It started off slow, confiscating empty balloons and water guns from kids in the library. We returned them at the end of the night, understanding it is all in good fun, but water and library books don’t mix. Having never experienced Carnaval in Latin America, we didn’t really know what to expect. The games seemed harmless enough… and then I got hit in the face with shaving cream. Although the holiday doesn’t officially start until this weekend, the high school kids are already out in full force and I cower in fear as I walk home from the bus. The common tradition during Carnaval in Ecuador is to throw water, powder, eggs, shaving cream, silly-string and hair dye at friends and unsuspecting strangers.
While walking to the bus yesterday I ran into two of my former English students, high-schoolers in uniform just getting out of school. They approached me with hands behind their back and asked me if I like to play Carnaval. The answer was a firm no, and they laughed at the desperate look on my face as I begged them not to hit me with anything. I watched from the bus window as they launched eggs at another group of high school kids across the street. So far we have been spared (for the most part) from any real damage, but the games are just beginning. The majority of the group is headed to the coast for the long weekend and we will surely come back with gruesome stories and photos to share. Until then, wish us luck!