We love New Year’s trips in Ecuador because it means we get to end the year right (by paddling), AND start the New Year off right as well (by paddling). Here’s LV–the Jefe–finishing up 2009 with a sweet run down the Rio Piatua.
Here’s Shelbi, one of our Intro to Creeking participants, practicing her creeking moves on the Piatua.
And Kiran, putting his boof stroke to good use.
After a very rewarding run down the Piatua, we came back to Tena where everyone was busying themselves with the New Year’s festivities. A somewhat odd, but wonderful, tradition in Ecuador is to build life-size (or bigger) dolls, which will then be burned to shove out the old year with style (sometimes they even stuff their dolls with fireworks to send out the old year with a bang–ha, ha) and usher in the New Year–a fresh start. The dolls (or effigies) are meant to represent someone or something from the past year (here’s Michael Jackson for example).
Street vendors are busy selling papier mache masks before the big night.
Another very different tradition they have is for young men (in their 20’s) to dress up like women in the streets on December 31st. Then, they set up road blocks and stop every car that comes by. They dance provocatively giving travelers a good laugh, and each car has to give them some change before they can pass. The cross-dressing dancers are supposed to be viujas, or widows–technically, they are widows of the old year. And, they are dancing to raise some money “to support themselves now that they have been widowed.” More practically, they often use their collections for the New Year’s fiesta. You can check out some dancing dudes here–this was filmed on the streets just outside of Tena.
Here’s Mark on the Lower Jondachi. He did a private week of playboating with Senor Don Beveridge. Besides throwing blunts, loops, and cartwheels all week, they took the time to enjoy some scenery too!