Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas in Cuzco

Bam bam! Pow! Kaboom! Christmas in Cuzco began with a bang. At midnight, to be exact, with exploding fireworks that sounded like they were just outside our Hostal door. I was lying there thinking, “Shh. You’ll wake the baby Jesus. And me!” The next morning, my daughter Talia told me that she went out to watch the fireworks. I thought they were just firecrackers. Darn! That would have been a better plan.

But you miss something one place and stumble upon something else another place. A procession of two groups of masked and costumed dancers, to be exact, as we approached the Plaza de Armas. My heart beat three times as fast as I ran with camera open trying to catch up and I did. This was my passion when I first began traveling back in 1978, to find, experience, document the colorful festivals of the world, that mixture of stirring music and dance, costume, theater, ritual, ceremony, community celebration, affirmation of a culture’s history and character and mythology. This is the quality I tried to bring back to my own school culture, with modest success. So happy to run into it again (photos to follow)— my unexpected Christmas present.

The rest was shopping in the Mercado for snacks to bring on our trek that starts tomorrow—at 5:30 am, to be exact. And now packing for four days on the Inca Trail and Machu Picchu. Looking forward to the rare offline experience— no Wifi up there. Instead will have to tune in like folks did in the old days— thought travel, imagination, presence. And I hear that it will be an amazing place to do that.

And so, dear reader, nothing from me for a while on the screen, but I imagine I’ll be back newly inspired to report. For now, just grateful that I spent Christmas in Cuzco instead of Christmas in Costco. 

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