Monday, October 13th, 2003

Ayacucho, Peru

Traditional Dress

Met up with V’s parents in Lima about a week ago. Was so nice to see them again after 4 months!


We all took a trip back into the highlands of central Peru, to a town called Ayacucho… A town very much affected by the terrorism of the Shining Path in the 1980s and early 90s. The town has just recently become safe to travellers again and the people there are very nice and very open to tourists coming back. A lot of the locals have recently just returned after about 12 or more years away.


Ayacucho is a really nice town, very picturesque, surrounded by mountains. It was the town where V’s mom’s dad grew up so that was interesting, got to see the house he grew up in which has now been turned into part of the university. (Ayacucho University is where the Shining Path leader taught classes before he started his revolution and created absolute chaos throughout the whole country).


Went on a few day trips…. Saw some ruins, saw how the locals make textiles and weavings - really talented artists, like in most of the country.


The night we left one of the high-schools was celebrating their anniversary and they did this with a big fireworks display, something called "burning the castle." The castle was basically a big tower-like structure (about 20ft tall) they constructed and covered with all kinds of different fireworks. This was no ordinary fireworks display either, something would never be found in Canada, in fact this was one hundred times better than our symphony of fire!


The crowd wasn’t controlled at all... so we had great spots for the event, started only about 5 feet away but ended up moving further back once it started for fear that the sparks would land on us! The fireworks started going off from the bottom of the tower and worked their way up. Lots of spinning and flying of sparks. Once it got to the top there were huge sparks flying down towards the ground making it look like giant snowflakes and then suddenly the top of the tower flew off and way into the sky where it exploded into a large umbrella like canopy and then fell down into the crowd. From here more fireworks were lit and there were big green circles twirling in the air. Really hard to explain the whole thing, but it was truly amazing! A nice way to finish off our visit to Ayacucho.



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