Number of People with Nothing Better to Do

Friday, August 6, 2010

Fiesta del Chicharron (Fried Pork Festival)

Artist from Ica and his most famous drawing.
Hot cumbia dancers (I tried up upload video but didn't work)
Last weekend was the Fiesta del Chicharron in a town called El Ingenio somewhere between where I live and Nazca. A whole festival dedicated to big hunks of delicious fried pork! How great is that?! I was invited by a friend of mine who happened to be the mayor of El Ingenio’s son. He invited me a couple of months ago and I’ve been looking forward to it ever since. I took the bus up to Ingenio, hopped off and caught a collectivo up to the little, out of the way town with no cell phone service. The streets were all torn up because they were being redone. This is going on in a lot of little towns in Peru because all the mayors are up for re-election in a couple of months and they do all their projects just before the elections so people think they actually did something during their tenure.

I met my friend at a lady’s house for lunch. The lady was kind of gringa looking and, according to my friend, her family owned nearly all the land in El Ingenio until the Velasco agrarian reform in the 1960’s when the government took it all. She was also married to a former mayor of Lima. Now the lady, a widow, is kind of a patron of the local art scene and has artists over to her house to paint, drink wine, and hang out. I sat around with a bunch of young artists, ate lunch and listened to them jabber on about esoteric, pedantic bullshit that artists typically talk about when they get together. After lunch, we went up to the fiesta at the stadium.

The Fiesta del Chicharron lived up to it’s name and the expectation. Dozens of vendors had their pots full of huge chunks of fried pork, Homer Simpson’s wet dream. The food was delicious!! I hung out with a buddy who teaches traditional Peruvian dance to kids and a guy who runs a local pottery workshop. They were selling pottery from the workshop painted in the style of the ancient Nazcas. Pretty sweet stuff at a decent price. Chances are that’s what you’re getting for Christmas. Someone broke out the Pisco, a liquor made out of grapes, and we started passing it around and telling dick jokes. Maybe it was the Pisco talkin’ but the jokes were pretty damn funny.

The band kicked in and immediately the people of Ingenio, unlike the timid folks in my town, jumped right in and started dancing and laughing it up. They were super friendly. After a little bit, there were probably about 15 of us in our drinking circle hanging out, giving each other shit and dancing to cumbia cover tunes. The band, Los Hermanos Something-or-Other put on a great show and had a couple of hot dancer girls on stage to boot. I tried to leave several times during the evening to catch the last bus out at 10 but the folks would have none of it. I wound up staying at the fiesta until 1 or 2 in the morning and spent the night on a very thin mattress on the floor of the mayor’s house.

Apparently they have some sort of fiesta in El Ingenio every month, fried pork served at all of them. Can’t wait for the next one!!

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