Sunday, February 3, 2008


My good friend Alex and me at our favorite bar in Cajamarca

I write tonight from a Peace Corps Superbowl Party. It's a little crazy to be taking part in such a US institution while listening to the play by play in Spanish. But as I write Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers just gave a pretty good little half-time show and the undefeated Patriots are leading the Giants by 4. If you're reading this now, you probably already know the winner, and so do I. FLAG!

I'm actually able to watch the Superbowl because many of my PC friends old and new have converged on my capital city to celebrate Carnaval. A time of drinking and getting soaking wet or starting paint wars. So as people are celebrating Mardi Gras in a hopefully recovering New Orleans, those who can't afford to go to Rio de Janero for their last hurrah before Lent come ad hang out in Cajamarca, Peru.

We had so much fun. We started off the day by a quick breakfast, but before we knew it the streets had converged into madness of music, shouting, water, and paint. I didn't even make it back to the hostal from breakfast before I was attacked with paint thrown in my hair, on my clothes (luckily I had dressed for the occassion), and I had cream paint rubbed in my face. I eventually made it into the hostal to really prepare. We spent the rest of the morning filling water balloons and painting our faces. My friend Alex (again), me, my friend Lillian (third year volunteer), and my good friend Sarah (Peru 7)

When we felt adequately prepared we dashed to the streets to pelt or paint anyone in our way, and to receive a little in the way of water and tint for ourselves. We had so much fun, and we danced and made merry. Before long we were out of ammo and headed back to the hostal for round two. This time I filled a bag just for myself and took the streets with my Peru 9 crew to show these Peruvians how to throw a water balloon. I am now convinced that the Olympics needs a water balloon event. I'm pretty sure Team USA would win any year the Chinese didn't. I was impressed with the skills of my fellow Peace Corps volunteers and, to be honest, my own. I hit an old lady on a balcony by splitting threw here protective doors. And before you go all "Old people abuse" on me, she started it by throwing a bucket at us. So much fun. When we weren't throwing balloons or squirting water guns, we would throw paint. Sometimes you would load it on your hand and rub it all over someone's face or handprint their back. All the action accumulated in the Plaza (remember every Peruvian city or town has a Plaza de Armas). Here we threw more balloons and used a water balloon launcher before we danced and started throwing paint on everyone. It was such a blast. My friend Bron and I returning to the Hostal to load up on amo with the rest of the crew.

I hope you enjoy the pictures. And if you think about coming to visit me. Carnaval would be a good time. Now I guess the only question left is: what do I give up for Lent?


Mardy said...

Yeah...Go Giants!?! Great pics Ari. I love the whole Carnaval description; looks like you had an awesome time. Team USA wins the 2008 Peruvian Carnaval Paint War. WooHoo!!! It was great to talk to you today. I miss you sis! It's always nice to hear your voice.

Love ya!

Anagelin said...

Hola chicas: Yo soy de Cajamarca, pero ahora vivo en Ohio (que aburrido es aqui) Yo se lo que es el carnaval, es muy loco, perfecto para gente Americana que no estan permitidos a hacer nada aqui. En cajamarca realmete hay libertad.
is hijos aun estan por alla difrutnado de la calida gente. Ellos se reunian en la Plaza cada dia para cantar en la noche y para mojar durante el dia.
Gracias por los bonitos comentarios sobre Cajamarca.

Un beso,

cynthia said...

hey sugar.
i have been thinking about you for several weeks now. i am in need of doing a couple sentence email...i find though that much has occurred and it may be a 8 or 9 sentence email. i keep up to date with you on your blog. i miss you tons, but i am glad to see that you are doing well and settling in. love you a TON!!