Already a week into my Spanish course in Mérida, high up in the Venezuelan Andes, tempus sure does fugit. Tomorrow I start my month long volunteer program at the Chorros de Milla zoo and animal sanctuary in a nearby village, shadowing Filip, the resident vetenarian. Things are about to get busy!
The first 7 days here have been a relaxed affair with Spanish for 3-4 hours, and the rest of the day at leisure. It has given us plenty of time to experience some prime time Venezuelan TV…
As well as catching up on some good old propaganda filled ´¡Alo, Presidente!´(unfortunately missing the TWENTY FOUR HOUR long anniversary special) we have been watching the Venezuelan equivalent of Jeremy Kyle – ´Laura De Todos’. Physical attacks are not discouraged, in fact, they appear to be encouraged. In a recent episode, a woman, marching out from backstage, launched herself across the stage at a seated man, arms wheeling, face distorted with anger. Along the bottom, the explanation banner appeared, “Senorita Chavez fue prostituta para Oscar por 7 anos” (Miss Chavez was a prostitute for Oscar for 7 years).
Our firm favourite program so far however, we managed to deduce was called, ´¿Que Sabe Usted de Vino?´ (Do you know wine?). We tuned in yesterday just in time for the first round, the contestant, a corpulent older gentleman named Gustavo, was competing against a woman whose name I forget, I do recall, as it is hard to erase from my memory that she had a huge Latina arse. Our two brave heroes had 6 glasses of wine set before them on a counter, 3 red, 3 white. They then had to establish from a list of 10 names, whether the wine they were tasting was a merlot or cabernet sauvignon, a shiraz or chardonnay. Gustavo, looking the typical wine connoisseur, won the round easily and celebrated by finishing off the glass of his favourite.
Round two was instant knock-out. Gustavo, this time pitted against two other men (no idea where they came from and didn’t explain why they were rudely absent from round one), had to deduce from a list, which were the foreign words for ‘salud,’ meaning cheers. That was amongst them, but no one recognised it, instead they foolishly picked the Turkish for “in your honour,” tut. One opponent knocked out, Gustavo heading confidently into the final against the other man, who by now we had deduced was called Diego.
This round, on first glace, resembled closely the first. The twist however, was that 6 glasses were blacken out. The two men had 30 seconds to try each wine, and then work out if it was red, white or rose. I would have assumed this would be quite simple, give me 6 glasses of wine and you can prove me wrong. Our contestants found it really quite tricky. Taking it in turns to guess the colour, they would then pour the wine from the black glass into a normal one, revealing the true colour. By the 5th glass, Diego and Gustavo only had one apiece. For the last glass, Gustavo had picked rose, Diego blanco. Lifting a chubby hand, Gustavo picked up the darkened glass and positioned it over the decanter. The suspense was tangible. The camera focused on the pretty female host. She started going, “ooooh no!” before the camera was even focused on the pouring, revealing the results before we could even see the glass. It was white. Brilliant cinematography.
Diego then celebrated, thrusting his fists in the air as silver confetti was relased from the ceiling, strongly resembling The Crystal Maze of my childhood. Presented with a plaque, Diego stood awkwardly beside the grinning host as she waved, and asked us to tune in next time for another episode of, ´¿Que sabe Usted de Vino?´
What an AWESOME, I definitely will be!