'Pasillo' is a indigenous latin musical genre very popular in Ecuador, especially in the mountainous regions (including some parts of Colombia, Panama and Venezuela).
This is very sad music from the mountains, my friends explained. Sad old men would drink their nights away listening to the tearful moans of pasillo.
'Banda del Pueblo' (Village’s Band) are groups of musicians playing trumpets and drums.
To my untrained ears, they seemed to be playing horribly yucky tunes with no beats, no rhythms.
But to my surprise, my friends told me these were traditional music, some of which even have lyrics, all singing praises of Quito, Ecuador and other Ecuadorian delights. They were being played during all festivals.
I came across this typically Ecuadorian celebration by chance! It was the evening of 23 September and they were celebrating the Virgen de La Merced on the plaza in front of La Merced.
In the evening, these guys started preparing some form of structures with bamboo sticks. These tall structures are called 'castillos' (castles) which have a series of fireworks that get ignited from the bottom to the top by one light.
At 8pm, the first of the fireworks soon got ignited. Gosh, I had never seen anything like this before! There were about 3 or 4 layers of fireworks. As the first one lights up, there may be a display of spinning or normal fireworks. As that gets burnt off, somehow, the next level of display will be lighted up automatically and another set of display will continue. So, we had words commerating the event being lighted up, a rabbit that dances as the fireworks lit up around it, then, structures that appeared to fall down, but were actually ‘flowers’ opening up upon being lighted… Wow, it was such a fascinating sight!!!
We screamed and hid from the spits of fire as the fireworks advanced through the structure, and then, oohed and aahed over the beautiful spinning or twirling or dancing or whatever displays. At the very end, there would be fireworks being shot into the sky, seemingly endlessly! I could not believe how dangerous this was, because some of these fireworks that shot up into the sky, had burning sticks that fell back down to earth! Imagine, being struck by one such stick-on-fire!! I did not think there were any paramedics around.
The second structure got lighted up in pretty much the same way, to more shouts and delights. I was thoroughly floored by how these structures with fireworks were created. They were made of bamboos!!! And yet they opened up into displays like a church with a scroll of the Virgin unfolded, display of a star, etc… Terribly impressive!
The Andes are still very much a barter society. The local markets are full of not only colorful images and intense smells but also a cacophony of noises and not all of them are coming from the livestock. People yell to announce what they are selling but what makes the most commotion are people arguing over prices or what they quite vocally consider an unfair trade. It can become quite heated but we never saw anything come to fisticuffs. Oh, and pigs squealing another competitor for most dissonance but then again their fates are probably worth all the uproar!
During the Week of easter there are many religious ceremonies around all of South America. In Cuenca they have an incredible procession through the streets that you have to see. There are countless men dressed in ornate costumes. Some are dressed as Jesus and are carrying huge crucifixes through the city. After that, each church parades their statue of Jesus, ornately decorated and carried by a group from the church (or organization). It was a amzing experience.
I was walking along Main Street in the Ecuadorian border town to Peru. The place was totally messy and disorganised, extremely lively and colourful maybe for that very reason... I was amazed to see this pineapple stand without a stand! Is that a way to sell pineapples?! I wasn't sure whether they were on sale or remains of the day. Cuz I got there late, the stalls were closing one after the other. It was 1 p.m. after all!
On new Years, one of the popular traditions in Ecuador is the traditional "Quema del Ano Viejo" which means Burning of the Old Year. Many people start to design and create these dummies (Anos Viejos) late november, which are made from paper or wood and filled with a lot of fireworks and explosives. The imagination go beyond the limits at the time to create these dummies; You can find everything from goverment people to the most popular cartoons and sport personalities. This is considered an art and as you see in the pictures, people make a living of this. At midnight neighbors, family and friends get together to say farewell to the old year by burning them on the streets.
Every 7th grader have to swear their loyalty to the Ecuadorian Flag. This is an imporant event in every Ecuadorian's life! As the seventh graders swear the loyalty to the flag, the highest ranked students in each class is are also honored. The student who is ranked number one, gets the honor of being the "bandera," i.e. the person that holds the flag. The ceremony involves marching, the singing of the national, provincial, and municipial anthems, as well as the official pledge and kissing of the flag. As I said, this is an important event!
Yep! Could be good to know...in Ecuador, and the rest of South America as well I think, what we in Europe and the USA call April Fool's Day lands on December 28th. Of course, it's not actually APRIL Fool's day when it's in December, but it's the same concept...
Advertisements is very often connected to sex in Ecuador. Pay particular attention to the advertisements for the local bear, they are quite funny!
Thanks to the reminder of Globerover, you can now see an illustration.
If you take the train in Riobamba, seating on the roof of the train, you will contribute to a funny local custom: the gringo's watch by inhabitants of the Andes. It shall be admitted that this is a strange spectacle!
I have already told you about this ecuatorian and peruvian custom : eating the cuys, sort of guinea pigs could be considered as gross... if it was not that awful to eat !
Je vous ai deja parle de cette coutume equatorienne et peruvienne : manger des cuys, sorte de cochon d'inde, pourrait etre considere comme purement degueulasse.. si c'etait pas si mauvais a manger !
People can't even forget to think about it : in the newspapers, in the adds on TV or in the shops... It's everywhere : here, the leaflet says "do you doubt that they're good ?" talking about painting rolls !!!!
Les gens ne peuvent pas oublier d'y penser : que ce soit dans les journaux, dans les pubs a la tele ou dans les boutiques... Il est partout : ici, la pancarte dit "vous doutez qu'elles soient bonnes ?" et ils parlent de pinceaux !!!!
Communication on the Galapagos is very difficult. You can't use you cell phones and the boats have no phones--only ship to shore for emergencies. So when you go to one of the two inhabited islands you will need a phone card and then you need to find a working pay phone. Leave yourself some time to do this, as everyone else is trying to the same thing and there are not that many phones.
Also, keep your conversation short and to the point as a courtesy to others waiting to call home also.
Ecuadorians have a fun little custom - on your birthday they like you to "morder el pastel" (bite the cake). This basically means they gang up on you and shove a cake into your face. Don't worry, you'll still be able to eat your cake too - they usually make two cakes, one for eating and the other for shoving!
Traveled thur Quito on a Eco Tourism trip. The Marriott was unforgetable. Beautiful hotel in every...more
When we arrived at the Hotel Victoria after our early morning flight from Quito it was only 9.00 am,...more
Av. de las Amazonas, Banos, 2000, Ecuador
Satisfaction: Very Good
Good for: Business
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