Tag Archives: Full Moon Lodge

The bullfight and Ollantaytambo’s 137th Anniversary

We were once more “lucky” to be at a certain place at the very right time: just a couple of days after we got to Ollantaytambo, the little town celebrated its 137th Anniversary. The celebration started on a Thursday and continue all the way until Sunday, with parades during the day and concerts and party in the main square during the night. We went there on Friday with the gang at the lodge and had a huge and most delicious trout sold by mamachas on the side of the road (we realised later that was one of the things never missing at any big celebration, together with the chicha and the rivers of beer flowing down pretty much everyone’s throat). After having the trout and chicha and watching some parades (people from 35 different communities in the mountains came down that day dressed up in their traditional clothes and proudly carrying the community’s flag) we went back to the square during the night with some of our guests, Dave, Jess and Dave (another Dave). There was a concert going on, the Andean version of Britney Spears, and once she was done (and boy were we happy she was done) another band came on stage. Our happines was short lived, as for the next hour they sang a few songs that to us all seemed to be one single song with different lyrics. The melody was exactly the same for all the songs, and only the lyrics seemed to change every now and then. Nobody else by us seemed to mind though, and the square was full of people drinking beer, dancing away and enjoying themselves as best they could.

By the time we went back, just after midnight, the spirits were pretty heated and some people were already starting fights with eachother. We saw only one, two guys who were so drunk they couldn’t even properly fight, but they were more just falling on each other and then to the ground, punching the air and shouting some indecipherable swear words to their opponent. A couple of policemen were there too, but they seemed more amused than alarmed, and we later found out this was every day reality for them,:people getting ridiculously drunk then starting fights with each other. One man said as we were leaving: “Oh yeah, this is when it begins, but wait until later, there’ll be fights everywhere!”

We clearly did not wait, but the next day we met Craig, a texan we had befriended who was managing a restaurant in the plaza, and he told us that when he got up for work in the morning the plaza was covered in drunkards sleeping on the pavement, locals and gringos alike, nothing under them and nothing over them either, even though the nights do get pretty chilly in the Valley. We talked about the alcohol madness in the region and we couldn’t reach a conclusion about why people drink so much here. Some said boredom, others said habit, culture, “children do what children see”… In any event, it made me think of this really sad fact I’ve noticed during my travels: that too many people all over the world constanly feel the need to drink themselves happy.

Sad? You bet.

 

Our first bullfighting experience

Another thing that was happening during the celebrations was a bull fight – something neither Boca nor I had seen before, and something we were even unaware was so popular in South America. Well, I guess it would have been hard for the Spanish not to leave such a strong tradition behind. Even though we’re definitely not fans of seeing animals being killed, and especially purely for entertainment, we decided to go and experience a corrida in the hope we would understand it better and be able to form our opinions and judgements after. In the end we can’t realy judge something we have not ourselves experienced, right?

We were lucky we had Miguel with us, as he seemed to be a bit of an expert on bull fights and he explained everything we needed and wanted to know. We had no idea how many little rules there were and how complex this “art” or “sport” actually was. How the bulls have to be grown to 450-500kg before being used for a fight, and that takes up to 5 years. How when a bull is taken out for a fight, that is its first time out in the ring, and it’s never used for “training” purposes before. How the only way you can tell if the bull is going to be a good fighter is by testing the mother and her fighting instinct. How if the matador does not perform the killing smoothly, he is given a fine. How if he performs it really smoothly he receives one of the bull’s ear, both ears or both ears and the tail. How the clowns are there to entertain the audience, but mostly to intervene when a matador is in trouble, distracting the bull. “Their job is very risky”, Miguel told us, “they are very brave to be taking up such jobs”. Or maybe they’re just adrenaline junkies, I though. Or might be full of guilt for something in their past and that’s how they make themselves feel better about it. Or they are suicidal. Or… who’s to know, anyway…

The show was supposed to start at 3pm and Miguel said we should be at the place early to get good seats. We got there after 2.30pm and the place was still close to empty. We got some great spots, in the front row so very close to the action (the arena was very small anyway, not even close to a “real” one) and also just near the lady selling beers from a bunch of boxes. What else could you desire? People starting coming in more seriously after 3.30, and the first bull came in just before 5pm. Latin American time, indeed!

We were happy to realise the show that day was not an official one, so none of the bulls were going to be killed at the end. That made us feel so much better, as the moment the first bull was led into the arena both Boca and I already wanted to cry at the though they would be killing that beautiful creature. The show lasted for about 2 hours and it was definitely an interesting experience – not one that made us change our opinion about the cruelty and unnecessity of killing the animals though. No matter how much Miguel tried to explain to us that is was nothing but “art”, we just did not see the point of all the killing.

