Sunday 23 May 2010

Cada Sunday

One of the great things about South America is that you can never be quite sure what will wake you up in the morning. Dogs, fairly often. Car horns are popular. Firecrackers. Singing, whistling, chanting. Drums, maybe. Or, if you're unlucky, like me, diarrhoea. This morning it was all of them - no telling which delivered the fatal blow.

Sat on the roof eating a meagre breakfast, I could hear the beginnings of some kind of carnival. Outside and it is really going off. A giant procession is snaking its way through the streets, and it seems like the whole town must be involved. I walk past groups of similarly clad ladies gearing up for their turn.

The locals who aren't taking part are lining the streets. Kids with cameras are running around taking pictures of their mums. As well as the colourfully clad traditional groups, there are student doctors, nurses, men and women in suits, all marching under one banner or another.

I peel away and have a wander around the quiet back streets for a while. I make my way to a small square away from all the action, only to find a miniature version in full swing there. Benches from the church have been put out in the street, and there's a group of Peruvian Morris Dancers [citation needeed] dancing in front of some kind of golden altar. Not sure what the Vatican would make of it all, but they seem to be enjoying themselves.

The main square, Plaza de Armas, is the destination for the main procession. I can't quite work out where they all go after, maybe they just head back to the beginning and start again. Either way, it's a great atmosphere. The drums are beating, trumpets are blowing, people are dancing. Everyone, myself included, has a smile on their face.

The best thing about it all is that it is completely inclusive. Young and old, all shades, shapes and sexes. It must be a pretty special occasion to bring all this about, and I'm wracking my brains to work out what it might be. I can't think of anything religious, and I haven't seen any streets named 23 de mayo, which normally gives it away. Eventually I give in and ask someone. ¿Que pasa hoy? I ask a pretty girl. Es Cada Domingo señor. Cada Sunday? What the hell is that? Cada Sunday? Cada. Cada. Cada.

Oh yeah, got it. Cada. Spanish for each.

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