Cusco, Peru is obsessed with holidays. I truly believe they could make a holiday out of any occasion. This is partly due to Cusco’s rich history and partly because of all the many Catholic traditions. For this reason, during this time of the year it is difficult to get momentum going and progress made.
Yesterday was Peru’s Independence Day (July 28th). As usual, the whole city shut down and either traveled outside the city or stayed inside. It’s almost eerie to walk through Cusco and not hear the loud traffic and dodge the pedestrians that are pushing their way through … because everyone is late, all the time!
It has taken me almost five years, but slowly I’m changing my habits and my expectations about the Peruvian culture and the holidays. In anticipation of this Independence Day, we announced Sunday, the day before, that a group of us will go to the local park and play. No one had plans to work, and so there were a lot who came to the park.
For several hours yesterday I attempted to compete in high altitudes with the Cusqueñians. We played soccer, volleyball, and basketball. I almost tried to teach them baseball, but eventually decided that it wasn’t worth it. Everyone had a great time, and we celebrated the Peruvian holiday together.