Puno, Peru

Trip Start Feb 08, 2006
Trip End Jul 19, 2006

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Monday, February 13, 2006

We arrived in Puno on Thursday after 24 hours without sleep. That, combined with some pretty bad colds, and almost 12,000 feet in altitude gain left us sleeping through the first day. It was good though because we needed the rest to be prepared for the next four days of festival in which 72 bands are let loose on the town and they play and dance through the streets from 5 am until midnight for four days. The first three days, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, were basically preparation days for the bands and dancers. On Friday morning, at about 5 o´clock, one of the bands went along the street directly in front of our hotel room. Considering the fact that these bands can be heard from about two miles away, it was kind of hard to sleep through. The rest of the day was mostly uneventful. We resumed our usual routine of wandering through the streets, finding new places to eat, watching the occasional band pass by. Saturday passed much the same way, although that night, most of the town and many people from other towns crowded the streets watching bands and dancers pass along. However, that night we also decided to try some meat from one of the street vendors. Bad idea. We bought what we though was beef for very cheap, but while we were eating, my mom realized that it wasn´t beef, but a popular Peruvian dish of guinea pig. Not being used to eating the little rodents, I got sick the next day. Leaving me to work, and Erin to sleep, my mom took a little walk through the streets on the main day of the festival. She came back soon after, saying that we could not miss what was happening. We walked for a bit towards the stadium, which was where mostof the bands were performing for the people who had seats. Along the way, we saw probably 10 different bands, accompanied by dancers of course, in full festival attire. The dancers were dressed in huge, elaborate, colorful outfits. The streets were filled with people in Devil masks, giant horned helmets and masks, and even what looked like ape outfits. Gotta go meet with the Amantani parent´s group.
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