What stunned us (and what actually made the show more exciting) was the fact that random people were allowed to go inside the ring and take a shot at the bull. There were plenty of macho men eager to show off their manhood and impress those present (and probably themselves). The first guy who did it was hammered, so the bull stepped on him quite well a couple of times, to the mad crowd’s delight. He stayed in the arena until the end, but mostly hidden behind protective screens, not nearly as brave as he had been in the beginning. Another guy jumped in drunk as well and picked a fight with the clown. His little girl, who was not more than 6 or 7, jumped in to help her daddy out. The crowd gasped – the bull was still in there! We all held our breath as the policemen came in and took the girl and her crazy drunk father out. We the foreigners seemed to be the most alarmed ones though, as probably for the locals this was again nothing out of the ordinary.

That was our first bull fighting experience, and probably the last one for a long time to come.

 

Full moon at the Full Moon Lodge

On November 10th, a full moon day, Vince and Carlo decided to organise the first of what would be a monthly celebration to honor the full moon. It had everything – great food cooked by Gabriel, good music played by us, a lovely local band that played Andean music, beer and Pisco Sour, really lovely guests and a big fire to celebrate it all. The highlight was a shaman who talked a bit of Andean traditions then performed a ritual in which we all used coca leaves to put in our wishes and then offer them to Grandfather Fire. The other highlight was a night tour to the ruins nearby, to see the moon lighting up the whole hill with its bright and lovely shine. The moon that night was spectacular, and the celebration memorable. We thought it was a good way to introduce and prepare us for 11.11.11, the day we had been looking forward to since we first came to South America.

 

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Bika viadal Ollantában

Szabad időnkben van idő Carloval, barátaival és nagybátyjával, s annak barátjával lógni, akik mind nagyon kedves és segítőkész emberek. Vince, Carlo nagybátya, aki a lodgeban tartózkodik 1 hónapot, majd megy vissza amcsiba, nagy szeretettel kezel minket, s sokszor hoz nekünk gyümölcslevet a piacról reggel a reggeliért cserébe, amit nekik csinálunk 🙂

Velük mentünk el a helyben rendezett bika viadalra is, amit Ollanta 137dik évfordulóján rendeztek. Iunia és az én életem első bikaviadala volt, ami szerencsére nem volt professzionális, mert mint utóbb kiderült a prof-on megölik a bikákat, amit semmikép sem akartuk volna látni. Épp elég traumát okozott nekem gyerekkoromban hallgatni a malacok sírását, mikor disznóvágás volt nagyiéknál…

Szóval itt csak 250kgos bikák és tehenek küzdöttek a matadorral a szokásos 500kgos helyett, de nekünk ez pont elég volt, hogy képet kapjunk milyen is egy viadal. Persze a matadorok tánca a bikákkal érdekes látvány volt, ahogy a szines kendőt rázzák, majd hagyják, hogy a bikák 2cmre tőlük vágtassanak el szarvacskáikkal.

 

Minden, amit a bika viadalról tudni kell

Miguel, Vince barátja nagy bikaviadal rajongó, így sikerült egy két érdekességet megtudnunk eme eseményekről. Például, hogy állt 3 torreádor van egy viadalon és fejenként 3 bikával küzdenek. Ahogy említettem a bikák átlagosan 500kg-osak, s még sosem vettek részt viadalon. Minden bikának ez az első küzdelme, sosem tanítják őket. Onnan lehet tudni, hogy a bika jó küzdő lesz e vagy sem, hogy az anyját tesztelik, hogy az hogyan küzd. Az igazi viadalon a matadornak meg kell ölnie a bikát. Azonban ha nem egy döféssel teszi ezt meg, pénz büntetésben részesül. Ha “szép” volt a döfés, akkor jutalomként megkaja a bika egyik vagy mindkét fülét vagy estleg a farkát is. Mit ne mondjak ezt elég szörnyű volt hallgatni. S Miguel hiába próbálta magyarázni, hogy ez művészet, mi akkor is csak a hidegvérű ölést láttuk, s nem értettük miért kell a bikákat a másvilágra segíteni. Amikor megláttuk az első bikát, aki szinte halálra rémülteni kapkodta a fejét, hogy most mi történik vele, s miért kell neki az életéért küzdeni mind a kettőnknek összeszorult a szíve, s szinte éreztük a bika félelmét a levegőben.

A viadalon van egy bohóc is, aki szintén a bikával – monjuk azt – játszik. Eleinte nem értettük, hogy ez miért kell, de Miguel rögtön elmagyarázta, hogy a bohóc az, aki eltereli a bika figyelmét ha a matador bajban van, ígyhát az ő feladatuk a legveszélyesebb. Ezen a viadalon a bikák fele nem volt nagyon agresszív, így a bohóc még rá is ugrott az egyik hátára viccből.

