The nightlife in Pariwana is curious. They try a bit too hard. On my last night I decide that the time was ripe to be sociable. So I went upstairs and ordered two gin and tonics (it was happy hour) while trying to work out how to break into the circle of people sat around the big table. They were playing ring of fire, organised by an English guy who’d apparently been employed by the hostel to ‘augment fun’.
I found a way in to the circle when I realised that a friend from Arequipa was part of the game. She introduced me to a dreadlocked blonde-haired boy called Eddy who was, like me, heading to Huaraz. I expected him to say something like ‘we should go trekking together’, as social etiquette demanded. But he didn’t, which I thought was a bit strange and quite rude. The more we talked the more I got the sense that he was a bit simple, and so I forgave his earlier crassness.
After helping Eddy buy his bus ticket online (he couldn’t manage it by himself) we went to socialise again, finding that the troupe had moved outside and were playing ‘around the world’, a game in which you run around the table-tennis table and hit the ball when it’s your turn. You drink if you muck up. It doesn’t really work with 20 people.
While I was standing to one side chatting with an intense American about something intense, the Englishman in charge of augmenting fun passed me a scrap of paper on which a number was written. ‘For the next game’ he told me, slightly desperate. By this stage I’d decided that I didn’t particularly like the people there or the constant succession of games, and so I delicately extricated myself from the intense conversation and escaped to the computer room. When I later heard my number being called out from the bar I huddled over and pretended not to exist.