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Sunday, 01 January 2017

Empire of the Sun and Moon: A Bolivian Creation Story - Page 2

Written by Daniel Davies-Llewellyn
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I squeezed my way through the tight crowds to a dusty expanse of ground, roughly the size of a football field. Opposite me was the Rock and below it, running its entire length, stood a line of men, backed by colored materials. In front of the men sat a parallel line of be-hatted women, all with the traditional double plaited hair and wearing skirts of different colors. Both they and us were being entertained by a troupe of dancers and musicians. As one group finished another would start up, the sounds of both blurring into one for a time. To the left of the field a group sidled off stage whilst to our right a fresh and invigorated band strutted on, playing and dancing like their lives depended on it. In many ways they did.

 

For hours group replaced group, each individual adding another ingredient to the whole, until the recipe was complete, all cooked under the ever-present ball of fire in the thick blue sky above us. The atmosphere was potent and a weariness soon descended as we headed towards late afternoon.

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As the sun sank lower I noticed the politician from La Paz, now adorned with garlands of multi-colored flowers, chatting casually to a group of musicians and dancers. It was nice to see a member of parliament going beyond the usual meet, greet and go. The reality was that these celebrations meant as much to him as they did to the rest of the partygoers. Any class divide that may have existed had been forgotten, for one afternoon at least.

 

 

As we left the site and filtered away with the rest of the crowd, laughing and joking, I thought back to our Machu Picchu visit a few days earlier and was struck by how, in contrast to what we had just seen, Peru’s biggest tourist draw had been devoid of anything of contemporary relevance to the peoples of South America. 

 

 

Being amongst these people celebrating and embracing their origins and beliefs felt like the cycle of life was being continued. The circle was complete, the past permeated the present and a sense of reality prevailed.

 

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ⓒDaniel Davies-Llewellyn

(Page 2 of 2)
Last modified on Monday, 16 January 2017

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