Voltak olyan bátor jelentkezők is, akik a nézőközönségből léptek elő, hogy kicsit megtáncoltasság a bikákat. Ezek közül volt tehetséges és talaj részeg is, aki tuti az életével játszott volna egy rendes viadalon, itt szerencsére a bohóc megvédte a bikuci támadásától, s végül persze a rendőröknek kellett az apukát kivinnie a pályáról miután a férfi vagy 6 éves kislánya beugrott a karámba apucit “megmenteni”… hát mit ne mondjak, egyes szülők teljesen felelőtlenek, főleg mikor részegre issszák magukat. Azt hiszem ez az, ami minden országban ugyan az, emberek, akik az alkoholtól várják a boldogságot.

Bika viadal mellett volt kakas viadal is, de azt nem sikerült megnéznünk (talán jobb is). A téren mindenféle felvonulás volt, ahol 35 különböző hegyekben élő falvak lakói jöttek le népviseletben, a zászlajukkal, hogy bemutatkozzanak. Volt sok szép kosztüm, s egy pár számunkra vicces vagy ilyesztő is. Emellett frissen sült keszeget is lehetett venni ebédre, ami kicsit drágább volt (7 soles, USD2), mint egy menu de dia (3-4 soles) de a keszeg kétszer akkora volt. Eme ételt hatalmas főtt kukoricával tálalták, s evőeszköz hiányában midnenki csak kézzel ette 🙂

Napjaink tehát így zajlottak a nyugodt, de túrista teli kisvárosban, ahol egy jópár új ismerősre tetünk szert, akik szintén külföldiek, s akik valahogy mind hasonló indokkal voltak errefelé: elegük volt otthoni gringo (fehér ember) életükből, s valami változást szerettek volna, így Latin Amerikai körútra jöttek, avagy eladák mindenüket és ideköltöztek.

A Szent Völgy egy csodálatos hely, immár harmadik hónapja boldogan szagolunk bele alevegőbe errefelé. Aki erre jár, ide mindenkép el kell jönnie!

 

Milyen volt a különleges 11.11.11 andoki szertartás és egy különösen nőknek tartott inka szertartás, megtudhatjátok a következőkben…

Olleantaytambo and volunteering at the Full Moon Lodge

We caught a 9am bus from Juliaca just minutes before it was about to depart, said good bye to Silviu when we got to Cusco and got back to Olleantaytambo on a Tuesday evening after a full day of traveling. We landed in the middle of a party celebrating Thomas’ birthday, one of Carlo’s friends and at the same time one of the many foreigners working/volunteering in Olleanta. It was aparently pretty easy to find such oportunities there, and a lot of people were excited about spending a bit of time in the little town. Upon talking to people we found out some travelers do what we were about to do regularly: when in a new place they look for a hostel/lodge to volunteer in for a couple of weeks, and use the time to soak up the spirit of the place and see all there is to see around there too. If you’re traveling on a budget and with no time restriction, this is something you might want to consider so that you can spend more time in a place with way less money. Some travelers search hostels online and write to them before they head to a new destination, so by the time they get there they already know where they’ll be volunteering and for how long. Pretty awesome idea, we thought, and had we known about this before we would have surely done it in the other countries we’ve be

We were exhausted the night we got to the lodge, so we spent a bit of time getting to know some of the people, then had a well deserved good night sleep, preparing for the next day – our first day of “work” :).

 

Starting work

When we got up at 6.30am we realised we had “chosen” the best day to start working: the day after a party! The kitchen was in a terrible shape and it took us almost 5 hours to bring the place back to looking reasonable. Carlo then gave us a short “tutorial” on what we were to do while there: our arrangement was 5 hours a day, 5 days a week, mainly in charge of breakfast for the guests in the morning and then keeping an eye on the place, taking care of accommodating the new guests and keeping the register up to date. Seemed simple enough, and later we found it indeed was!

We felt at home at the lodge starting day 1, and that feeling only continued to grow for the next couple of weeks. Carlo’s friend Gabriel from Lima was there, and a few days later Carlo’s uncle Vince (who’s in fact the owner of the lodge) and his friend Miguel came over as well, so we had ourselves quite an awesome little “gang”. There was no time for boredom or dullness, that’s for sure:).

And then there were the guests, some of whom we connected so well with that we still keep in touch. We loved spending time chatting to them, playing cards and sipping wine, or just sharing stories around the fire until late into the evening. We found the people coming to Peru in general and Sacred Valley in particular to be quite a different kind of tourists, with a story about how they gave up their “former” life in search for something, in search for themselves. Very similar to the people we met in the Eco Yoga Park in Argentina, and also to many of the people I had met in India. It was inspiring and lovely to hear these people’s stories and notice the similarities with, why not, our own. The idea that so many people out there are dissatisfied with what society says they should do in order to be happy, and are searching for that thing that will truly make them so, that idea gave us hope that people are and will be learning more and more how to really find fulfillment and happiness.

