Tuesday, October 6, 2009

27 September

This morning Doug and Ed were out and about while I slept in. They went to breakfast with the band. Each day a family hosts the band and the committeemembers that sponsor the activities for that day.

Then they went to Renato's (Luis' cousin's) home for another breakfast. They had a great time; playing with the kids and visiting.

Later in the morning, I joined then and we visited Luis' childhood home. The home has basically been abandoned as his father remarried shortly after his mother died and live in another house. His brother stays there on occasion but there isn't any runningwater. There are people staying there during the fiesta.

Luis' sister became pregnant at 15, which created a big scandle and his parents social standing suffered. Her mother died before the baby was born and the general feeling is that she died of shame. Luis' father remarried within a month which created a chism between the kids and their father. The home has now been put into the children's names (all 6 of them) and they now have to decide what to do.

Then Chelo, Luis' sister took us to the fair. It was very similar to our county fairs; there were artisans showing their work, people displaying their produce and also typical dishes served in Peru. Cuy, guinea pig, was very popular.

After lunch we went back to the fair to watch the marinara dancers; the competition had three age groups. They were impressive and all really enjoyed themselves. Afterward the judges performed which was entertaining as well. Each of the winners received S/. 100 (about $30) and the girl was given a sash to wear like the kind beauty queens wear.

After the dance competition, we watched the Peruvian Paso horse competition. Only two horses were entered; and each had their strong points. Once a winner was decided, each horse and rider showed off the various tricks they had taught their mounts.

Tonight we went to a reception dinner in honor of those that had contributed money to support the fiesta. The reception was held in "La Casa del Maestro", the house of the teacher. It was a large hall with a stage at one end and was built by the teacher's union. The invitation said the reception was at 6. Luis said we'd leave the house by 6:45. "Nothing ever happens

on time," he says. And sure enough, when we arrived at 7:15, there were about a dozen people sitting in the plastic chairs that line the two walls. No tables, no music; just people waiting. On the stage were several women with four or five huge pots. At least two of the pots had been used over a wood fire. Imagine how heavy they must have been! By 8:00 our host arrived, set and things began. First, a toast with sangria; brought around on trays like at communion. Dinner was pork, rice and potatoes brought around for us to eat in our laps. Bottles of beer were distributed and were drank in the Peruvian way; one glass, one liter bottles of beer shared among five to ten people. And finally, shot glasses of "agua caliente" were served to flush out the fat of the pork. This liquor is made from the sugar cane; something like white lightening?

After dinner we went to the town square to listen to the various bands and to wait for the fireworks to begin. The square was very crowded with all sorts of people but I think we were the only gringos. One of the firework displays was in honor of Luis' mother. It too was built of bamboo and had her picture and El senor del Costado on a banner that unfurled as the fire

works went off. There were also several of the paper hot air balloons that were launched.

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