Thursday, April 3, 2008


A few days ago there was a big fiesta in Catilluc. The Unsha is a traditional fiesta that follows the season of Carnaval. In all honesty, I think it’s just another excuse to party. Welcome to Peru. The tradition centers on a big tree that is put up over night in the town plaza. Then a bunch of “gifts” are hung on the tree. At night there is a big partner dance where the partners work to cut down the tree. When the tree is down people take the gifts with the knowledge that they will replace it the next year two-fold. So if I take on bottle of Pepsi (or whatever), I need to provide two bottles next year. I'm not sure people really follow through with this though because the tree was a little barren. The big “winner” is the person that strikes the final blow to cut down the tree, and they have to underwrite next year’s Unsha. I didn’t take anything; I actually didn’t even get to see the ceremony as the actual dance happened way too late into the night.

The big tree with presents

I did attend the dance for a little while though. Everyone always wants to dance with the gringa. To be honest, I’m pretty sick of dances in Catilluc. You usually dance to one of three types of music: huayno, cumbia, and marinera. They’re all fairly similar except the marinera which I don’t even know how to dance. I hope that eventually I can get someone to teach me in the privacy of their own home. The hardest part about dances in Catilluc is avoiding the drunken men. Last night a guy insisted that I dance with him, even though I insisted I didn’t know how to dance marinera. Eventually a friend saved me, but I ended up having to dance the marinera – very poorly. Sometimes I just wish that I could dance salsa or meringue or even a little hip-hop. Anything else would be great!

I hope to write another entry about Semana Santa which was two weeks ago, but I do have some pictures from my time in Mancora, Piura.

What's a party without futbol?

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