Backtracking to Puno even tho We are in CuscoFebruary 10, 2008 writing about February 3rd
I started this writing several days ago in an email to a friend and didn't get to finish it. It is like old news now since so many things have happened since, but here goes.
It was Sunday in Puno and La Festival de la Virgen de la Candellaria was in full swing. All day long in the stadium, groups from various surrounding areas, were competingdancers accompanied by their musicians. Musi and I parked our blankets on the steps of the church in the Plaza de Armas to get a good view of the dancers and musicians since they would be passing by after their performances in the stadium.
We were early and a full day was ahead of us so I decided to go back to our hotel and work on an ad for Steve and Patt. Once completed, I rushed over to the internet café nearby to upload the ad.
Ater rejoining Musi on the steps and then wandering about watching the dancers and musicians, a cup of hot tea was calling me. I went back to our hotel and while I was waiting for the hot water, I couldn't listen to one more song without dancing. So I salsa-esqued around the waiting room made to move by the music. One can only take so many days of not dancing without busting out a few moves. (Especially surrounded by dancers for a full weekend!)
Soon Musi joined me at the hotel and it was time to go find dinner. Earlier in the day or the day before, Musi pointed to a balcony above the plaza and fantasized about watching the festivities from there. Personally, I thought she was dreaming seeing us in such a desirable spot. But, I guess that's how the universe works because as it turned out, we went upstairs to that restaurant for dinner. Not only was it the best food I had had so far in Puno, but soon after arriving, the balcony table was vacated and we swooped in. Amazingly primo seats! See below.
Oh, and not only that, but who should I run into in that restaurant but a woman I met at the Women's Herbal Symposium last year in Laytonville. Amazing!
After dinner, Musi and I strolled down Avedina del Sol and came upon a sort of staging area for the groups. The dancers and their musicians had been at it for hours and hours almost non-stop. In this staging area they could relax and re-gather before proceeding into the Plaza de Armas. Somehow I started talking to some of the dancers. Before I knew it, I was dancing with one of them. I had been watching dancing feet all day and my body was internalizing the steps.
I got swept up in the dance and it didn't really matter whether I was doing it "right" or "wrong." It was such a blast and possibly one of the most "fun" moments of the trip so far. I took their pictures and gave them soles ($). We laughed, and everyone around was in good spirits. I didn't realize Musi and some Peruvian women were enjoying the scene from a few feet away. I was happy about that so Musi could witness my complete thrilled self and understand why.
After a while, Musi retired back to the hotel but I was too excited to go "home" yet. I started chatting with a poor starving musican/actor named Marcello. Up above us from a second story bar, came the sounds of Peruvian disco music. I couldn't resist and went up to the bar to acompany Marcello on his birthday. I never asked "cuantos anos" but I figure he was about the age of my daughter Jody who is 35. I couldn't stay off the dance floor and was doing a combination of my translation of the step of the day (the Peruvian national dance--the Marinera) and moves I learned in Zoomba class with a bit of African and contact improv thrown in. What a blast.
After dancing a while it was time to return to the Hotel. When I got there, the metal gates had been closed. Oh no, I thought, where will I go if no one lets me in? But, no problem, I rang the buzzer and was let in so I could go up to our room for a well deserved night's rest.
All in all it was a fabulous day.