Last night Chuck, Audrey, Jim and I set out to find out exactly what New Year's Eve is like in Cuenca. We left home about 9:00 pm and went to the BQ (a local sports bar) for dinner.
After dinner we started strolling through the neighborhoods to see what was going on. It appears that in Cuenca the coming of the New Year is celebrated outside. The streets were crowded with cars cruising and pedestrians.
One very interesting custom is that men dress as women and beg for money. I understand the history of this custom is they are dressing as widows (of the old year), but the ones we saw were dressed more like hookers. They would stop traffic and not let the cars pass until they received some money.
As we walked toward the city center we saw the stuffed bodies with masks displayed in many different scenes....waiting to be torched. Some people blocked their street and put up quite elaborate displays. Between this and the cross dressers it made for some terrific traffic jams.
In the midst of all this, people were shooting off all sorts of fireworks. All the ones that are illegal in our country are fair game here. It was incredible to see small children shooting off Roman Candles.
This display was in front of an auto parts store. Notice the person in the car (Chevrolet).
If I could have read the Spanish better, I am sure I would have gotten the jokes.
Here is a scene of a family sitting around a table. Instead of masks, the dummies had actual pictures of the faces of the family members.
As we walked by the pharmacy, there was a dummy of the pharmacist. I bet his employees had fun putting this one together.
One of the most elaborate scenes we came upon was of the congress in Ecuador. It had every member labeled. These are not real people, they are dummies and at midnight they were all piled up and torched.
We found this display that we could relate to. It was a scene of Bush and the Iraqi reporter throwing his shoe at him. Here is the whole display.
A close up of the shoe throwing reporter....
A close up of Bush's secret service agent. I love the dark glasses and black suit.
And of course, a close up of Bush.
We couldn't be everywhere at once so we chose to hang around here until midnight. We wanted to see how they burned the scene. They had a DJ and some of the neighbors were dancing, some were toasting drinks as they waited for midnight. At midnight, they pulled the scene apart and piled it up in the center of the street. Then they torched it.
"The Burning Bush"
As we walked back home there were fires everywhere.
This has to be one of the most unique New Years Eve we have ever experienced.
Today, Audrey is starting her journey back to the U.S. But not before we have our black eyed peas.
Chuck and I wish you and your loved ones a very happy new year.
Nancy and Chuck