Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Vow renewal on top of Machu Picchu


So I got married almost a year ago, and to celebrate our first anniversary we're heading to Peru to hang out in the Amazon and amongst the Inca ruins.

Now I can guess in advance you're against renewal ceremonies, but hey I love this man insanely, and want to tell this guy I love him all over again. I've arranged a little renewal ceremony up on top of the mountain where Machu Picchu is with a shaman.

What the hell do I wear to this?

*****

Yeah. Like I said over here, a vow renewal implies -- to me -- that someone has broken a vow.

But that's not my biggest problem with your plan.

Here's the bigger problem: Unless you have an actual connection to Peruvian/Andean culture, "arranging a little ceremony" to coincide with your vacation strikes me as an asshole move. 

I mean, a pair of atheists or Jews or fucking METHODISTS would never be permitted to get married (or renew their vows) in a Catholic church, right? So why is it cool to just waltz into Peru and hire a shaman?

Should you insist on going forward with this, tribal hats may be purchased on etsy.

55 comments:

  1. Duh ESB, didn't you get the memo? Aboriginal cultures are totes up for grabs for whoever wants to appropriate random parts of them.

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  2. I mean, a pair of atheists or Jews or fucking METHODISTS would never be permitted to get married (or renew their vows) in a Catholic church, right? So why is it cool to just waltz into Peru and hire a shaman?

    THIS. Exactly this.

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  3. Machu Picchu is amazing. Vow renewal after one year is not. Btw, that shaman is just putting dinner on the table and doesn't give a shit about your wedding vows.

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  4. Aside from the concerns other people have mentioned, are you aware that you need to wear A LOT of layers on Machu Picchu? You're going in the U.S. summer, which is winter in Peru. It will be COLD in the morning and super hot around noon and then drop to cold again as soon as the sun goes behind the mountains.

    On another note, it is at least a half hour bus ride or 1.5 hour hard core hike to Machu Picchu from the base town.

    You need to be comfortable.

    Be careful of alpacas, they poop a lot.

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    1. But obviously we're going for ostentatious, not practical. She should probably bring a pair of heels to change into on the summit. What would her Facebook friends think if they saw pictures from MP and she was wearing some boring jacket and hiking shoes? OMG.

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  5. Just go to Machu Picchu for your anniversary. Make out at the top. Why do you have to wear anything special or pay someone to prove how much you love each other?

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  6. Why not just say "I love you and I'm glad I married you" in private on the top of Machu Picchu and leave the poor shaman out of your self-involved love trip?

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    1. This. I'm all for taking a vacation together and enjoying the beauty and culture of Machu Picchu. It's time to move on from bride-world and realize that important moments in your life don't have to be staged blog-worthy events.

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    2. You are both correct and I love you, my anonymous brothers/sisters.

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  7. Obvs you need a headdress. And probably a kanji tattoo. Why stop at appropriating one culture?

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  8. I went to Macchu Picchu a few years ago. I will tell you, if you have never been, that this time of year the ruins will be a mad house with tourists. Esp Aguas Calientes, where you'll spend the night before taking the bus into the ruins. So if the above 8 comments have not changed your mind, I recommend wearing hiking clothes and sturdy shoes (like everyone else there) and trying to find a private 3ft x 3ft area to say some vows to your fiance. Nix the Shamen, you're already married. (Which, how did you track one down? I was under the impression that everyone in Peru was Catholic by this point. At least everyone with internet access)

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  9. Seriously? One year? Don't pull a Seal and Heidi.

    You'll probably have altitude sickness anyways or at the least troubles with a guy named Montezuma.

    It'll be fricking cold. Bring a thermos of coffee with brandy or since we're appropriating cultures, share a horn of Yerba Mate and call it a day.

    You're gonna be the only cray crays for miles around not in North Face gear and hikers. Enjoy being the photo op.

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  10. wow what a bunch of bitches.

    Go for it - renew your vows (you all don't know what's happened to them over year).

    Appropriating cultures... Are you kidding me with this shit people???
    sanctimonious hipsters.

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    1. Well yeah, every decision ever comes to: If you want it, go for it.

      But she wrote in to an advice blog. She is getting what she requested.

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    2. It's not sanctimonious to tell someone that they are acting inappropriately by borrowing someone else's religion for exotic thrills

      Renew the vows, sure, have fun, you wacky kids. DON'T BE FUCKING EXPLOITATIVE.

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    3. So, the couple is appropriating deep-seated cultural traditions for thrills (and photo opps)...and the NAYSAYERS are hipsters? That irony just made my WEEK.

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    4. It wasn't advice, it was an unhelpful tongue lashing. If you want to educate people and help them understand why cultural appropriation is an issue, screaming at them about how fucking stupid they are OMG isn't going to help.

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    5. YOU DON'T FUCKING KNOW WHAT THEIR CULTURE IS. How do you know what Peruvian culture means to them? Perhaps she is Peruvian, maybe he is?

      It's not OK to renew your vows because that is disrespectful to the culture, but it IS ok to use traditional Peruvian patterns and art in fashion and design???

      Some of the shit posted on here has been influenced by outside cultures (if not blatantly stolen...)

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    6. 'scuse me... the chick hiring the shaman is the epitome of hipster.

      Ava, you seem overly concerned about this issue.

