Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Carnaval! 2012

This has been our 4th Carnaval celebration in Cuenca.

The first time was during our first visit.  We got drenched through an open car window.  Kids saw the opportunity and just pushed a hose through.  Kind of chilly on a chilly day!  But, it didn't dampen our high spirits much that day.  We loved Cuenca on first sight!

The 2nd and 3rd years we knew all about the water tradition and laid low, with lots more taxi rides than walking.  And, alot of luck, no water balloons hit us, but some were very close.

This year it was more of the same, except we were able to enjoy a very fun parade!  We were at a cafe, window seat inside, warm and protected.
We had a great view.

 This parade was full of happy kids, escorted by police on motorcycles.

 No water!  Lots of foam and confetti instead. 

The kids had a blast!  So did we! 

Cuenca celebrates Carnaval for several days.  One day, the weather was (mostly) beautiful and the families were all out enjoying the holiday. 

More police and military presence in the parks and along the streets.  Tourists were out and about, too.
 Many families head to their country homes or elsewhere out of town for the holiday.  Schools and most shops were closed.  Monday/Tuesday felt like an early Sunday morning...not much traffic, but still some loud music in the neighborhood in the evenings as families party'ed on. 
No workers working in the neighborhood during the days...ghost-town quiet.  Just a few workers at the round-about road construction.  We could even hear the birds, way past the usual birdsong early mornings.  Bird songs are usually replaced by construction noise and loud bus traffic as Cuenca wakes up.

An Ecuadorian friend tells us that one of the radio stations has been promoting safe Carnaval.  A DJ names names and announces license plates of those who throw water and water balloons toward unsuspecting passers-by...which is illegal.  Apparently, some kids were freezing the balloons and the resulting injuries were up, big-time, at the emergency rooms in past years.  Throwing a water balloon at full force, frozen or not,  can put out an eye or break a bone.

Happy to report, we didn't see even one episode of water balloons in all our walking during the Caraval season!  Not to say there weren't any, we just didn't see them. 
We did see kids filling buckets and throwing water at each other, but these were usually supervised events.  We did pay attention though. 
 If we saw a group of kids with buckets and hoses, we either turned the corner or crossed the street, why tempt fate.

The worst water episode we experienced this year was some kids passing in a vehicle with water guns and good aim!  Weapon-of-choice was usually the sticky colored foam, a nice, safe change from past years.

Picture of some enterprising folks selling foam and kiddie pools.

A very cute doggie watching the fun.
Tomorrow Cuenca goes back to work, so we expect the City to return to its usual busy, noisy place. 
We'll probably see folks going to Church for Ash Wednesday, too.

1 comment:

  1. Nancy, I also found that if you saw some kids looking at you like they wanted to squirt you and would smile and say "No, gracias..", then they would usually back off and not do anything. I also stayed as far from the street as I could when I was walking down the sidewalks. Another good tip is to walk TOWARDS the traffic so you could see the trucks coming toward you and be better prepared. We also got lucky this year with no damage, although there were a couple of close calls. All in good fun! Sue Woods