This past weekend John and I headed over to the stadium at the end of our street to watch a dance competition (Northern Sailor is the competition; 350 participated and 11 couples were chosen as best.) I’m not sure what to expect; though I do know it’s the dance where the women are barefoot and the men typically have shoes on (though during the course of the competition a few men are barefoot). Typically the women are dressed in skirts with lots of ruffles, big dangly earrings, hair is either long in braids (with extensions if their hair isn’t long enough) with flowers or up in a bun again with flowers. The men are usually in a suit (though a few had ponchos instead of a suit jacket), all the men had big straw hats and both the women and men had hankies.
Practice before the competition outside the stadium
The signs advertising this all say 10:00; well it really doesn’t start going until closer to noon (maybe it means doors open at 10:00?) We get there about 10:30, figure out tickets (25 soles for seats up in the top tier or 30 soles for tickets in the bottom tier. Which is about $8 for top tier and $10 for bottom tier – we go top tier as not sure how long or what we’re getting ourselves into.) Once we go inside, we see that a) we’re here waaay to early and b) essentially we might be the only people not having a direct involvement with the dancers!
We wonder around the grounds of the stadium and find a kids soccer game (maybe 8 to 9 year olds). There are 5 cameras, along with an announcer televising the game (or maybe recorded and televised later?) When the teams got into huddles the sound man would hustle over and put the big boon mike over the huddle. This clearly is not the soccer games of my brothers! And to rouse the spirits of the players (and those watching) there was a big bass drum that a parent banged on. Kids were great; knew how to handle the ball, played their counter-part, goalies had great hustle to keep the ball out. All in all I was seriously impressed with how good the games were (guess it helps that it’s almost a religion here!) And even though the crowd was small, there was somebody hawking food in the stands. But not the hot dogs/peanuts that I’m used to but rather “causa” (a mashed potato dish, with avocado and tuna fish; trust me, very tasty). And said hawker carries them on a tray, about 4 to 6 at a time. Not the most efficient way to sell food.
John is eating a causa, $2.50. Delicious!
We hear music back in the stadium; it’s the band – I think from the military (I think that because everybody wore vaguely military style uniforms). Interestingly there is (what seemed like to me) essentially one song (with maybe a few variations) that is played the entire competition. And played at a very loud “eleven” (our ears were ringing by the end.) Mostly everybody who was dancing got dressed in the stands – makeup put on, hair dressed up (why I know about hair extensions), even tops and skirts were put on in the stands (of which there was at least 3 layers of skirts; a petticoat, a hip ruffle (to really accentuate your hips when you moved) a petticoat with many tiers of ruffles and then the big over skirt). Though I can see why everybody got dressed in the stands; the bathrooms were small – barely enough room for two people. Clearly you can’t get dressed in there!
Competition was open to all ages (looked like as young as 8 years to as old at 70 plus). Each age tier would do a little parade around the floor in front of the judges and then would come back in groups of 3 to 5 and dance. It was fun to watch; sort of the same, but each couple would be a bit different with steps and costumes. It looked like quite the “flirt” dance (hat hiding your face, hanky being sort of a come hither kind of thing). All in all lots of fun to watch.
The second part of our adventure was a local bus trip to Barranco. Just one more way to learn how to get around, not to be totally reliant on cabs (though as a side note; I finally added Uber to my phone and have used them a couple of times. I may not be excited about how they treat their employees but they sure are good to use. Clean cars, with working seatbelts (trust me, some of the cabs I’ve hailed off the street are a bit on the dodgy side!) Quick to get to me, and so cheap – I mean $3.00 kind of cheap!!! Which begs the question, why am I walking or even thinking of taking the bus?!) But none the less it’s time to figure out the buses. I found a great post on the bus system for here; Peruvian buses. What I think is just random buses coming and going actually have a rhyme and reason, and so cheap to use. To go to the next suburb to us (which is about maybe 6 miles away) was less than .50. How can you beat that price?! Added bonus, found Burrito Bar, we thought some pretty good burritos and nice Margaritas all in a slight hole in the wall location. We were both quite pleased, we’ll be back for more! And a nice added bonus of stumbling upon all sorts of activity in the town square.
One of our friends was out of town for the last couple of weeks, so we got to borrow his bike. Sundays here the local park streets are closed for about 6 miles in both direction (ends right at the outskirts of central downtown) to traffic. Lots of bikes, roller bladers, new to bikes (training wheels), and other activities for the morning. I’ve seen an exercise class being taught (sort of salsa, zumba; lots of loud music and very energetic teacher for first thing in the morning!) This past weekend there was 1000 cranes for peace paper folding. Seems like there is always some sort of activity going on. Bike riding isn’t for the faint of heart if you live here. I mostly do okay, but it requires concentration and ready to yell at anybody who tries to cross your path unexpectedly (the random car – okay scary! and the “dumb” pedestrian (why sir are you crossing the bike lane, when you know it’s full of bikes and not looking to see if anybody is coming?!) There is lots of yelling from a crazy white woman, slightly embarrassing for us all. Which is the big reason why I like the closed off streets, much easier to get around, feeling vaguely safer!
1000 cranes of peace and dancing in the streets
Have a great weekend,