huancayo_peru

In Travel

Huancayo: A Backstage Pass

While out with Samantha, a Canadian I came across in Huancayo (whatlittlethings.com), she told me  about a friend of hers named Jonee. Jonee is an American girl who has been living in Huancayo, Peru for 5 years and hosts a TV show called Gringa in Huancayo (Search Una Gringa en Huancayo on Facebook or Youtube).

So the  following night I contacted Jonee and told her I wanted to see the nightlife in Huancayo. She nicely told me that she was going out that night and I should go with her. I met up with her and our first stop was a concert at a place called country club Huancas. The concert was made up of Peruvian and Bolivian bands playing their cultural music. The concert gave me a chance to learn about Peruvian culture especially the culture in Huancayo. I learned about Peruvian alcohol sharing where they pass around a cup of liquor from one bottle whether its wine or beer. This cup is shared between everyone in the group. Later that night I was introduced to the upper management of a beer company in Peru. They so graciously gave us beer and made sure we were having a great night. After the concert we headed over to a club called Taj Mahal at around 2am. This club was split into two rooms one  room was a dance club and the other room was tables with a live band that played both English and Spanish music. The highlight of my night was the when I saw the saxophone player take his saxophone to the bathroom. That is love if I’ve ever seen it. After the club we headed out for some eats. Being 4am the only eats available in Huancayo are Peruvian style Chinese food which is interesting to say the least.

The next night I had a made a plan to attend another concert with Samantha. The concert was a compilation of competitors from the Peruvian reality show ‘Yo Soy’. The show centers on impersonators of famous western and Latin American artists. There was Marc Anthony, Bob Marley, Kurt Cobain  etc. This year’s winner was a man named Ramiro Saavedra who impersonated Kurt Cobain so well it was frightening. I never got to watch the show but I was still interested in seeing these performers live. I headed over to the concert venue and purchased a ticket and then went in to meet Samantha. When I got in I called Samantha to find out where she was. She informed me that a gate had opened and she had ended up in the VIP section and couldn’t leave. I saw one of the owners of the beer company in what I thought was the VIP so I headed over and tried to get through the screaming fans. I somehow got his attention and he remembered me even though there was a language barrier between us. He told me to come around (via body language) and he let me into what I thought was the VIP section but was really backstage. I was completely surprised he had let me in! I also realized that wouldn’t get to see Samantha because we were now in two different areas. So I decided to grab a seat by the side of the stage to take in the show alone. Just as I sat down I saw Jonee filming a segment for her show Una Gringa en Huancayo. Jonee took me under her wing and I stayed by her side as she filmed. I was able to meet and hang out with performers, three of which spoke English which was a nice surprise. The shows headliner was the Kurt Cobain impersonator. When he arrived it was like Jonas Brother mania, I guess that is an out dated reference now… I mean One Direction mania! Girls were screaming and banging on the windows of the backstage area. He is so famous that after his set, security had to have a decoy exit the stage so they could try and remove the real artist without him being mauled.

After the concert wrapped we headed from the stage to the backstage area where the performers treated us and fans to a jam session of popular Spanish songs. And boy does jamming and watching jamming make you hungry. So we headed to a local restaurant called Antojitos (Jr. Puno #599-huancayo). The kitchen closed but when they saw the ‘Yo Soy’ performers they reopened the kitchen. As we ate some of the performers took the stage at the restaurant and performed. Even with a broken leg Leonor Vargas who was impersonating the Latin American artist Gloria Trevi took the stage. All in all an night of epic proportions which was just what I needed.

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