Concert and hiking trip in Huancayo

Ashley was sick this weekend, so I was flying solo (yes…after making sure she was ok and had everything she needed).


Saturday night there was a concert in the futbol stadium in Huancayo. All of the Expand Peru volunteers (7 of us), along with our director, volunteer coordinator and a couple of their local friends lined up about two blocks down the road to get inside. While we were standing there in the dark, in a line they were obsessed with keeping single file, small children as young as probably four or five were trying to sell candy and other things. The front of the stadium was lined with vendors, meaning individuals who have set up a cart of homemade food to sell, all along the main street.


After about a 30 minute wait, we were able to enter the stadium. Yes, a group of 7 white people get a lot of stares when standing in line for a concert. The concert was set up inside similar to what an american concert might look like. Large blow-up beer bottles were marking main areas, the Telephonica company was the head sponsor and had their signs everywhere. The bathrooms were the most interesting thing. Port-a-johns were on one side and were free. However, on the other side, there were more permanent bathrooms (no difference in cleanliness), that cost 30 cents with no paper and 50 cents with a couple sheets of papel higenica (TP). Slightly confusing, but it worked. 


The concert consisted of five bands – four opening bands from Huancayo and Lima, then a main band from Argentina. The concert quote, unquote began at 7pm. To let you know, the main band took the stage at 1am. Needless to say, it was a long night. All the bands were a lot of fun. The Peruvians, at least for the first few bands were not too excited and more or less watched contentedly, staying quiet between songs. You could tell the couple of gringo/gringa groups (read white) because they were the small enclaves in the crowd that were screaming and jumping around. By the end of the night, it had caught on for everyone. I think the alcohol might have had something to do with that too though. I walked the 10 minutes home, arriving around 2:30 am. Our director is very protective of us and is always concerned that we will get lost and ended up calling our house at 3am to make sure I got home safely! I was already asleep and was barely able to eake out estoy aqui (I am here) when our house mom asked for me through the door. A night to remember though.


The next morning, after about three hours of sleep, I woke up and met some of the other volunteers at the main bus station to head out for a hike. I believed this hike was to take around 6 hours round trip… this turned out to be 9. Myself, three other volunteers (Mike, Lauren, and Anthony), our director and a couple of his friends, and about 10 of his students all crowded into a Combi (a large conversion van that is the equivalent of a large taxi here) and took the one hour trip to our trail.


We began the trail on the side of a road in a valley, surrounded on all sides by steep sloping foothills. We passed through a mix of cows and dogs as we went by a couple of local homes made from mud and straw. As we climbed (quickly), the altitude took its toll, but we were rewarded with a view of snowcapped mountain tops in the distance and a sprawling view of the valley and river below. We could hear a local brass band playing as we climbed out of earshot (The Peruvians love their celebrations – they even have them for putting up a new tree or paving a street). One hour and thirty minutes later, we reached the ridgetop and were greeted with an expanse of crumbling stone ruins. What was more suprising though was that there were three houses on the ridgetop that even had electricity! Obviously the people who live there do not get out much as they are so isolated from everything.


After another 45 mintues or so, we reached a larger set of ruins that must have been the main community way back when. After a small lunch and some chatting, we set off to a nearby cliff face for a photo opportunity. Now remember that the Peruvian school children were with us – around the age of 15-17. They do not speak English. One of them asked me to take a picture of them (I thought), and I agreed. I soon found out, however, that what they really wanted was to have each of them have an individual picture with me! 10 photos later and lots of giggling, I returned to my volunteer amigos and took some photos with them. 


As we were packing up, the rest of the group took off without us – not sure how this happened. The other three volunteers, not being huge hikers were a little nervous upon realizing this. I was not worried and led the group back to our original path by contouring around the mountain peak. We soon realized that the rest of our group had taken a different route down the mountain… in the complete opposite direction! I had my friends stay where they were and I went off to find where the group was. I soon found them about one thousand feet below us on the opposite side of the peak. I grabbed my friends and we slowly made our way switchbacking all the way down the mountain with no trail. It took about 30 minutes to catch up with them. We ended the trip with a shortcut through a local field of bulls (yes, the ones with horns). We were all extremely tired at the end of the day. The fee for the entire 9 hour trip and 1.5 hour transportation…$3.



3 Responses to “Concert and hiking trip in Huancayo”

  1. Barb says:

    Great post Jason… what an adventure! All of that fun and exercise for $3.00! Glad you were able to navigate them all back to the right place after getting seperated. Great skills! Sounds like fun!
    Love Aunt Barb

  2. Yusuke Mizuno says:

    I am not white.
    Anyway, the trek down was Hellish, but sliding down a slope of dirt was too fun. This is an interesting thing you guys have going on here, I think I might become a dedicated reader

  3. tracy says:

    Jason, What a story! You’re cute. I wonder with your comment about people staying up the mountain due to the distance, if perhaps they go up and down more than u might imagine? (as the term “lazy bones” might not be in their vocab!)Hope Ashley feels better. Hug to both, Mom

Leave a Reply