Saturday, 20 June 2015

Dawn Dancing

She looked me straight in the eye. It was hard to tell which of us was colder. The sun wasn't yet up and a light mist covered the square. An old voice boomed out over the tannoy and the music started. The young girl and her friends started to dance around the fountain in the middle of the square. We were told the dance was called a watiti and represented a love dance of the native Quechua people. These days it was a tourist show, the square was already busy with traditionally dressed ladies setting up their little stalls. I wondered if the dancers enjoyed performing, or if it was a chore before school. The tempo changed and the dancers twirled like the whirling dervishes. As the sun peaked into the Colca Canyon this pretty village seemed to come alive.

We had stopped in Yanque the night before on our drive out of the Colca Canyon from Cabanaconde. Fraser was feeling very ill and rested for the afternoon whilst we explored the local museum. The following morning the alarm shrieked at 5.15am. We took an incredibly early breakfast so we could be at the village square by 6am. We brought some woven souvenirs and did our best to speak in Quecha with the store holders. The church doors were open, so we took a peek inside. I lit a candle in front of one of the grandiose Baroque alters and said a prayer for my family and friends. Returning back to our hostel I found a small yellow bird. I think it had flown into a window. It looked so perfect and was the same species as we had seen during our walk in the Canyon. It was very still. I put it in the sun on the top of a wall, perhaps it would get a second chance.

The old traditions of cranial deformation were practised throughout this area for millennia. These examples we found in the museum at Yanque

The traditional buildings of Yanque constructed using a mixture of stone and mud brick. Most are still in use although a few are in a sorry state

Wonderful door pillars and lintels look like they have been stollen from previous grand buildings

The east face of Yanque's church is ornately carved plaster work dating to the early 1500s

The church towers are build wide and squat as protection from the multiple earthquakes that hit this region

I found this bizarre carving in a cafe's courtyard, I have no idea what it is!

Guess who's the coldest this morning - having a lovely 6am shop in Yanque square

The sun peaks through the clouds at 6.15

I met a lady walking her falcon before work

As the sunlight approached the square the dancing began, slowly at first but building in momentum as they rotated the fountain

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