Festivities in Puno
Chris and I were wandering around Puno after dinner this evening, when we encountered a big festivity taking place in the middle of the street, just round the corner from our hostel. Not sure exactly what the locals were celebrating; but they had a good old bonfire going in the middle of the (dirt) road; there was a most impressive brass band playing; and an impressive number of locals (with surprisingly few gringos) were standing around the fire in a big circle, with a few dancing in the middle. Good fun to watch, and everyone seemed friendly enough about letting us in to the circle of spectators.
There was one really strange guy (actually, he was probably just really drunk), who spent about ½ an hour straight standing right next to the fire — often with his arms outstretched, and his eyes meditatively closed — willing all the smoke to billow towards him. If he didn't look so obviously trashed, I might have thought he was performing some sort of vitally important ceremony. But I believe that all he was really doing was getting himself really, really smelly. There was also one very enthusiastic girl, who was dancing huayno near the fire for a long time. Every now and then, she'd let the drunk fella have a dance with her, being the good sport that she was.