Spaning Cultures with Slapdeck

Group shot on the Inca TrailOn the Inca trail hiking to Machu Picchu, our group was able to connect with the Quechuan porters that supported our trek. They are naturally shy and reluctant to interact with foreigners. While some speak Spanish, most prefer to joke and chat in their own group and in their own language. One night our hiking group was playing a simple card game where the object was to get rid of all of your cards. By nature, the game is loud and fast paced and we quickly gained attention of others.

Among the gathering crowd, I noticed one porter in the background curiously looking upon this crazy game we were playing. Even though he did not speak English, I was able to invite him to join our game with the little Spanish I knew. Before I could complete my sentence he was sitting down at the table with a huge smile on his face. The game relied on knowing the numeric value of each card so I was able to modify the rules where an ace was uno and a king was catorce, to allow him to more easily follow. The game became intense, and shortly thereafter I looked up to see all thirty of our porters watching us play in the small, crowded, fifteen person tent! We ended up getting a few more porters to join us and even learned how to modify the game to play it in Quechuan, so the others could enjoy it as well!

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