Monday 28 May 2018

Day 35 Hauripampa Celebrations after Morning Walk.

May 5th, 2018

Sunny day, Cloud builds once more, thunderstorm in the mid-afternoon then dry

Well my host, Moises doesn't leave my side for the whole day. After breakfast, a beautiful breakfast of eggs, bread, some sort of wrapped in leaves food, coffee and herbal tea, we both go for a walk to the top of a nearby hill that has ruins that were built before the Incans came to Peru. Fabulous views of the valley and Moises wonderfully knows the names of the plants and what they are used for medicinally. Moises delights in telling me that the trail is an Incan trails, hundreds of years old.
There aren't many birds, well other than Rufous-collared Sparrows, which are everywhere. The occasional Sparkling Violetear and Giant Hummingbird on the hill slopes, the occasional Variable Hawk and American Kestrel circling overhead. Four passing White-collared Swifts are new for the Green Year list.
On returning to the village we go for a meal in a cafe in the village plaza, which is delicious; a big bowl of some sort of soup with pasta in it and then a plate of chicken and rice. All this is followed by some sort of tea that is supposed to aid digestion. Great.
Whilst in the cafe the brass band comes in. The village is celebrating something to do with the crucifixion at the moment and the brass band men, all in very smart suits and some with ties, come in for the same food with their instruments placed beside them. One musician, named Elvis, sees my camera and wanted a photo. No problem. Photo taken. I ask a trumpet player whether he could play any Louis Armstrong tune. He has never heard of Louis!
Anyway meal finished, off we go to the 'party' where there are three superb young people, Jonathan, Diego and Griselda (Gladys!), who are trying to sell their photographs of birds and scenes from the area. They give me one of a Peruvain Sierra Finch as a gift. Anyway we have some fun but with the band in the cafe there is no music. People are just standing around, waiting for band to arrive. I ask Jonathan, one of the young people, if he has any English Rock Music on his car stereo. Brilliant! U2 songs played loud with me showing the Peruvians how to dance to the music and trying to get them to sing the songs! Elevation!!!
I even go and get the lady selling ice creams to dance with me. She does! It was such a laugh! I am worried that some of the Peruvians filmed my dancing and singing. Viral material it isn't.
Anyway just as we could hear the band coming along the village streets playing their loud music, a thunderstorm arrived. Shelter!
After the storm, in the late afternoon and into the evening, the band are playing as people dance the local dance, well more like a shuffle really. With the ladies beautifully dressed with lacy tops, large flowing black skirts and very colourful shawls and the men in a suit and white shirt they kind of shuffle around each other in a charming, loving way. One of the men is very drunk and insists I dance with his tiny, laughing wife. So I shuffle around and we laugh together. On trying to just be one of the onlooking crowd, Jonathan sees me. He is standing their with his aunt. Next thing I know I am dancing with her and she is not one to dance quietly. Oh no, she is whooping and shouting for all to hear!
As if this wasn't enough for a shy, retiring birder to cope with, Elvis sees me and gives me his Euphonium to play. Now this was the instrument that I played for a short while when at school so I blow a few notes, trying to go along with the music. I am awful but people laugh and some rather drunk men come to give me beer for my performance. One man keeps saying that his name is Johnny and he keeps filling the glass with more beer for me to drink. It must go down in one of course. Then the tuba player insists I played his instrument. Gosh it is heavy but I have a go.
Now as if this isn't enough and boy was it fun, the real reason for everything is to cut down two tall fir trees decorated with balloons and decorative blankets, as part of the crucifixion celebration that they have here in the village every year. One of the dancing couples holds a twig from a fir tree and decides upon which other couple are to participate in the tree felling next. The chosen dancing couple are given the twig and they then have to drink a glass of beer each. Once the beer is drunk they are then given an axe and have so long to try to chop down the tree. After a few moments they have to stop and return the twig to the holders of the twig who pass it on to the next couple to have a go and so on. Well eventually the first tree comes down amongst the dancers and luckily missed them all. This was a big tree! In fact one dancer was killed last year by the tree falling on him but what the heck, this is Peru! Carry on regardless.
People immediately run to grab the balloons and blankets amongst the branches as souvenirs and very young children climb onto the branches to bounce on them.
First tree down, I help to drag it off the dancing area for the dancing to continue and the next tree to be chopped down. Twigs, couples, beer and chopping, it takes about half an hour before the next one comes down too and luckily no one is killed this year!
By now it has started to rain again during all this but the dancing couples just have large umbrellas and carry on. The original wife and very drunk husband just cuddle underneath theirs and you could see how much they loved each other as they danced. He doesn't stop kissing her hands.
So with second tree down and rain falling heavily Moises and I go back to his hostel where he makes me coffee.
Now the villagers, dancing with the same band playing music, will carry a large, beautifully decorated crucifix on Wednesday next to the top of the hill Moises and I went up this morning. There the crucifix will stay until next year.
What a wonderful day with such happy, loving people. I love Peru!

Green Year list : 185 birds average new birds to list per day : 5.29 birds

Distance walked : 2.98 miles

elevation : up 713 feet, down 713 feet

altitude : 11,004 feet

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