A coffee festival and an international dinner

Coffee beans and other organic produce for sale at the Coffee Festival
Coffee beans and other organic produce for sale at the Coffee Festival

I got up exceptionally early (by my current standards but a normal time in my old life) as I had arranged to meet Bobbie for a walk up the mountain. She normally runs at 6am but made a concession for me and waited until 6.30 and walked instead of ran. It was a bit of a grey morning, unfortunately, so we didn’t see the sun come up over the mountain but it was a good walk anyway and we chatted the whole way. Unusually, my legs were aching, a problem I haven’t had for a while, so the climb up was a bit more of a struggle than it should have been.

Afterwards, I left Bobbie at her house and walked in to town for supplies for breakfast, which I bought at the bakery. On the way back, I stopped at the small market next to the plaza and had a huge, very cheap, freshly liquidised pineapple, orange and papaya juice, which was served in a glass, accompanied by an additional jug that held the equivalent of another 2 glasses. Not bad for 4 soles or $1! (A glass alone would have cost 6 soles in Cusco.) When having juice in Peru, though, you have to be very specific about the amount of sugar you want and whether you would like water, milk or neither of the latter added. Otherwise, it could be extremely sweet and you could end up with digestive problems with the water. I have no extras just to be on the safe side.

Local ladies twisting wool whilst waiting for customers
Local ladies twisting wool whilst waiting for customers

On my walk back to the house, I briefly watched the setting up for the Coffee Festival that was taking place in the Plaza today. Judging by the fruit and vegetable stalls, it seemed to me that it was more like a Harvest Festival but no doubt there is also coffee involved somewhere!

The rest of the morning was spent sitting and chatting in the garden with Jill and Tim. They were supposed to be leaving today but decided to stay an extra day. They have been travelling by car in Chile, Argentina and Bolivia for 6 months and have another 5 to spend in Peru, Ecuador and Colombia. Apparently, Chile is the only place that foreigners can buy a car and then cross the borders of other South American countries. Even so, they haven’t got the correct papers and have problems on every border, the resolution of which involves bribes of varying amounts. At the moment, they also have something wrong with the car itself and are just hoping it makes it to Ecuador!

Dyed wool for sale at the Coffee Festival
Dyed wool for sale at the Coffee Festival

In the early afternoon, I decided that I ought to do something more with the day so strolled down to the Plaza de Armas to check out the proceedings, which were in full swing when I arrived. I was puzzled for a little while by the row of concrete blocks that had been set up, with accompanying earthenware pots and firewood. It transpired that there was a coffee bean roasting competition! This was a most entertaining and, to me, hilarious, event. There were several rounds of competitors and everyone was smoked out by the fires. I have got no idea who won.

I wandered around, sampling the free coffee (excellent) as well as the cake made by the catering students and some sort of homemade Baileys. There were lots of stalls with produce, including the biggest avocados I think I have ever seen, and, of course, sacks of coffee beans. It was all organically grown and Peru, apparently, produces excellent coffee that is not generally known by the rest of the world. It is just a pity they don’t usually know how to make a cup of the drinkable variety! There were also a few stalls with ladies selling weavings, which I was naturally drawn to and ended up buying one or two things. They may be for presents or I may end up keeping them…….

A rainbow over the mountains
A rainbow over the mountains

When I had had enough of the Festival, I had a walk to the main market before heading back to the house.

I had been invited to dinner again tonight as Shalloney (a Canadian of Indian origin) was cooking one of her grandmother’s curry recipes. It turned into an excellent evening lubricated by a fair amount of wine and beer. Apart from the guests staying at the house, Mabel and David and their children, the yoga teacher, Laura and her husband, Valentino, also a yoga teacher, joined us. It was a very international gathering with someone from Mexico, the Netherlands, America, Canada, Ethiopia, Peru and, of course, me. Peru was playing another soccer game on the television and actually won, which is, apparently, very unusual, so the residents were happy!

Shoes made of rubber tyres for sale in the market
Shoes made of rubber tyres for sale in the market

In chatting to Laura and Valentino, I discovered they were working on an Earthship project and had undertaken an internship in New Mexico, where it had started. This was quite coincidental as one of my son’s had also been working on an Earthship in NZ and it is not a concept that most people would know about. I was very interested to see one in progress.

The party broke up just after 10pm when it was decided that it was about time the children went to bed!

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