I know now why no one from South America has ever made it to the moon

I think I know why no one from South America has ever made it to the moon.

It’s a little known historical fact that a few years ago there was, a Latin Lunar (tic) Mission. They nearly finished the rocket but someone’s cousin took off a door for a barbeque grill. The captain went to kill a cow and get wine but never came back because the girl at the bottle shop was, well, available. The rocket was then taken for a test drive to impress some blonde. The captain returned and realised that the bottle shop girl was also the blond of test drive fame and an unholy shouting match broke out accompanied by extreme gesturing. Someone pulled out a gun and shot it in the air, as is often done in South America, for use as a random yet dangerous form of punctuation. Imagine; an aerial exclamation mark. No one is hurt but the returning bullet kills a cow so they take all the doors off the rocket and have a decent farewell barbeque.

If this is not true, then I must have hallucinated it while trying to get to Cape Reinga with 4 carloads of Latins. All agreed animatedly on the route and then proceeded to speed valiantly in 4 different directions with unopened maps while I was left breast-feeding a baby on the side of the road. Pointing bleakly… to the map. I’m still in therapy. Nobody, incidentally, made it to Cape Reinga.

Having a map of any description is apparently a very anglo ( pakeha) thing to do. We’re big on maps, individual achievement and business plans. All laughable fetishes to most South Americans. History seems to have taught them that family, consensus and community are better long term options.

Sitting down with a reformed budget, I had to first nail the Latin to the kitchen table. While I read it out and he screamed uncontrollably offering to iron the sheets in order to get out of any financial planning, I reflected on how nice it might be for couples who share the same interests, language and culture to get on with the individualistic goal of accumulating rental properties and nice sofas, realising at the same moment that if we had a rental property someone’s cousin would be living in it rent free until their work permit came through and if we had a nice sofa someone else would be sleeping on it while they got over their break up/break down or just their need to take a break.

I forget too that the mad Latin has seen his country change currency more often than a good girl changes her knickers and inflation rates of up to 800%.

I also forget that he’s seen governments come and go that can randomly take people off the street, and banks can close overnight taking your money with them.

Plans, he says, just encourage God to notice. He goes for contrived ignorance of any information that may necessitate planning, waiting until an inevitable crisis appears, and in the fashion of a histrionic conquistador manages to save the day with a lot of sword waving and faintly scary shouting.

I prefer paying the bills in time and checking a tide chart before getting pipis. But hey – I’m pakeha.

His favourite saying his ‘We’re at the dance – so lets dance’.

I remember a gaucho telling me this on a horse trek. The sky was throwing lightening bolts and hailstones the size of golf balls and thanks to the gauchos’ penchant for containing their wealth in silver saddlery, we were sitting on a ridgeline on moving lightning conductors. I looked to him for some feasible options. “We’re at the dance so we’ll dance!” he yelled, and laughing like a maniac took off into the head of the storm. All very impressive except there was no need to have even been asking about options if someone had just checked a weather forecast. But then, if you waited for OSH checks and financial forecasts in South America you’d never get out of bed in the morning.

I guess it’s all a matter of balance when you’re living with two cultures, so here’s the plan. Plan like a pakeha, live like a Latin and order a bucket load of valium online in preparation for the Holiday season.

We may not get to the moon (or Coromandel) but at least it’ll feel that way.

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