Recently, the stories of two ducks with similar, gloomy fates have recently served to compare and contrast the differences between cultures.
This past weekend a domestic duck living in an ornamental pond in a high-society downtown St. Paul Minnesota hotel(our hometown before we came to Guatemala) was brutally attacked by a hotel guest that apparently ripped its head off in the hotel lobby informing the other guests that he was hungry. Farther to the south in rural Guatemala, we were witnesses this week to a "pato encebado" contest as part of a local celebration where a group of cowboys hung a living duck up by its legs and then shaved and greased its neck; all of this with the objective to take turns attempting to pull its head off with their hands during passes on their galloping horses.
The real lesson in all of this is found in the reactions of the society. In St Paul, the assailant is facing a felony with up to two years of jail time and a $5,000 fine while a high class hotel is considering some sort of increased security or fencing system to protect the rest of their ducks. In our town, the winner of the contest was awarded a prize of Q200 and much of the normally very reserved indigenous crowd really got their spirit up with shouts such as "¡arranquela hombre!"
Read story of St. Paul Hotel Duck: http://www.startribune.com/462/story/1440073.html