Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Carnaval - The Good and The Bad

‘Tis the season of water balloons, flour, foam and eggs – Carnaval! It’s an exciting time here in Ecuador, but unfortunately Carnaval brings the risk of getting pegged by water balloons (or perhaps eggs) on your way to work. But really, it is crazy here, and no matter where you are, you have to be battle ready.
            For example, Ann Lowry, Michael and I took a lovely trip to Baños this past weekend. As we were enjoying a breakfast of crepes and coffee on an outside patio (our first crepes since arriving in Ecuador), we heard a mischievous crackle and were suddenly showered in foam, crepes and all. Needless to say, we did not appreciate it.
            However, now that we are nearing our long weekend for the holiday, we are getting more in the spirit of Carnaval. Everyone has exciting travel plans. A large group of us are going to Guaranda, Montanita and Puerto Lopez accompanied by none other than everyone’s favorite Spanish teacher, Ivan. Kate has friends visiting and they are hitting Baños and Ambato before meeting up with the group in Guaranda for parades and chaotic Carnaval celebrations. Evan is in Cuenca, visiting with an old friend, and Carley has plans to go to Amaguaña and Ambato, which is a haven that has banned water balloons and has a beautiful festival of flowers this time of year. Michael and I both have parents visiting for the occasion. Michael and his father plan on pursuing adventure with the highlight being mountain biking down the gargantuan volcano Cotopaxi. I, on the other hand, am heading to Cuenca with my parents for some rest, relaxation, and sight-seeing.
  At the library, things have been calmer than usual as public schools are on a two-week vacation and many families have been out of town. We’ve had plenty of time to help with homework, play and converse on a one-on-one basis with Rumilona community members, which has been very nice. We have also had some time to pursue projects like painting bookshelves and fixing up the Preventative Health Center.
            Still, we are excited for some much needed time off, and will definitely take full advantage of it. We can only guess the stories we will have on the other side of such an adventure-filled weekend.

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