On the combi from Cajamarca to Celendin I sat next to one of the guys who stops cars and searches them for drugs. He’s on vacation and visiting Celendin because they’re having an ongoing celebration for the next month. I asked him about the route I want to take through the jungle. Apparently there is some narcotrafficking. He said it was no problem. I arrived in the Plaza de Armas in Celendin alone with no plans and nothing to do until the next bus left for Chachapoyas 4 days later on Sunday (tomorrow).
Tired, I wandered around the center looking for a hostal. I had a great one for 15 sols ($5) with private bathroom with hot water at all hours. But the management was shady and kicked me out because they found people who would pay more. I ended up finding one for 10 sols and a more rustic feel. I was made aware that there was a fiesta in progress by the sound of fireworks being fired off the roof. We are not talking about the kind of fireworks that remind you of 4th of July. They´re the kind of fireworks that remind you that your insurance doesn’t cover acts of war.
I decided to check out the plaza. There were thousands of people and in a town with 5000 people that’s really saying something. But being alone in the midst of a crowd where everyone knows eachother makes you feel alone, like an outsider. i began feeling a little sorry for myself, telling myself that travelling alone is tough and scary. But the fact is that it actually requires some effort to be alone. People are only alone by choice. By nature we’re social animals, seeking eachother out. And after about 10 minutes of feeling lost and alone ion a new city I got up some nerve, scouted out an appropriate throng of youngsters and began conversation.
Like most Peruvians they were incredibly friendly and asked me the usual questions about where I was from and what I was doing around. Then in a little bit the men ran off and bought some rum to mix with sprite. And it was here that I began to notice the differences in culture. They had a 2 litre of Sprite and a litre of rum and a dixie cup. The object is to pass around the dixie cup, the sprite and the rum and mix yourself a 1/8 of a drink. This progresses rapidly and in half an hour the bottle was done and and we proceeded to a bar where they began to drink heavily.
In the next few days, the local 20 year olds adopted me and took me around the town and to visit the local hotsprings. It was nice.
I coordinated with Tanalees from SAE back in Lima. She’s on vacation with her sister and I cought a combi to Leymabamba to meet her. I arrived the day before and had a chance to explore the town. I met with two nice European ladies who were visiting the local weaving and milk products factories. Peru is my training grounds for checking out new travel styles and it’s cool to see different traveller types. These guys go into every store and ask “hey, where do you get this stuff”. Then they visit the factory. Pretty cool.