So yesterday was the big day, Inti Raymi, festival of the sun, Incan festival held in the 1500´s to wish for a good harvest and for the sun to come back. I must say, it was quite a production! A few downsides: others would say the major hike up, but I think it was good training. I should probably do the same one, every day with a big pack on my back!
We left at 10 to get seats but it didn´t start until 2 so there was a lot of sitting on a very steep hill, which eventually got a bit uncomfortable. The ceremony was interesting and fun to watch but all of the speaking was in Quechua, which of course I do not understand. According to above mentioned newspaper, there were audio problems anyway.
I think photos will describe this event more accurately than words can, though I will admit I am a bit disappointed in both my blogging here and my travel journal. I have found that I am spending so much time recording the many things I have done and places I´ve gone, that by the time I have done that, I am not spending a lot of time on thoughts or reflections. Hopefully I can get better at that but it has been a whirlwind week! Photos below are worth enlarging for detail! (in my humble opinion). Also if I ever figure out how to post a video I took on my camera, it should really capture the music, language, and movement. (any suggestions, John?)
Anyway, after many hours of waiting, we could see in the distance hundreds of brightly dressed people filing into Sacsayhuaman, an Incan ruin used for the festival. The way they filed in was very dramatic, as there are several levels of the ruins. First all the warriors lined up in formation in the distance.
Then, dancers and musicians came on the side, on a terrace. Then a group carrying rainbow flags (which are, by the way, the Cusqueñan flag, not the gay pride flag) came in and lined up up and down the hills. The Incan King was carried in on a golden throne. He got on stage and called in the warriors.They were in 4 groups. In Inca times, Cusco was the center of the world (sometimes called the navel of the world) and the rest of the world was divided by the 4 cardinal directions, north, south, east, and west of Cusco. So the king called in each group or tribe by their direction and that´s how they assembled. Each group also had its own group of dancers.
When the king got to the stage, he and everyone else faced the sun and bowed down and he said something in quechua, presumably about the sun coming out. Amazingly, it did, right on cue, during this overcast day! He was good! :) There was also a supposed llama sacrifice but we decided that it was fake. It was quite a production, all in all, but it ended quite suddenly. People were still dancing in the field when tourists started walking through to leave.
We were wiped out after a day of hiking and then hours of sitting. Sadie and I got dinner back in Cusco, which is never a short experience, and I went to bed early. This morning, a new week of classes with new professors started. I did get down to a museum this afternoon and found the famous 12-sided stone. I have found myself having a fascination with stones and Inca rocks here!
Count ém, 12 sides!