Dancing Horses, Inca Religion, and some English for a Change

We finally made it to double digits in Trujillo—as of today we have spent ten days here. I am finally starting to feel comfortable —I have a routine I follow every day and I do not feel like an awkward foreigner anymore. However, every day still brings new differences and challenges—even now I am struggling to type on this Spanish keyboard (you will notice there are no apostrophes because I cannot find them among all these other symbols). But I digress.

Today started off like every other day at school: I woke up at 6:45, showered and had breakfast, then walked to school before classes started at 8. Classes were also pretty standard, other than the activity we did where we walked around Trujillo to ask local universities about the classes they offered, their prices, etc. My group ended up getting multiple brochures from a very nice representative of a technical college here.

Anyway, classes ended at noon, but instead of having 3 hours to eat lunch like we normally do, we had a very quick lunch from 12-1 because at 1 we convened to go to a horse show called “El Show del Caballo Peruano de Paso y la Marinera Norteña.” It was really hot outside and they could not get the speakers to work for some 20 minutes, but when everything was finally ready it was actually quite incredible. Four horses walked out with their riders all dressed in fancy clothing, with Peruvian music playing in the background. An announcer told us all about the history of the horses and their importance while the riders displayed their beauty, riding around the field, sometimes mere feet from where we were sitting.

They displayed one full-grown Caballo Peruano de Paso (the type of horse being shown), after which they brought out a 25-day old horse to run around with the bigger horse (while playing “The Circle of Life” which most of us found quite amusing). Then they let us feed the horses with alfalfa, which proved quite terrifying for some of us in particular. After this they displayed the abilities of the horse more by riding around in a figure 8 and having one of the riders ride while holding pisco (wine) without spilling a single drop. After this, two younger people came out and performed the marinera (important Peruvian dance), who were followed by riders on horses who performed the Marinera Norteña, both with other riders and with dancers on foot. They did this with the traditional music associated with the marinera, and because this is the dance that we have been learning in our dance classes it was pretty cool to see it performed live both with people and with horses.

After the conclusion of the show, we returned to the school to have a discussion (a “charla” as we called it in Spanish) about the history of the religion of Peru—specifically, the religion of the Inca. Our speaker was very good and informative, and unlike our previous two speakers, he actually had some videos that went with his presentation that further supplemented what he had to say. We learned about the principal gods of the Incas—the sun god was the main god, but they also had various secondary gods, like the moon, lightning, the stars, the mountains, and other various entities of nature. We learned the Incan names of these gods (for example, the sun god is “Inti”) and also that much like in many contemporary religions, the Inca believed in 3 main “worlds”: the world of humans, the world above (for the gods) and a world below for the dead. These were called Hanan Pacha, Kay Pacha, and Ucu/Urin Pacha, respectively. We learned about their feast days which occur once a month, and about many of the sacred places and temples that the Incas had before the Spanish conquests. Overall, it was a very interesting lecture.

And after that, we had the opportunity to visit various classrooms in pairs where there were Peruvians learning English. We let them interview us and ask questions about where we were from, what our country is like—some of the questions were strange or specific, like “What is the strangest building you have ever seen” or “Have you been to Las Vegas? Do you like Peruvian movies?” Others were very controversial like “What do you think about Ferguson? What about illegal immigration?” It was a very interesting experience, but a good one, and the fact that we were able to openly speak English was very nice, after more than 2 weeks of nothing but Spanish.
Anyway, thanks for reading this all the way (or skipping to the end, you lazy reader)! This trip has been absolutely fantastic and we still have almost a week of it left to experience more. Ciao!

The horses had very smooth gaits, and are well-known for being able to ride without spilling a glass of Pisco.