Don and I got back on the road last Thursday and, with the prospect of having new boating photos and stories to blog about, I realized just how terribly behind I am in the Ecuador blogging department. So, here I am getting my act together and getting these blogs up about our last few trips of the season.
The 3rd week in February we had a great crew from Calgary, Colorado and Idaho. As was typical of this season, we had great water levels and big smiles abounded!
In addition to the crew seeing the awesome rivers of Ecuador, they got a little extra cultural excitement as well since it was Carnival.
Carnival is a very interesting holiday in Ecuador. Carnival, which is celebrated widely throughout the world, is an intensely festive holiday that happens just before Lent. Also known as “Fat Tuesday” Carnival is a day of decadence where people can over indulge in food, drink, fun, etc…before beginning the more austere holiday of Lent. But in Ecuador, Carnival lasts for about 1 full week leading up to Fat Tuesday. Why celebrate for only 1 day, when you can party all week long?
Ecuador, in addition to celebrating in the more typical styles with parades and lavish costumes, has also added it’s own local flavor to Carnival. These days, throwing water is priority number 1 for kids celebrating the holiday. They mainly engage in water wars within their own small circles, but the occasional unsuspecting gringo is certainly a prized target.
People also through eggs, silly string, flour and flowers on each other as a way of celebration. These practices, although they seem EXTREMELY odd to the outsider, do have pretty deep historical roots.
Back in the “good old days” before Catholicism took over Ecuador, the Huaranges Indigenous people used to hold a similar celebration on the full moon. They would throw perfumed water, flowers and actual flour to celebrate (I’m not sure how their tradition got started). Once the Catholic dudes moved in, their version of Carnival was merged with the Indigenous version, then a few hundred years of modernity and change tweaked things even further, and now you get the street wars fought with buckets, water balloons, cans of silly string, overly excited children and overly fearful adults.
It’s kind of a tight fit on the way to the Piatua. But I think we have a good 4-5 inches of clearance there…
Keith looking very stylish in all blue!