Christmas is different here, pretty much like everything else. I'm from the Pacific NorthWest where it's c-c-cold (versus Wyoming where it's c-c-c-c-c-c-c-c-c-c-COLD!!!!) and it FEELS like Christmas should feel. Here, however, I'm wearing shorts. I wear shorts all the time much to the dismay of many of my friends who are so over seeing my extremely muscular quads and cut calves that resemble much like professional soccer players. But, I digress. Easily done at my age.
Ohhhh...yeah...Christmas. I lived in So Calif for 17 years (San Diego and La La Land) and it was weird come the holidays to be singing about snow and sledding and everything brrrrrr when I was wearing shorts and a tank-top underneath palm trees in sunny, balmy weather!! It's not quite like that here, but the temps on Christmas Eve were about 80. The trees are green (not barren), the temps are spring-like, we don't have trees to cut to adorn our homes....all the Christmas trees here are fake.
It's not as much a tradition here to put up lights around the house, but some do. That said, it's not at ALL like you'd want to hop in the car and drive around and check out the lavishly decorated homes. Nada. In fact, many homes don't even display a Christmas tree. After all, even the fake ones are EXPENSIVE and some are just butt-ugly.
Ok, so I seemed to have painted a bleak mental image of Christmas here. Just because it's different doesn't mean it's bad. Here, it's more about the religious aspect and it's all about the children....the ninos. Even though there's the typical gift-types being sold at the stores (ie; toys) many families simply give gifts of candy, food, gift baskets, and the like. In larger stores there's a section of at least a dozen barrels filled with candy to purchase by the kilogram.
And parades. Practically every defined neighborhood has some sort of parade. Then, there's the 'mother' of them all down a central street in Cuenca on Christmas Eve day. It starts about 9:30am and ends....hmmmm....sometime late afternoon. When I went at 2:30pm it was still going strong. Parades typically involve children dressed up as either angels (the boys) or shepherds (the girls). Uhhhhh...or is it the other way around? Lots of dressed-up cars and pickups that create the basis of 'floats'. And.....gobs of horses adorned with everything and anything imaginable...candy strings, beer bottles, roasted pig, jars of jam, fruit, popcorn.....whatever...with chillen riding atop in dramatic garb.
The Rose Parade, it ain't.
But, everyone loves it. I was amazed at the young children who'd obviously had been waiting for a long time for the parade to commence yet alone ride on a horse, or donkey, or 'float' for blocks, and blocks, and lonnnnnnnnng blocks for hours. I did see a few that were conked out, but I didn't see any tantrums or screaming 'MOMMY.....I don't like this anymore!!!!".
As I've mentioned before, it's like the 1950's here. Back in a time when it was all about family, spending time together, having fun, and not having high expectations that you were going to get an I-Phone Version 6.3 that allows you to send up to 800 worthless text messages to your BFF (Best Friend Forever) per day and tell you how to get to the nearest Starbucks a block away AND pre-orders your favorite drink (Vente mocha, two and 1/2 pumps of chocolate, 1/3 packet of Sweet-n-Low, 9 cubes of ice, shaken, double press espresso)...then automatically debits your checking account for the $13 cost. Like....OMG....THANKS Mom & Dad!!!! Like, I'm soooo OVER version 6.2!!!! It's like soooo in the garbage!!!
Sorry...I just had to 'go there'.
My personal Christmas day was a day of quiet. Christmas day is pretty much deader than a doornail here as VERY FEW (ahem, cough, cough) businesses are open. I took the opportunity to enjoy a quiet day working in my yard pulling weeds, mowing the lawn, weedwhacking, and watering. However, a few days beforehand I went to Coral (a pseudo mini Walmart) and had a heyday throwing all kinds of stuff in my cart....avocados, candy of many types, toothpaste, tea, popcorn, soap, crackers, yogurt, tuna, candles...you name it. I bought a bunch of Christmasy bags and filled them with random arrangements of the goods I bought. One of my neighbors lives in a typical shanty made of cinder block and random pieces of materials that makes it look like they built their home from things that blew off cars and trucks along the highway. They are the sweetest group of people from elderly to baby. Christmas morning I got up just before dawn and left the big garbage bag of goodies at their front doorstep....with their dogs in attack mode.
Enjoy the photos of scenes from Ecuador's version of Xmas. GASP!!!! CHRISTMAS!!!!
|The stash I accumulated for my neighbors family.|
|Typical adorned horse.|
|Just about everything imaginable is on this entry....from Heineken to candy to pineapples to a roasted pig (rear) to Christmas ornaments.|
|So young to be shaving already!!!|
|Lots of bicycle entries this year including this one with a baby and its mother in the 'towable'.|
|Notice the balcony spectators in upper left.|
|I love this photo of dad/son getting their photo taken by a paid photographer....and me snapping on the sidelines.|
|Ever try to dress a Saint Bernard in a Santa suit?|
|The dog is a definite money-maker!!!!|
|The main Cathedral of Cuenca.|
|Angel on Wheels.|
|We're pooped and we're cute!!!|
|Yep, plenty of roasted pigs on the Christmas parade floats!!!!|
|Beautiful roses at the local flower market a block away from the central square of Cuenca.|
|And, of course, the enchanting lights lining the banks of the Tomebamba river.|
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