 

Every day at the lodge

A big part of the days spent at the lodge were full of different other activities, from attending different ceremonies back in Urubamba, to celebrating Olleanta’s 137th Anniversary with its inhabitans, experiencing our first bull fight (as spectators, of course) and fist Andean baptism, and taking part in a beautiful Full Moon Celebration (read about these experiences in the next post). The days when we didn’t go anywhere flowed pretty smoothly, with a similar program each day: waking up at 6.30am, finishing with breakfast by 10 or 11, then lying in the shade with the laptop or a book until lunch time, having some lunch in town, maybe distributing some cards to tourists met on the way, then back to the lodge for another round of writing and reading. We’d usually end the day curled up in bed with some pop-corn and a good movie. Not bad days they were, that’s for sure:).

 

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Ollantaytambo és a Full Moon Lodge -ban való dolgozás

2 csodás nap után Taquille szigetén, itt volt az idő, hogy visszatérjünk Ollantába és elkezdjük önkénteskedésünket.

Mikor már a buszon ültünk visszafelé rápillantottunk a perui vítzumunkra, s láttuk, hogy az nem 3 hónapra, hanem csak 2re szól, így 4 nap mulva lejár.

Szerencsére tudtuk, hogy nincs nagy baj, mert lejárt vízával is lehet az országban maradni, s csak a kilépéskor kell majd USD1-t fizetni naponként, amennyivel tovább maradtunk. Amúgy sem vot nagyon mit tennünk, mert már a buszon ültünk, s visszajönni, átlépni a határon, megszállni Chilében 1 éjszakát, s visszabuszozni, nem érte volna meg. Ígyhát 10 perc gondolkodás után nyugodt szívvel utaztunk tovább.

Napjaink a napsütéses Ollantában csöndesen telnek. Reggel 6kor kelünk, ahogy eddig is, majd a piacon kezdjük a napot reggilit véve. Majd 7től 10ig reggeli készítés, ami gyümölcs salátából, tojásból, kenyérből és lekvárból áll. 10től 12ig, pedig csak az edények mosogatásával és a vendégek ki és be jelentkezésével kell foglalkoznunk, ami mellett mindig van idő a kertben olvasgatni. A lodgeban csak 6 szoba van, melynek egyikében mi vagyunk, így szerencsére sosincs nagy tömeg így kényelmesen tudjuk a reggelit készíteni. Délutánjaink szabadok, amit a városban való sétállással, névjegykértya osztogatással, vásárlással, ebédeléssel és internetezéssel telnek.

 

Ollanta maga

Ebédelni állt a piacra megyünk szokás szerint, ahol a legolcsóbb az étel a városban. Ollantáról azt tudni kell, hogy egy gyönyörű szép városka, hatlmas hegyekkel körülvéve és inka romokkal a hegyoldalon. A városban az utca nagy kövekkel van kirakva, ami kicsit középkori stílust eredményez, ami nekem személy szerint nagyon tetszik. Rögtön bele lehet szeretni a helybe…

A gyönyörű körneyezet mellett sok kávézó és étterem van a fő téren, így mindig lehet hova beülni. A régies stílusú házak között, amik szűk kis utcákkal vannak összekötve élvezet sétállni. Ollanta az a hely, ahonnan a vonat indul a Machu Picchura, így rengeteg túrista száll meg itt naponta. Ha valaki nem vonattal szeretne menni az Inka romokhoz, akkor azok is rengetek sétálló, bicikliző opciót találhatnak itt.

Ollanta csak 15 percnyire van Urubambától, de az árak sokkal drágábbak. Ez persze azért van, mert ez az egyik leg turiszikusabb város a Szent Völgyben Cuzco után a fent említettek miatt. Rengeteg hostel és hotel található a városban, s a fő tér körül is sok puccosabb étterem van a túristáknak. Még reggel a piacon is legalább 30%al drágábak a zöldségek, gyümölcsök, így megéri hetente 1x átmenni Urubambába vásárolni. Ilyenkor álltalában úgy nézünk ki, mint a málhásak Iuniával, főleg mikor a 180db tojást cipeltük haza… 11 kg volt 🙂 ennyi tojást se vettem még sosem…

Persze ha valaki erre jár, mindenkép ajánlom, hogy megszálljon a városban, mert gyönyörű. S persze ilyenor a Full Moon Lodge-ba gyertek (www.fullmoonlodgeperu.com), ahol egy dupla ágyas szoba 55 soles continentális reggelivel vagy 60 soles (USD20) Amerikai regelivel.

S, hogy milyen is egy bika viadal? Hamarosan megtudhatjátok!