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Journal #31: Carnival in Cusco

This is from a journal written on February 27, 2022, in Cusco, Peru.

It's the day after our Machu Picchu adventure, a Sunday.

I had initially wanted to pack two-day trips into this weekend since it was our only whole weekend in Cusco, and there are so many things to do here!

But, Brett pushed back. He was still scarred from the Huacachina tour and the thought of doing two tours back-to-back brought up some emotional trauma for him.

So, we compromised. Sunday, we'd have a nice chill day, and maybe we'd take a day off next week to do another tour like Rainbow Mountain. Here's what was on the docket for this lovely Sunday:

  • Sleep in

  • Get massages at the spa (located inside our hostel)

  • Walk around Cusco

  • Smoke some weed

  • Watch a movie

And that's precisely what we did. We slept in until almost 7:30 am (yeah, we're true morning people), got an amazing couples massage ($38 per person, including tip), and ate lunch in the central plaza.

But this is where our plans took a slight detour...

As we were sitting on the terrace of this restaurant enjoying our coca tea and pizza, we could see mobs of kids running all around the square. They were throwing water balloons and spraying some soap canister foam at each other.

It looked like a blast.

Someone had explained to us a few days prior that the locals would be celebrating Carnival today, but we didn't really know what that would look like.

After we finished lunch, we walked along the plaza's perimeter, trying to keep our distance and debating whether or not we wanted to join the action.

Then, out of nowhere — BAM! I got blasted in the face with the spray foam!

B and I looked at each other and raised an eyebrow; oh, it's on.

I tucked my hair into my jacket and zipped it up to my chin. Then we marched into the madness in search of the soap canisters to arm ourselves for battle.

Brett, a 6'6" sitting duck in his white hoodie, was a clear and easy target for the niños and immediately began to take fire from various angles.

As I fumbled for my phone to record the carnage, someone came up behind me and detonated a bulging water balloon on my neck, effectively soaking my hair and back beneath my jacket.

Oh, these kids are good.

We armed ourselves with soap and were finally able to strike back.

Brett sprayed a kid in one direction while a group of others sneak-attacked him from another.

I was trying to fire my suds weapon and record content on my iPhone simultaneously. This method proved to be a highly ineffective battle strategy as I sustained multiple rounds of soap fire to the face.

I was blinded in one eye as one of the lenses of my glasses was covered in sudsy debris. Then, a gang of teens initiated a strike on us, launching water grenades from behind a bench with such accuracy that my jeans had turned a new shade of blue.

Just as we were about to wave the white flag, a mom came up behind Brett and slammed a balloon on his back.

With no more ammo and sopping clothes, we shuffled away from the battlefield and to the safety of an alley. We looked at each other, out of breath and soaked from head to toe, and started cracking up.

What the hell just happened?

After we joined the Carnival chaos, we went back to Selina, cleaned up, and watched Netflix for the rest of the day.



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My boyfriend and I started our digital nomad journey in December 2021. We're just starting out and want to share all the ups and downs with you!

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