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Thursday, May 20, 2010

Peruvian boys spin tops

As I mentioned in last weeks' Snapshot Summary, all Peruvians under 20 who've grown up in this part of the jungle know how to play tops [trompos]... When in Peru do as the Peruvians do, right?!

I'm made of wood, a nail and string... I fly spinning through the air... if I miss I might get hit with a machete...

(of course.)

Definition of terms:
Trompo: Top
Pita: String
Clavo: Nail
Jonla: Circle
Pepa: Aguaje pit (the size of a smallish egg)
Mepiada: twirl hit
Mepa: whack, punishment for losing...
(meted out with the point of the top, a knife or a machete)
Piojoso: cheater  (I know a person who's trompo is falling apart because he's a cheater, he's only gotten caught like 5 times ever)

"Trompos is something you do when you're bored.  And since the kids don't play marbles as much anymore (like as much as they did last month...heheh. ;), we play trompos."  - Cullen.

Here's the wiki on trompos (in English)... of course it's not the exactly the same as you will see here,
but the Spanish wiki is WAY better... if only you could all read it ;)

The boys on the street rank themselves by trompo skill:

"Gino is the champion of everybody.
Big Victor is the champion of me and Teddy.
Little Victor and Joel are the champions of Josiah.
Siah is the champion of Diego.
Diego is the champion of nobody."

Here's a game in process... 
1) pits are planted we're winding up... 2) Cullen gets the first strike.  3) Teddy rewinds his top after having given his first strike.


3 different games:

1) Golf - You tie the trompo onto the end of the string and you swing the thing toward an aguaje pit trying to hit it into the circle.  You have like 10 tries to hit it...  If you don't get it into the circle within ten hits, your opponent gets to whack your top 10 times (with the point of your top, a knife or a machete).  If you get it in within 10, for example in 7 hits, you get to hit your opponent the remainder...3 times.  So no matter what your top gets hit... that's why it's not a very popular game. :)

2) Spinning [Trompeada] - You make a circle about 2 meters in diameter (the length of your 'pita' or string).  Put an aguaje pit for every person playing (it's worth 5 hits against you).  You wind up your trompo and try to hit any of the pits out, if you don't hit any out it's not very much good luck.  If you hit your own pepa out it removes all whacks against you and you can keep throwing trying to hit everyone else's trompo. If you hit someone else's pit out of the circle you get to hit them with 10 whacks. If you cheat you get 50 whacks!  Like if you kick or push out your pit.  If your trompo stays within the circle after it's done spinning, your opponent get to whack you ten times...

[okay... if anyone wants to know the specifics we'll have to really work this out, because it's REALLY complicated! ]


3) Twirling - the same as above except you swing it (tied like in golf) instead of throwing.  There are all kinds of twirl moves like machine gun, helicopter, meteorite, etc.

Trompo Nitty Gritty:

"The cost of the trompo depends on the size.  A big one with a 2 meter string is S./2, a smaller one with a 1.5 meter string is S./1.*  There is another one called a punto acha (I've only seen one of those in my whole life) with like a 3 meter string that costs S./10.  It's HUGE!  The trompo is like 4 inches high with a 5 inch peg...  The nail is always longer when you buy it, but it wears down.  I gave my old one to Siah because the nail is worn way down."

"The wider the trompo is, the longer it spins."

"I like to wear the nail down as soon as I get it so that I can spin it on my hand.  Otherwise it would make a hole."

"Some tops are not made well.  Like this one, it's junk!  The top part where the string wraps around can't be too slippery or too narrow or the string will slip off."

"I've only had one trompo be split into quarters from a whacking, and that was when I wasn't as good.  That was when I was playing spinning, and because they used a screwdriver."

Incredible video of a Colombian professional trompo player.
When watching this video Cullen exclaimed, "Who is that?!  I wanna get that guy's autograph!

* 2.80 nuevo soles / $1.00


North Laurel said...

LOL We tried to guess Who It Was but um, yea, we lack culture ;) Fox, my son, drew a few pictures of what it could have been...we would have never guessed it!
Thanks for the bit of culture!
Oh, a little the risk of sounding uneducated ;)... what language do they speak in Peru??

Richele said...

I'll have to bring the boys by as they'll love this post. Not sure exactly what I did with those trompo as they were only 3 & 5 when they got them.

It was the size of the nail that got to me.

Love that last pic ;)

Silvia said...

This post is so neat! Amy, you are a true homeschooler, anything you touch, you turn it into a lapbook post, you research and adorn with pictures lovely topics such as this. In Spain we call them PEONZAS, not trompos, they are played like this, but I don't know if anymore, since children barely take their eyes off of the TV, wii or nintendos.

amy in peru said...

@Blossom! wow! I'm impressed! a drawing?! tell your son he should win a prize or something! ;)
You're right! We speak Spanish in Peru and most all of South America with exception to Brazil and the other three little countries way up there. And BTW... no dumb questions! That's why we homeschool! So we can all learn!!

@Richele, I think I used to think that the nail was dangerous too... but you can grind it on concrete and it will dull up pretty fast, or so they tell me ;)

@Silvia, You are great! You are such an encourager! Thank you!
I saw peonza on youtube when I was looking around there. Hahaha! I totally know what you mean about culture shifts due to t.v. In the cities here in Peru marbles and tops are pretty non-existent... I'm SO glad to live in provincia for this very reason!!

thanks ladies for your comments! you guys are so nice :)

amy in peru

Nancy Kelly said...

This is very cool! Here's a silly comment - I think they're so unique looking and could see them decorating a shelf. Next time you come back to Iowa, bring the kids up to MN and do a demonstration for us, okay?

HopiQ said...

I really appreciate your blog! I’ve given you The Versatile Blog award! Visit Heart and Home for the details.

Joyfulmum said...

Amy, I came over here from the year o discussion atm on hons...I'm a bit slow...I think you follow Jeanne's blog too, right? I think I've got the right Amy?
Anyway, been enjoying reading your blog and this post brought back great memories of life in India...all the boys there used to play with their tops...last year my dd got a more sophisticated top from McDonalds with her happy meal and I had to explain the tops we had growing up:) now I can show her your pics instead:) well done!

coniru said...

how can i get one of these tops??

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