Thursday, 24 July 2014

Sunday 20th July - Viva Peru

Well, I thought yesterday was the best day so far but today has topped it. It was a quiet morning - we were all a little tired from going to 'party district' Barranco the previous night and taking full advantage of all the free Pisco Sours we were being offered to get us into the bars. But then, whilst sitting on the sofa, we could hear a band. Curiously, we pulled back the curtains and were greeted with the sight of a marching band in the opposite park blasting some sort of patriotic-sounding melody. Not wanting to miss out on all the fun, I wandered outside. But this was just a little taster of what was to come. I mentioned before about how excited Peruvians get for their Independence Day, which falls on 28th July, and how I went to an amazing parade in honour of it. Well today I also went to a parade - and it was bigger, better, and noisier.

Just getting started

At three o'clock I walked down to the main street that had all been shut off to cars. Hoardes of people lined the streets. Some of the front row people had come incredibly prepared, having brought their own little chairs and tables. I did manage to find quite a good spot though. It was very cosy, but at least I could see.

One of the floats

So, the extravaganza gets started with Chinese Dragons, all colours of the rainbow, snaking their way up the road. Then the drums start beating and the trumpets sound. In the distance I could see the marching band moving closer, and I knew I was in for a treat. Standing still for 4 and a half hours being squashed in from all sides by an excited public all vying for the best viewpoint doesn't sound like much fun, but the show was enthralling. There was everything - bands, dancers, floats, singers, people dressed as toothbrushes, people dressed as Avatars. The fire-fighters and their fire engines made an appearance, as did the Serenazgos (Peru's answer to a police service that can't make arrests - but they do also have Police too). The music, lights, singing, dancing, and cheering from the crowd didn't let up until the last moment. Seeing people waving their little flags and shouting 'Viva Peru' (Long live Peru) kind of made me want to be a Peruvian myself. And once the parade was over and everyone was suitably excited and in a great mood, the jam-packed streets were treated to a firework display of massive proportions (the firework 'waterfall' was my personal favourite). VIVA PERU!

Finishing with a bang

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