We left Cayambe on the 26th morning to head to Quito to apply for Kory's visa. Now with the marriage certificate he can apply for a D-Visa with a maximum stay of 6 months in Austria. After the application we headed back to Shell. On 30th December morning Kory prepared the turkey that we were going to have for NY eve. Then Kory had a pre-NY party with his friends. The 31st December is quite a happening day in Ecuador. Ecuadorians celebrate New Year’s Eve with the "aņos viejos" (old years). These are stuffed dummies constructed with paper, sawdust, wood and firecrackers shown through the whole country before they are burned at midnight. Some of the “aņos viejos” represent local, international politicians and famous personalities are also characterized, others people who had a problem with you in the past year. People write a letter next to the dummies expressing what they wish for the new year to come
. Children and women (or men dressed as women) in black play the old year's "widow" role, crying and asking for some money or candies in the streets, or going from house to house for the old year's (dummy) funeral. When the year that has gone by has been a very bad year, most people and the dummy's widow kick or wipe it out before it is burned, to have a better year. So on the 31st
late afternoon I took a walk through Shell to look out for the “aņos viejos”. You’ll find the evidence in the pictures. I was surprised as how many dummies were set up and many people had put them on a little stage with music and were drinking in front of it from the early afternoon onwards. There is a competition among the dummies! At one occasion, when I took a picture of the dummies, an old woman came out of the house and invited me in her house. She almost dragged me in on my arm, telling my something about drinking. As if I could! Then she started complaining that they don’t have gas, no this, no that….not sure what her intention was, whether she wanted money or just cry out – in any case, I had to get going! People quite appreciated that I took interest in their dummies and were very friendly. Around 7pm Kory and I went for a walk outside Shell before we returned for dinner. His brother and a friend from Quito came as well. We had dinner and then took the friend’s car to drive to Moravia and to Puyo to check out the “aņos viejos” there. It took a long time to get moving as on the road many men, dressed as women, asked for money
. So every 500 metres or so we got stopped or ended up in a traffic jam. Quite fun – almost like carnival in Austria. It took us an hour to get to and back from Puyo, which is normally a 15 minutes tour. The streets were supercrowded! We got back to Shell by 11.30pm, walked to the street where Kory and his family had spent NY eve for the past 20 years. People in this street also won the “aņos viejos”-contest. There was a count down by midnight and the “aņos viejos” go burnt. A little firework was set off and the dancing started in the streets. We partied till 2.30am, then we were both ready for bed – and a great 2012! As I can’t drink, Kory didn’t drink much either (anyway, he had enough the day before). So on 1st
January we were pretty much the only ones without hangover. Still, we had a nice sleep in before we took for a walk. The weather was great and we walked down to the dique (natural swimming basins) which was crowded. On 2nd
January, my birthday, we didn’t do anything special, we headed to Moravia for Kory’s football game and only on the 3rd
we went out for pizza with Kory’s mom in the evening. But I got to hear “feliz cumpleanos” from my hubby throughout the day!