Dear Family and Friends,
Chuck and I are enjoying Carnival here in Ecuador. Here, Carnival officially lasts 4 days, Saturday through Tuesday. It is celebrated different here than in the U.S. Even though Carnival officially lasts only 4 days, it was kicked off here in Cuenca last Thursday afternoon with a parade. The parade consisted of teens from different organizations. Teens here are referred to as (chicos).
KICK OFF PARADE IN CUENCA:
Chuck and I went to see the kick off parade on Thursday afternoon. There were about 1000 participants. It was so much fun to watch these teens.
Although they didn't have bands, they had tons of drums. My ears went numb from the noise.
Here is a dancing butterfly.
A fire breathing chico.
and then there were the kids on stilts. They were very steady on them. As you can see they did many stunts to entertain the huge crowd of onlookers.
More acrobats on stilts.
This is one of the youngest of the participants.
And, of course, there were the vendors selling goodies.
The parade finished at Park Calderon. This is the central plaza in Cuenca. After the parade they had a live band that played Salsa music. Party, party, party.
CARNIVAL IN GUALACEO:
Today, Sunday, we went to Gualaceo, a small town about 40 minutes from Ecuador. We had read that they were celebrating Carnival there so we went to see how they celebrated it. We invited our friends, Brian and Shelley to come along with us. (Brian and Shelley moved to Cuenca from Vancouver BC, Canada last summer. They have a blog that you might enjoy checking out: www.planetirony.blogspot.com)
Brian and Shelley
Oops, I almost forgot. Fredi, their little puppy came too.
We met Brian, Shelley and Fredi at the bus terminal. We took the intercity bus to Gualaceo. What is normally a 40 minute drive ended up lasting about an hour and a half. The traffic was so backed up. It seemed like everyone had the same idea we had.
The bus put us out right where the action was ... along the river.
In Ecuador, one way Carnival is celebrated is by dowsing others with water, corn starch or spray foam. So it makes sense that the celebration would take place where there is a lot of water.
Here is how Fredi enjoyed the carnival. She rode in her doggie carrier on Shelley's back. She really drew a lot of attention. She is a perfect goodwill ambassador.
There were many vendors selling corn starch, spray foam and buckets for tossing large amounts of water on each other.
Here is a father and son. They got corn starched.
Even we got our share. Here is Chuck just after he was sprayed with foam.
At least he faired better than this guy. His friends are carrying him off to throw him in the river.
There were even some vendors there from Peru. This lady told me she was from Machu Picchu.
Here are pictures of some of the interesting food that was for sell:
Fried plantains stuffed with cheese
These ladies are cooking Guinea Pigs. A very popular dish here in Ecuador.
I even spied a some fried chicken. The first I have seen like this in Ecuador.
Interesting looking candied apples.
Fruit....here there is watermelon, pineapple and papaya. The fruit was cut up and sold in plastic cups.
This man and his grandson are making juice from sugar cane.
We had a great time.
Most of the wealthier people in Cuenca head to the beach for Carnival. Actually Cuenca is almost dead during this four day period. We figured out that the not so wealthy people head to Gualaceo and other towns to celebrate. It was packed with people there.
I spent all last week at Spanish school. It is coming, but painfully slow.
Nancy and Chuck