Up in the valley, away from the worst of the heat, lies the town of Botiza. It's a big place by village standards, but in many ways still retains a small village feel.
Every summer they host what's been come to be known as the Maramusical Festival. The actual weekend changes from year to year, but it's published in the guidebooks and promoted by the local Agroturism houses (rural bed and breakfast establishments).
True to their word, they had a festival this year, but sadly, the tourist musicians from France outnumbered the local musicians. It has become a sort of 'Maramusical Franchese.'
But the musicians who came were excellent, like the Mera Gypsy band, who's CD we'd seen for sale in the USA.
The paucity of local musicians didn't dampen the feeling of celebration amongst the tourists. These Frenchmen played their own folk tunes while we danced, and we all settled back to enjoy a beer and a stroll through the lazy town.
The locals seemed oblivious of the fact they were the destination of a flock of international festival-seeking tourists. Their Market day is also on Saturday, but there was no merchandise for the phalanx of tourists. Only foodstuffs, spare machine parts and western clothing.
By the time this wedding party began their procession, the festival music had stopped, so we tourists all piled in behind. None of the musicians were the same -- they were the real local musicians.
Bell riders and tuica runners.
These women are tourists dressed up like locals. Their Dr. Martin's give them away.
Botiza has found a way to keep their old traditions alive. Because so many of us tourists are interested in their hand-crafts, one can find a weaver at work in most homes, making natural dyed tapestries for sale to the Agroturism houses.
They keep alive the old designs, which depict in simple lines scenes from everyday life.
The Hora Women's Circle Dance will never be forgotten as long as this tapestry survives.
Nor will the means of combing wool before spinning, though it's one step that today even traditionalists do by machine.
Two tourists wait for an impending storm while looking down at Botiza. (Henry and his Peace Corps friend Bill.)
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