Yay! No more holidays!
Monday 1 January 2007
Happy New Year everybody! I hope yours was better than mine! Haha. It could have been worse, but mine was a bit crummy so I`m moving on to bigger and better places now. I will describe what the locals did though, cuz it`s very fascinating.
First of all, I must say that they`ve got the most hilarious Santa Claus commercials here. I forget what they advertise actually, but the first time I watched one I laughed my ass off. It starts off with a guy just getting out of the shower and grabbing a towel. Santa has walked into the house and appears in the door of the bathroom, points at the guy`s willy, and laughs ¨ho ho ho ho ha ha...¨ as the guy is mortified. It`s priceless!
Anyway, last night was very interesting, but once everyone was hugging each other after midnight I got lonely and went back to the hostel. I headed out just after 10pm with my Frankenstein`s monster mask, not really knowing where the party was, but everyone seemed to be walking down Bolívar street so I followed the train, watching all the people. Everyone had their paper maché figures out on the street or tied to their cars (some very expensive cars, I might add - I saw a bloody Mercedes drive by the other day!). Like optional dress-up parties everywhere, most people didn`t actually dress up, but there were a good number of adventurous, fun-loving people who went all out with their costumes. There were tons of monster masks, some witches, monster costumes, a grim reaper...all scary stuff.
The crowd gathered in one of the minor plazas at which there was a speaker system pumping loud loud music, huge effigies of devils and headless politicians sitting in a giant cauldron waiting to be burned. They were all bright red with evil faces. The street was left open to drivers as a parade of vehicles overflowing with people went by to look at the devils and the4 gathering crowd.
I suppose it makes sense that the people who dressed up were the ones who danced unselfconsciously on the streets, sometimes soliciting money from the drivers. One guy was decked out as a hunchback with a monster mask - he was very fun to watch. Another guy in a wrinkly mask was walking around with a baby doll in his arms, the baby´s head covered with a wrinkled old woman`s mask - very bizarre but hilarious. Yet another guy pulled up on his motorcycle with his girl behind him. He was well-dressed with a nice yellow collared shirt, but the whole scene was made eerie by the yellow moster mask he had on. The whole tone of the city changes when it`s normal to see ghouls all over the place.
Then at midnight, instead of the regular Canadian countdown, they set fire to the devil`s cauldron and threw all the politicians inside, followed by the devil himself. The flames burst up so quickly that the crowd simultaneously took a few steps back away from the heat. This was the biggest, most impressive fire, of course, but along every street in the city were other, smaller celebrations. Every 50 feet there was another fire. The kids were still lighting firecrackers that jumped about uncontrollably, but now they were also taking running leaps over the fires and having a grand dangerous time.
I loved watching the devil go up in flames and all the little fires around the city. There`s nothing like it at home. If I didn`t know it was the New Year I might have mistaken the city for a war zone or the aftermath of a riot or a big looting!
After taking all this in though, I walked back to the hostel with my Frankenstein`s monster mask on for the last time, past all the partiers with their fires. I was back by 12:15am and watched the last happy 1/2 hour of Grease before going to bed.
And now I`m in Vilcabamba! It`s a very pretty town, very green cuz it`s so near the jungle. I checked into a place called Hostal Mandango which is very colourful and has lots of plants. It should suffice for the couple days I spend here. Once I head to that farm I`ll be out of touch for probably just a week, possibly a bit more. They only have enough solar-powered electrity for music and a cold shower, apparently, and certainly no internet. I`m looking forward to it!