Ok, the title is a clickbait, I know. No philosophical divagations though, just another post from Ecuador. I’m seasonally leaving the topic of Peru for a moment (it will be back, I have still at least one, maybe two or even more texts to write about it) to write about the New Year’s Eve which I passed in Guayaquil, Ecuador.
I’m not going to lie, the city party was… well, not my type of party. Badly located stage, loud music and a lot of people. But what should I have hoped for? There was also a smaller stage with nicely singing women. Nice looking women, too. I went for a walk and when I got back there they were already gone. On the main stage the presenter was teaching someone to dance bachata.
The parties had place simultaneously in different parts of the city. In Puerto Santa Ana, a modern and luxurious quarter of apartment and office buildings (the tallest building of Ecuador, The Point – 143 metres, is located there), the bars and restaurants were full of dressed up people. Mostly old balding men and young women with a lot of make-up. Very stereotypical, but, sadly, real. Of course it’s just a piece of the whole image. And the live music was great. I would rather spend my New Year’s Eve there than at the city party on Malecón 2000 – the Guayas riverside.
Petards had been exploding since at least the day before (that day I came to Guayaquil but I’m pretty sure that also earlier). At midnight there were fireworks and even more explosions. A group of Indians tried to make lanterns fly. They were rather floating just over the heads of the crowd and were more dangerous than funny.
The really interesting part is the tradition of monigotes, the effigies symbolizing the Old Year. There are two basic kinds of them – the bad ones, having usually shape of politicians, public figures and other disasters such as a tragic earthquake in Mexico – which are burned to make the bad luck disappear in flames.
There are also monigotes which are supposed to bring luck – shaped as relatives and friends. And superheroes and cartoon characters – unless I didn’t get it and they have another purpose. In fact, they are the most numerous. They differ in size – from less then a foot up to seven-ten feet (2-3 metres).
The fire brigade called to not burn them, especially the big ones because of the fire risk. People… well, don’t care. That’s how monigotes burned in Viclabamba. Video by courtesy of Kasia from Vilcabamba (best regards from this place):
The effigies burn well, as they are made of paper, glue and sawdust. And paints. The production starts long time before the New Year’s Eve. There is a picture from the streets of Guayaquil from the end of November:
Some people celebrated New Year by eliminating the competitors. In the South of Guayaquil a drug dealer was killed as the result of gang wars that night.
By the way, I was going back to my hotel just after midnight. The city looked like during the uprising. Burning piles of effigies in the crossroads, explosions everywhere and the series of petards like the series from a machine gun. Plenty of the police officers around, the smoke in the streets. The smell of gunpowder and groups of people in revolutionary mood…
And in the middle of those explosions, fireworks, smoke and people dancing bachata and salsa in the streets like the people of Paris dancing carmagnole during the French Revolution this man. On a bench with a book. That’s how we all should live.
I wish you all my readers and your beloved ones such calmness in 2018. Unless you prefer to dance salsa – then, dance!