Welephant look away now

Trip Start Feb 26, 2010
Trip End Feb 26, 2011

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Where I stayed
Hostel Jacaranda Inn

Flag of Peru  ,
Friday, December 24, 2010

The lady wanted a bit of a lie in after last nights shenanigans, and why not, the skylight of course had me up by about 5:30 but never mind. When we finally rose we headed straight out into the Christmas Eve market. The South Americans (a bit like the Scandinavians and others) appear to celebrate Christmas Eve possibly more than Christmas Day. Well how do they celebrate, church, buying statues of Jesus and other nativity characters for their own personal nativity scene (this is serious stuff they take the characters to be blessed in church), the countryside folk sell grass and sets for the nativities and clothes for the baby Jesus and there is more giving to the poor in terms of food.

So all in all it is entirely the opposite of being at home, they are not animals of an overly commercial society, very little shopping or present exchanging, merely spending time with friends and family celebrating the birth of a bloke called Jesus (who incidentally also had a beard, though it wasn't red). Oh and not forgetting the crazy fireworks, they are going off everywhere, sold by little kids with people smoking while they look at what the kid has got. Other kids (as young as 3 or 4) are setting them off everywhere outside the cathedral, the police occasionally tell people off when they nearly get a foreigner, they seem to be very protective of foreigners making this place feel so safe.

There are fireworks you can throw, fireworks you hold in your hands shooting them into the sky, oh by the way if you haven’t heard of Welephant he is (or was back in the day) the UK fire brigade safe fireworks type promoter, obviously an elephant. A list of rules broken:

Always store fireworks in your pocket or hand – never a sealed metal container

Feel free to smoke around fireworks it makes them look better and you look more cool

Do not wear wellies or any safety shoes, wear flip flops made out of car tyres that way you can warm your feet if the sparks get close, do not under any circumstances put your trousers outside your wellies to prevent sparks getting in, this uncool and unstylish

Only use an open flame to light fireworks, matches or a lighter will be fine

Don’t dare light it at arm’s length make sure your face is right over it so you can see properly

Do not retire after light a firework, stay around so you can kick it in the direction of a passerby if someone comes close

If the firework fails to go off, run as fast as you physically can back to it, pick it up and shake it whilst inspecting closely.

Make sure there are no adults around to spoil your fun.

You get the picture but then again that is the overly safe UK as my Dad said when we were telling him, "ooh that’s just like when I were a lad". Weliphant had us running scared, I’m off to try and get some facial disfiguration before Christmas day. At midnight everyone went completely nuts in a fireworks frenzy before heading back home for a traditional Peruvian Christmas dinner, of turkey .... at 1am with their families.
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