Thursday, August 25, 2005

The dance of the drunken grandmother

Out in the sacred valley it is Chicha season, the time when the local booze is ready to be guzzled. Chicha is made out of fermented corn and tastes like a nasty cross between cheap champagne, beer and, well corn.

I know this because Chicha is everywhere, anyone who has a stash of this nasty brew makes a flower shape out of a pale red plastic bag, attaches it to a broomstick or wooden pole, hoists it aloft outside the house, shop, whatever and bingo they are open for business as a bar.

Ed decided to drag us both into a Chicha den in the small town of Ollantaytambo - before I know it we are perched on a bed in a mud brick house, with guinea pigs running around the floor and a bunch of really pissed old ladies, most of whom are speaking Quechua and wearing traditional clothes (ie crazy looking red bowl shaped hats and big colourful skirts with sandals). We are given our warm nasty smelling Chicha and all is well, until one of the drunken Grannies comments in Spanish that Ed and I are quite fat. It takes all my will not to collapse into giggles so I bring myself back down with another sip of the nasty drink. Then finally when it is time to go the most drunken and craziest granny grabs Ed and insists that he dance with her, next thing the radio is on and they are off and away. At first I giggle with all the other granies and feel quite smug taking photos little knowing my turn was to come. Drunken granny makes a lunge for me and off we go, she has my hands in a death grip so tight it makes my eyes water - the song ends and I try and make a run for it, unfortunately Ed comes too close and then off we go again, now all three of us are lurching about the tiny room being held in a death grip. Finally Ed makes a break for it and then I am stuck, she has hold of both my arms and I am being dragged back to the dance floor. I am begging her, telling her I will miss my train, pleading, anything to escape. Even the Chicha lady is trying to prise her fingers off me to no avail - finally I wriggle free and make a break for it, Ed fobs her off with a "tip" for her fabulous dancing and we run - all the way down the narrow alleyway accompnanied by the shrieks of laughter of the evil drunken grannies.


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