16 September 2007

Ritual epilepsy

I went to another festival today. This one was in an outlying neighborhood and a bit rougher around the edges. To be blunt, I think the one I went to yesterday was for rich people and this one was for poorer people, though ironically (or not?) this one had an admission fee and you had to pay to use the toilets, whereas yesterday's glamorous affair was totally free. My theory is that today's was a real festival organized by local people who need money to pay for it and that yesterday's was more a chamber of commerce sort of thing. I went because it happened to be a festival of music and dancing of the people of Colca Canyon, where I'm going tomorrow, though mostly people were just getting drunk and playing soccer. One of the dances I found particularly intriguing, because the participants periodically pantomimed convulsive seizures. I don't know why, but the synchronicity alarmed me. Could they have been imitating the divine possession of the Andean mountain gods? Was I myself so transported in the Cordillera Huayhuash? Am I depriving myself of mystic wisdom by taking this pill every 8 hours? Perhaps I will find the answers tomorrow, when I head into the home of these faux-epileptics, the world's second deepest canyon. You will have my report some days from now, when I emerge and remove to Cuzco.

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