns. To practise, complete these sentences correctly:
1. The dancers offer __________ lives to Apu.
2. The Spaniards conquered us and tried to change __________ minds.
3. The dancers make offerings to __________ ancient gods.
GENERAL GRAMMAR POINT
Focus a bit more on verb forms and remember that past tense forms are usually only used when talking about past events. You could, therefore, re-write your last few lines like this:
In Lima there are no trees, so most people buy fake, plastic ones (like the song by Radiohead). If you had the money, you would buy a real tree. They are very expensive here because Lima is a big desert and there aren’t enough trees. A tree like yours might cost about $50 or $60, which is quite expensive for here. But in my hometown, Talavera, there are a lot of trees. We usually cut a large branch of Molle (a native tree), then we cover it with our old-fashioned balls and decorations.
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