South America | Peru | Central Peru | Lima – Celebrating Peruvian style
Christmas in Peru was a little different to what I was used to. There’s still decorations up everywhere, images of Father Christmas, Reindeers, Snowmen and the beeping of popular Christmas tunes coming from deep within the Christmas Trees. The shops and streets were jammed full of people and the peoples windows were having flashing competitions with their neighbours. However, the main difference came with the timing. I’m used to getting up on Christmas morning, having breakfast, opening presents and then having Christmas dinner. Here the presents are opened on midnight of the 24th, and then the turkey is eaten (at about 1am), washed down by either champagne or Inca Kola.
A large part of Christmas day is then spent in bed.
After Christmas I went back to Cusco to see in the New Year with friends there. On 30th
we went for a walk up through the hills that surround the town. The walk took us past several interesting Inca constructions that are rarely visited since they lie well off the usual tourist routes. At one point the path took us past a collection of adobe farm buildings. After negotiating past a bull that was on the path, our guide Richard (the brother of my friend Vanessa) took us round the back of the buildings where he asked a small boy there if we could enter so that he can show us around. The boy agreed (with bribe) and opened the gate which led into a square courtyard surrounded by adobe buildings. Then Richard pointed out an unusual feature. Part of the buildings were made of stone, in fact they were original rooms from the Inca period complete with trapezium-shaped doorways. Water was flowing through the courtyard along original Inca stone channels which direct the water from a cave behind the buildings down to a large stone bathing pool. What was so amazing about this place was that it was lived in like any other farmhouse, the old Inca rooms were used as storage areas and the bathing pool was still used for bathing. It felt a real privelege to see this mix of history and modern Peruvian life that is not accessible to tourists.
For New Year we took a bus along the Sacred Valley to Urubamba, where we had heard there were several parties planned. After warming up by having a few drinks in the hotel room, whilst watching the popular soap opera ‘Capital Sin’ we headed out to the main square to have a few more drinks whilst awaiting midnight. There didn’t seem to be clock in the square and everybody had a different idea of when 2005 started! Once we had run around hugging and kissing random people in the square we went to find a club to continue the party. We entered one place and the music was good but there weren’t a lot of people in there. I danced on the stage for a bit this activity was a bit short-lived when the stage collapsed! We decided to go and find a busier and safer place to dance and ended up in a crowded club that was playing some good tunes. After dancing for a bit I realised that most of our group had disappeared and there was just myself and an Australian friend Lizzie remaining. We left the club and asked a passing taxi driver if he could take us to another party. Lizzie asked the guy if there was party ‘en el campo’ since we had heard that there was something happening in a field somewhere. He took us to what is probably best descibed as an outdoor rave and we danced for a while to some excellent Hard House as the light was returning to the sky of the Sacred Valley. At about 5am the need for food took us back to the main square where we purchased a cold hamburger before retiring to get a few hours sleep at the hotel.