Vilcabamba New Years Eve 2009/10

Trip Start Jun 07, 2009
1
11
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Trip End Ongoing


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Where I stayed
La Casa Amarilla
The Big Yellow House

Flag of Ecuador  , Loja,
Sunday, January 3, 2010



Christmas and New Years Vilcabamba style! 2010!!!
   
 

Well, if you want sedate holidays, don’t come to Ecuador!
Those nice, sit down dinners with quiet conversations and a few drinks? Too
quiet for this passionate country! 

We decided to open our “disco” space for a Christmas Eve pot
luck. We got it all cleaned up, threw up some lights, a few minor decorations,
borrowed tables and chairs, got everyone to bring food, cooked a turkey and  some stuffing, bought some beer, got some music and called it a success.

I’ve lived 4 major places now: Southern California,
Nebraska, Oregon and now Ecuador. I’ve gathered friends from each place like
beads on a necklace. But try as I might I don’t think I could have ever corralled 50-60 folks together for a party! But after 6 months folks just turned out for a wonderful day...

Then, 2 days later we were partying with friends again—this
time the focus was on the music: keyboard, drums, and guitarists! Next thing ya
know, folks were singing along, aided by lyrics from a local computer screen!  Great food, beautiful surroundings and generous, warm, people.



Why stop there? Turns out, New Years Eve is the biggest holiday ever! Local
customs: You make an effigy of someone or something that represents a problem
from 2009. There were “men” strapped to trucks, cars, hanging from balconies, and
sitting in chairs.  “Kids” were dressed
in sports jerseys, and women, complete with figures sat next to the “men”. Many
had masks on them.  The  Loja Hyundai dealer had an effigy of a car!. BUT—that’s not all.  After midnight they burned them all, leaving the problems of 2009 behind. Then they
jump through the flames—leaping through to the  new year!. Bonfires lit up the town, smoke circled the town square and blocks were impassable for cars as fires burned in the roads all over Vilcabamba! I didn't see one Bombadero (fireman) either!

 

Two doors down from us a tent was erected.  A huge 15 foot tall paper mache giraffe
stood between effigies of an old man and an old woman. Four 4 foot tall
speakers blasted fabulous dance music. Locals danced in the street. The main
square was jammed with people.

 

My sweetie and I went down and partied with the neighbors.
“Dance, dance” the DJ hollered in Spanish... Bleary eyed drunks staggered down
the street or sat on walkways. Some were coherent, others were passed out. The cane juice is supposed to make one a "wide-awake drunk" which explains why they appear dead on their feet--staggering and singing. The beer drinkers sit with their heads bowed on the corner 

I have heard from one of the locals say that this was great, but "wait until Carnival!" before lent, like Mardi Gras! Four days of insanity. Our local friend told us that last year he got super-glue in his hair and had to shave it all off. "No problem", he added.  We only got liquor thrown at us this last time. It was so much fun.....  Wonder how we'd look bald???

Miracle: We rec'd a small package from Gilda containing sugared pecans--here in Vilcabamba! She used this address priority mail. Can someone try sending a letter parcel post and see if it arrives? I see letters in the pile that are not priority mail. Letters, not envelopes.
   Jenice McAlevy
   Agua de Hierro
   Vilcabamba, Loja
   Ecuador
Believe it or not it worked--twice now!!!  Incredible! 
 
 Lots of Love, 

Jenice


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