Peru, Peru. My heart’s lighthouse. — Steven Patrick Morrisey, Lyricist and Vocalist of the rock band The Smiths
Continued from the last post . . .
Play Soccer with a Local High School Team
We arrived by boat at our next stay in the town of Amantani. During our boat ride we were practicing common phrases of the local languages: Spanish, Quechua, and Aymara. So when we landed I was in perfect shape to massacre the local’s language (I won’t attempt it here in fear of insulting my readers!) 😛
Our crew of travellers were split up into groups to be taken care of by a local of the town. The “Mama” who was hosting me at her home was called Valentina. She was about in her 50s and a sweet lady. Her brother was “El Jefe” (“the chief”) of the village. So we followed our mamas to our temporary homes:
Once we got settled we were each given sewn “chullos” (i.e. touques) that were made by our mamas. Personally, I think the hats were used to distinguish the gringos from the locals 🙂
The activity of the day was to play soccer against the local high school team. I love sports! Any type of sports! But playing in thin mountain air proved more challenging than it sounds. I was gassed sooner than I thought! Thank God for subs! We played our best and ended up winning in overtime with 5-4! I think it helped that one of our guides was a former soccer goalie for his team when he was young!
Party Like a Peruvian!
After our game (damn the air is thin here!) we were treated to a home cooked dinner with our respective mamas. I embraced to the opportunity of getting to know my host family over some local food . . . in another language. Practicing words in Aymara, Quechua, and Spanish was a fun experience, however, the experience may not have been fun for my host family as I massacared the language of their ancestors 😛
The town of Amantani has no street lamps. So the locals would use flashlights to see where they were going. I noticed that Mama Valentina had one of those flashlights with a crank that you turn for power. I found they never worked well and they made so much noise. Too bad there wasn’t a store around for her to buy a real flashlight.
Once dinner was done we got dressed in traditional Peruvian clothing and headed to centre of town to dance and party like Peruvians!
We held hands and danced in a constant moving circle. The faster the live band played the faster we moved in the circle. Fun times were had well into the night!
I had a chance to thank Mama Valentina at breakfast. Usually the gringos would return the chullo our hosts made for us. However, I wanted to keep mine. As a trade, I offered my headlamp with a fresh pack of batteries. Since the locals had to leave town to visit Puno for any tech I thought my headlamp was the perfect trade. Besides, that flashlight with a crank didn’t cut it in the pitch black of night. One new chullo for me and one new headlamp for a happy Peruvian lady!
We packed our bags and bid a warm “Tuppanchamiscama” to our hosts as we sailed off back to the mainland. But not before one last tour in our kayaks!
MOMENT OF ZEN: Breaking bread is one of the best ways to dispel cultural differences, and keep your mind open to new perspectives.
Peace, love, and adventure!