When last we met to discuss my trip to Peru I had spent most of the first day in Lima.
After we finished looking at the art in the museum we caught another one of Lima’s amazing cabs and headed back to our hotel and then out for dinner. We had read about a restaurant somewhere near Kennedy Square so we headed that way. We couldn’t find it but I did spot this cool sculpture inside of a fenced in yard
We ended up in some touristy restaurant but the food was okay and we were seated outside so we were happy. What was better was that there was an art festival going on . After we finished eating we walked around looking at the artwork and the stuff for sale and then we noticed a crowd of people and heard music.
I wish stuff like this happened in the States. I haven’t seen anything like it since I was kid growing up in Ohio and we had the whole town out square dancing on Wednesday nights.
We walked toward the music and found a small amphitheater. There was a band playing and it was open mike for the audience as far as I could tell. A man came up to the mic and started speaking and a woman came down from the audience. She was very short and in 4 inch heels which she removed. There was a lot of shuffling around and finally another man handed her a hanky. The band struck up a tune, a woman took the mic and started singing and this lone woman started doing a dance with the hanky. Then a man joined her and the did the hanky dance which they clearly both knew, together. I didn’t get the impression that they had a prior relationship – the relationship was formed on the spot because they both wanted to dance. They were having the time of their lives and so was the audience.
When they got done the MC said something in the mic (sorry, I don’t speak Spanish so I had no idea what he was saying), another man took the mic, talked for a few minutes and then the band started playing what must have been a traditional and well known song and the man started singing. Members from the audience got up, found a partner and start dancing. Everyone knew the songs and the dances. This process was repeated over and over, with a different person taking the mic each time and people switching partners.
It was fantastic. People did this unabashedly and without agenda beyond having fun. I didn’t see anyone who looked uncomfortable or like they felt threatened or anything. It was just sheer joy. One lady in a raincoat unbuttoned it and holding the edges of her coat demurely like it was a poofy ball gown swung left to right as though she were at the Queen’s Ball at the Ritz. I enjoyed it so much I took a movie of it on my camera but it came out too dark to see. I’m going to see if I can get someone to lighten it up and then I’ll post it. Those Peruvians really know how to move their hips!
We watched for quite a while and then headed back to the hotel to try to sleep. The car alarms and horns were even worse than the night before but we managed.
On Saturday we went to the Museo National which has a comprehensive history of the country. Very few of the plaques describing what we were seeing were in English but some were and it was most informative. What I liked most is that there were many groups of school children on field trips. I guess in Peru you do your basics Monday through Friday and have field trip day on Saturday. The kids were adorable and very attentive.
The afternoon was spent just sort of wandering around. We went back to the art festival and each bought a small watercolor. I think we turned in early and spent yet another night fighting to sleep through the noise. We were ready to head to the next place – Cusco.
To be continued (sorry to drag this out but I’m off to the beach for the weekend!)