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Un Parque y Un Festival

July 21, 2011

Hello Yellow Jacket Fans!

After Machu Picchu I thought that things would be hard to match that. However, I was more than pleasantly surprised.

On Monday we went to El parque de la papa (Potato Park). It is a governmental effort to help preserve the 3800 varieties of Andean potatoes using natural methods. I never would have thought that there were so many types of

Dozens of varieties of potatoes

potatoes, and they actually do all taste different (they gave us a smorgasbord for a snack). I think I was one of the few that enjoyed the talk about biodiversity, though. After all, my focus is Cellular and Molecular Biology so I understand everything that they are talking about. The talk was in Quechua, too, which was a really cool experience. I never thought I would need a translator in Peru…

The best part of the park though, was the hike we did after lunch. Don’t get me wrong, I was really excited to try alpaca meet, and it was really good, but getting to hike through this massive “park” was awesome. While the majority of the group took a break to enjoy the view, a small

Ben, Miguelito and Wagner on one of their hikes

group of us hiked all the way to the top of the mountain. This peak happened to be the highest on the land at 5010m above sea level. Being on top of that mountain was incredible, and so was the view. It was worth the cactus that I fell into on the way down.

While the school week was just average, with two essays and a test, the weekend was yet another incredible experience. Our whole class went to el festival de la virgen Carmen (the patron saint of Peru) in Pisaq. However, Ben, Miguelito and I decided to go and hike in the mountains rather than walk around the town. Yet again, another incredible experience. We got to two peaks before Ben had to get back to the bus.

Sofia, Emilie, Miguelito and I stayed in Pisaq with Emilie and Sofia’s

Guest performance at Chargo

host brother for las bialas (the dances). The day after the main festival all of the chargos (cultural groups) have a competition. This is of course after the night shows, which are run by locals and typically have one chargo per place. Each dance is 30 minutes long and represents a different part of Peruvian history/ culture. We were with the chargo, Las Negrillas, which is a representation of women slaves in Peru. It

Las Negrillas performing in El Centro

was absolutely incredible. We are typically immersed in the culture in our host homes, but not like this. We were the only gringos in sight and we were having an awesome time mingling with the locals. I am so glad I got to experience this awesome cultural event.

If you would like to hear more about el parquet de la papa or el festival de la virgen Carmen and anything in between, check out my daily blog at or email me at


Glenn Travis Wagner

Men’s Swimming and Diving, 2011


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