Meanwhile in Tilcara…

4 02 2008

There’s a party going on.

Yesterday on my way back to my hotel to relax before heading down to the Carnaval festivities, I stopped to watch a parade pass. Along about 30 diablos (men and boys in vibrant, jesterish costumes that are meant to represent the devil) picking off female bystanders of their own size as they went.

The girl next to me went, and next thing I knew my hand too was seized by a diablo, and I entered the fray as well. My diablo gave brief instructions where necessary, in the high pitched voice that goes with the costume. The parade alternated from dancing (he used his tail to whirl me through the streets), to sprinting through the street, and then ducking under the bridges made by other devils and their partners.

We proceeded this way throughout the entire town, and let me just say that what seemed like a small town in the morning didn’t not seem so small after my half hour jog through it. By the end I was sweaty, laughing hysterically, and covered in talco (talcom powder) and nieve (spray snow), which are thrown and squirted by the watching crowd.

But no time to catch your breath. My diablo had scarcely left when the the crowd of bystanders surged into the street, attacking with talco and thrusting jugs (otherwise known as the cut halves of two liter bottles) of homemade sangria my hands.

The rest of the evening was spent dancing in the streets with the rest of the crew, while buses patiently waited for the crowds to clear, which never happens. Until the next parade…