Just as in every other year, the fiestas of Cuzco were transferred to the town of Paucartambo, some 100 kms. away, for the celebrations of the Feast of the Virgin of Carmen, July 15-18t.
The town explodes in three to four days of celebration. These are intense and draw visitors from far and near. While there are many key events, one of the important ones is when, on the dawn of the second day (the sixteenth of July) a caravan of vehicles makes the two hour journey in the dark to Tres Cruces (Three crosses–a high altitude overlook into the eastern jungle from the beginnings of the Manu National Park). There they await the first light of dawn and the sunrise.
While waiting, some people are quiet, and other play, but everyone feels the excited anticipation of a grand event, the coming of Father Sun on a feast day. They forget about the harsh cold of the altitude and hour, as well as of the frost on the tough grass and their cold feet. Attentively the watch as a red sea slowly appears in the sky above and announces the coming arrival of the sun.
This year the sun arose precisely at 6 in the morning to the sighs and applauses of the multitude awaiting it. It shone first red and then orange rays on everyone. People were amazed and excited. The Park Guards said this was the best sunrise in years, since last year and the year before clouds had blocked a view of the arrive of the amazing celestial orb.
Afterwards people slowly began to go to their cars, vans and buses to return to Paucartambo for the rest of the fiesta, content in the arrival of the great and powerful sun.