So, here it goes… on Monday I met up with a Peruvian Storytelling brother that I’ve been communicating with for months. His name is Wayqui (which in the language of Quechua means “Friend”). I appreciate this man so much! He went above and beyond to make sure I felt welcomed here in Peru.
Wayqui and I hit the streets Monday and walked, took buses, walked some more and shared stories along the way. I visited the major Plazas here in Lima and even got some inside scoop background history on a few things. There isn’t anything like passing the day with someone local to learn what “really” going on. My once healthy United States diet has been ravaged by my policy of trying things, at least once when abroad.
Wayqui and I went to a restaurant and I had to order the national dish, Ceviche. Now, first of all, you must know that I am not a fan of “anything” raw unless it’s fruits or vegetables but, when in Peru, do as Peruvians. The waiter brought some peppers to our table to accompany the meal. I love a little spice so I started to drop a few on the side of my plate. Before I could dive in, Wayqui warned me to touch one of the peppers and just taste my finger. I did as requested but there wasn’t anything on my finger after touching the pepper. “Just try it,” he urged.
So I placed my finger on my tongue to taste the nothingness that appeared on it and… my mouth literally erupted in flames. I downed the bottle of water that the waiter had brought to our table and then demanded another. There was nothing on my finger! I pushed to small bowl of peppers over to Wayqui and he commenced to putting them down like little pieces of candy. I was more than happy to let him have them all.
I hope to hook up with Wayqui once again. He teaches a storytelling class and I would love a chance to go and meet with his students. My schedule is really busy but I think I’ll be able to make time to drop in on he and his students.
Monday morning was a performance at the National Library of Lima. A school called Saint George’s brought their students over by bus. From the first to the last performance, I had a ton of fun. What was really interesting though was that the woman who coordinated is married to a very well known storyteller, “Mukashi Mukashi.” He’s man who specializing in a form of Japanese storytelling using decorative boxes with animated scrolls known as Kamishibai. That’s an over simplification. There is so much more to the Art of Kamishibai.
Anyway, his wife was the one coordinating my activities and, as we talked, we found out that we had so many people in common. Her husband has literally inspired each and every person I know doing Kamishibai, from my brother Michael Malinowski in Poland to my friends Victor and Angel in Mexico. I shot an email off to him and hope to meet up with him sometime during this tour.
Oh, ok… something odd did happen after one of my performances. As we were taking pictures, a young girl of about 9 or 10 years old asked for my left hand. Innocent enough right? So I give this little girl my left hand and she pulls it towards her face and kisses my gold cowry shell ring. Now when you travel you don’t know if something is a custom or if your dealing with something from the Outer Limits. I thanked the girl and she ran off to her school bus. After inquiring from several Peruvians I have discovered that “this” was not a Peruvian custom. So… I don’t quite know what happened and I doubt I’ll ever see that child again to ask her.
Let’s talk about traffic in Lima for a second. To understand how people drive here all you know to know is that it is an adrenaline junky’s dream land. In one word to describe the manner of driving, “Threatening.” If I had to use another word, “Suicidal.” Now, I’m the one riding in cabs trusting these Kamikaze pilots so I don’t know what that says about me. Pedestrians offer a whole other mind trip. I’ve actually seen people “consciously” walk out in front of moving cars in the coolest, calmest manner of anyone. I wouldn’t even mention it if I hadn’t witnessed this routinely. In conversation with Wayqui he made things really clear, “Street lights and signs are very decorative here in Peru.”
Alright I think I’ve met my quota of words inundation for one evening.
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Dooni dooni kononi be nyaga da.