Night of Witches, Day of the Dead    

We end up spending a lot of the afternoons sitting outside in one plaza or another with our practice teachers, fleeing to El Buen Pastor (a bakery whose profits support a children's charity) when it starts to rain. The weather keeps you on your toes: hot sun shifts to cold winds and sudden downpours. One day we ended up sheltering in the post office as the sky dumped loads of hail stones on the town.

On Halloween the sky was ominous and cloudy. Then we heard the crack of thunder and lighting began to flash in 3 different parts of the sky. The next day, The Day of the Living, the sky cleared halfway, allowing the sun to creat a rainbow, the symbol of Cusco.

Today was the Day of the Dead. We were going to go to the larger cemetary but the price of a taxi was double or more than usual and one driver said the traffic was really bad. So we walked to the smaller cemetary. It was packed with people. The graves are above ground in shelves with sections in the front for the name and whatever the family and friends chose to place in the display area: flowers, beer, toys, photos, or other memorabilia.

Since the graves are stacked on top of one another, people walked around renting out their ladders.

There was a lot of cleaning and decorating going on. Musicians played performances for the dead, serenading the grave. Families ate and drank. Where in the US, most events having to do with cemetaries are sombre occasions, this holiday was more like a big party, complete with brass bands and marriachis.

There were a few people who did look sad, and I saw one man praying in front of a grave, but for the most part it was very festive.

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