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  11. ESB, pls take the extra "c" outta "Macchu." Pls.

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  12. This place is full of assholes apparently

    I hate the sparkly happy funtime glitter lovefest at all the other wedding blogs, but this is just right out the other direction.

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    1. Regardless of how ridiculous the initial question is, by the way.

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    2. Did you miss the tagline for ESB? Do you think that's a joke? Go back to A Practical Wedding if you want to have your hand held and everyone agreeing with everything.

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    3. srsly. Also, what's with APW's crappy, crappy DIY shit. I keep waiting for esb to comment on them. They make the glitter forks look cool and artistic. Please note the following APW craft: http://tinyurl.com/82xttnj

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    4. Okay, I'm not a big fan of aforementioned craft. But you do realize that APW and ESB are old blog friends, right?

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  13. ESB you've redeemed yourself after your unfortunate hipster-Pocahontas-goes-to-an-outdoor-wedding choices in that contest.
    Now I can love you with my whole heart again.

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  14. Misappropriating culture -- e.g., utilizing key visual or ceremonial aspects of a culture to which you do not belong or in which you do not participate in a meaningful way -- is racist.

    To this end, don't dress up as an American Indian at Halloween and don't rely on a Peruvian shaman to infuse faux-spirituality into an already and independently sacred experience.

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    1. Oh you have got to be kidding me with this...

      You live in America... you stole a whole culture's land. Don't go casting stones when it's convenient so your ass can feel better about being culturally aware. You are being ridiculous.

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    2. Excuse me, ESB stole a whole culture's land? Is she over 100 years old? Sorry Ava, she didn't steal anything. But she obviously knows that it's not okay to "play" Indian. Too bad you can't seem to see the difference. So keep wearing your hip Navajo print dress and telling yourself because the whole culture was stolen, it's okay!

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    3. oh man, you're right. i did steal a whole culture's land. me, personally. i personally stole it. thank you sooo much for holding me responsible for what i did! i will NEVER try to be culturally aware ever again. what an idiot i am.

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    4. Celebrating another culture by taking part in their traditions is not misappropriating...

      Is there a Peruvian rule that states: getting married in Machu Piccu is only for __________ .

      It was sarcastic twits. I don't think wearing culturally influenced designs, or partaking in another culture's traditions is stealing from it. I think it celebrates it.

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    5. Something tells me that you are of the majority culture where you live.

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    6. Apparently you missed the memo.

      "Taking part in someone's traditions" is going to Easter Vigil with my Catholic friends. "Appropriating" is serving communion at my gay atheist wedding. "Blatant exploitation" is, well, what the writer plans to do (unless she left out the vital context that said shaman is her family priest). Hiring a priest in an impoverished community to perform a ceremony with ZERO CONTEXT.

      Obviously exactly the same as using geometric Andean-influenced designs. (Although that can also be exploitative:Urban Outfitters, have we talked lately?)

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    7. Thanks. Must have pasted wrong. I wish I could assign that post to everyone.

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  15. to borrow a phrase, you don't know what [Maker's] culture is, Ava.

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  16. Too many feelings. People ask esb for her opinions, this is expected.

    Also, lets leave APW the hell alone.

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  17. LOL at Ava a lot. I see words but all I read is "BAWWWWWWWWWWWW"

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  18. I think we can all agree that Ava was the one who asked this question, right?

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  19. Alycia, saying "playing 'Indian'" is not cool. Go read a book and lay off the blogs.

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    1. What if the only books I read are by bloggers?

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  20. Apparently Olivia started it.

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  21. I reckon that if you really want a special moment with this guy at a special place go nuts - but maybe lay off the ceremony and the Shaman. Just seems a bit weird is all.

    I don't think Ava and the OP are the same person. I reckon Ava is just stating an opinion which is different to the majority. Is that so shocking?

    The OP did ask for advice, and that's what she's gotten, and this 'cultural appropriation' talk has gotten me curious so i'm off to do some learning about that - but i am surprised at how vitriolic people are getting...

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  22. Best.post.and.comments.for.weeks.

    Ava totals wrote in.

    Imagine a heart drawing here ~

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  23. this is what happens when you try to do good looking and extravagant things instead of meaningful things.

    DO WHATEVER IS MEANINGFUL FOR YOU

    If you don't belong to a culture or know the culture, it is difficult that the ceremony means anything to you.

    You can instead make the most of your visit by trying to understand part of their culture and bring whatever fits with you to your everyday life.

    A heart is an endless face cube with many outfits but one core.

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  24. I almost feel bad for this poor girl. Yall ripped her a new one. But I'm laughing. So. Hard. My fave is the "YES" that follows some comments. It's akin to "Amen!" So funny.

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  25. Carla and ArianaJune 19, 2012 at 1:02 PM

    My sister who has been living in in Cusco, Peru for the past 2 years says its very difficult to find a real shaman anyway. It's extremely unlikely you will find one on a short, few months long trip. The one shaman my sis has heard of in Cusco lives with the Q'eros, comes down from the mountain 2 twice a year, only speaks Quechua and probably doesn't prostitute his heritage to tourists. Most of the people who claim to be shamans are really just folks who trip on San Pedro and Ayahuasca from time to time. These people can be found easily anywhere tourists seeking a quick shot of displaced spirituality. Just make up your own vow renewal ceremony. You don't need a shaman.

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