Day 19 – Ayacucho

A typical older woman from the countryside walks the streets of Ayacucho. Fewer women dressed like this will be seen as the old women pass away and the younger ones dress in miniskirts.

This man is a master alabaster carver. He showed us this tool which he uses to work the stone. It is made of a piece of a special tree. He inherited it from his grandfather.

Back “downtown,” we came across a massive parade. It seems there’s one every day. October is the month of miracles, the largest celebration being in honor of El Señor de Los Milagros, where masses of people flock to Lima to follow his image through the streets. Here in Ayacucho, the Plaza is a perfect place to hold parades, and we saw two today.

The kids have great fun in these processions, and their dancing is exuberant if not always fine form.



The vendors are all out in their finery to sell sweets.

This lady is making muyuchi, a hand-made ice cream typical of Ayacucho. She makes it by twirling milk and other ingredients around and around in a bucket full of big blocks of ice.

Throwing caution to the wind, I tried one. It tasted like caramel. Not bad, but the many stands around the plaza sell better tasting ice cream. It was a little prelude to lunch, which we ate in the ViaVia cafe. It is very convenient with good food and a nice atmosphere. We usually have two hours for lunch. It goes quickly, for even though the food is good, the service is rather slow, and the wait staff runs on Peruvian time.

On entering the cafe court yard, I came across one of guides, GianCarlo, talking with these two young men. I came to their table to see what was going on. It turns out they were high school students interviewing English speakers as a school project. I volunteered to be next interviewee, and as one student interviewed, the other recorded video.

Sadly these two boys could do nothing outside of their scripted interview questions. When I asked them what they were doing, they answered in Spanish. I encouraged them to speak in English, saying, “I don’t know much Spanish, but I try.” The school system here lacks quality, and most people send their kids to private school if they can afford it.

After lunch, we went to a weaving studio where the family uses natural dyes and hand weaves carpets for export. They spread these carpets on the floor for us to admire.

This sweet-looking man is a master jeweler.

He works on a base of resin to emboss designs in his work.

In the evening, Alison and I attended a folk music concert. None of the others in the group were interested, but that is just as well, because going in a group of 8 can be troublesome. Alison is a former librarian from Melbourne, and our interests seem to fit well together.

We thoroughly enjoyed the Andean folk music, including a man who played the ram’s horn. We were only two of four audience members who were not Peruvian. No one stared or said a word. Very enjoyable.

Tomorrow we have a free day to relax and revive.

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