lunes, 8 de junio de 2009

Corpus Christi in Pujilí

Last Saturday, we went to Pujilí to see the Corpus Christi festival, which takes place once a year on a variable weekend in June. Pujilí is a dusty, little town situated at an altitude of 2900m, close to Latacunga. In Pujilí, there is pretty much nothing going on the whole year except for this festival, which is famous all over the country for its national and international folkloric parade.
After a two-hours bus ride on Saturday morning, we reached the village and were just in time to secure seats for all of us on the tribune, which nevertheless didn't look to secure. It actually just was constructed out of a few shelves, and we had to climb it with a ladder... So after waiting half an hour, the spectacle started with the local police, which showed an acrobatic performance on their motorcycles, followed by a band on horseback, folkloric dance groups, more bands and orchestras etc. The parade lasted for about 5 hours with groups from all over the country. But after sitting 2 1/2 hours on the hard tribune, eating sweets and taking pictures, we were ready to eat a real "almuerzo" and went to a local restaurant. After that, we strolled through the big market, played a game of table soccer (“futbolin”) and went to look at a church.
Later in the afternoon there was a "corrida" taking place, which all of us thought it was bullfighting, therefore nobody wanted to see it until a man told us that it was not a bullfight, but just people "playing" with the bull. What that meant? None of us had a clue, but we were curious and decided to go and take a look. And truly it wasn't bullfight (puh, we were relieved!) There was the arena, and in the arena, one bull and a few daredevil guys who tried to tease the bull (by swinging clothes or just by running by in front of the bull) until the bull went after them. It was hilarious!!! The guys were running as if stung by an adder, jumping over the barrier and continuing running up the stairs!!! Every 15-20 mins, the bull was replaced by another, fresh one. ;-) And always in the little break until the next bull came in, the guys drunk alcohol! So they got braver and braver, but also slower. One man overestimated himself and a cornada (horn wound) on his leg! That was not nice to see, but on the end, all of them know about the risk, and I am sure there are some men who do this every year. Finally, after watching the “corrida” for about an hour, we headed back to Quito.