You’ve got to love a lot about Peruvian Culture, particularly the emphasis on close family life, friendship, love of music, dancing, art, religion, partying, and soccer.
Last night the Iquitos futboll (soccer) team beat Lima for the first time in the division in 16 years. Every place that had a TV facing the sidewalk had anxious, cheering fans looking in the windows and doors and backed into the street dozens deep.
This morning the futboll team flew back from Lima as heros, and the fans nearly closed the airport to worship them. I am sure several passengers missed their flight out of Iquitos because of the traffic jam. There is joy on the edge of the jungle in Iquitos Peru, as the economy comes to a standstill, again.
Marmelita celebrated her 38th birthday Dec.10th. The evening of the 9th I worked at the computer till 11:30pm, took a shower and was just slipping into bed at 11:59 getting ready to say, “Darling, let me be the first to wish you happy birthday”, when there came a sound like a freight train from the sidewalk below our window. There are no trains in Iquitos, so when Marmelita sat up with a start and half shouted, half whispered, “What is that noise?”, I didn’t have an answer.
The train turned out to be a three piece brass band, about 30 of Marmelita’s greatest fans and some of her family. Ten minutes after midnight I became the 41st person to wish her a happy birthday, and the surprise party was in full swing. I never had a trumpet, saxophone, clarinet and drums playing in my apartment before. I kinda liked it. Don’t know if the neighbors did or not. The party went on till 4:00am until the beer ran out. Keep in mind this was on a Wednesday and the economy came to a standstill, again.
Do you have any idea how many Saints Days there are? I should google it to get the total count but the exact numbers would not tell the story any better. On a regular basis the economy shuts down, again, to celebrate the life of a saint.
Throughout the Christian part of the world the economy shuts down for Christmas eve, Christmas, and usually the day after Christmas. I was surprised to learn how the Peruvian culture in Iquitos does Christmas. A large meal is prepared and served at midnight. After the meal people circulate around their neighborhood, visiting family and friends that are also serving large meals. Nearly everyone is welcome to sit down to eat, drink, make merry and then visit around the neighborhood till the first light of morning. That is the beginning of the end of productivity until January 2nd.
You’ve got to love a lot about Peruvian culture, but when do we get the work done?
Bill Grimes, Dawn on the Amazon