Here, Christmas is a wee different than where I’m from. Yes, there’s the commercialization of it all. For example, Christmas displays in stores were popping up as early as September. Sound familiar? It USED to be after Thanksgiving, then it slid forward to after Halloween, now it’s as far as Back to School!!!
We don’t have fir or cedar trees here….we have a lot of eucalyptus and a smattering of pine. Therefore, there are no Christmas tree lots selling fresh cut trees. For those who even put up a tree, they are fake. The malls have towering plastic trees decorated with plastic baubles.
Decorating houses with lights is not done much either, though you can find a few balconies draped with lights. Nor are streets bedazzled with swags of lighting. In the old centro, there were a few street decorations but not very noticeable. Though, along the river Tomebamba was a great display of lighting that I posted in my last blog. It wasn’t there last year.
With our mild weather and me wearing shorts all the time, the atmosphere doesn’t seem Christmasy either. It’s not cccccold and there’s no possibility of snow. Of course, I’m comparing to where I used to live in the
I wondered what Christmas music might be like in
Here, Christmas is really focused on the child. Stores convert large sections from regular goods to toys, toys, toys. One 2-level store cleared out its entire first level and converted it to nothing but toys. Parades are all about the kids. And, it’s not just ONE gigantic parade, there were parades all over town…even down the highway. Children are dressed up as angels, shepherds, kings, etc in intricate outfits. Horses are not just for riding. They are decorated, too, with some very strange things….strands of candy, fruits, vegetables, beer bottles, flowers, you name it.
Last year, Christmas was deader than a doornail as everything was closed. Streets were barren. Oddly, this year the streets were fairly active with traffic and quite a few businesses were OPEN!!! WEIRD!
I spent the vast part of Christmas day….moving. Then, I got cleaned up and went to a party, stuffed myself with food, and enjoyed some al-key-hall. Late into the night, I puked. Something I ate didn’t set well with me. Lovely, eh?
Again, this year seemed to be far more active in the lead-up to New Years Eve. All over the city, streets were lined with dummies. No, I’m not insulting the people of
Also, there were scads of dummies made up to look like comic book characters (Spiderman, Captain
Many people even had dummies made to represent themselves or their business. For example, one gas station had a dummy of a gas station attendant wearing their company uniform. Dummies were strapped to the fronts of cars and pickups. One of the city busses had a dummy strapped to the front of it. The driver had a string attached to one of the dummy’s arms and he would manipulate it from inside the bus to make the dummy ‘wave’ to people on the street.
I’ve had a series of crappy things happen to me in the past several years, instigated by some really sh_tty people. I decided I was going to participate in this Ecuadorian ritual. I purchased THREE dummies from two cute young boys who kept shouting THREE DOLLARS, THREE DOLLARS!!! every time I walked by them. After looking at several stalls of dummies, I decided to buy mine from them and they helped me haul them to the car. I don’t know how they could make a profit given the clothes they used, the stuffing, sewing, transportation to selling site, etc. I swear one of my dummies had a brand new pair of jeans on it!
One was dressed sort of Corporately. I used a black felt pen to write names of specific companies I wished to have burn in Hell. In some cases, I wrote the names in specific places on the dummy…such as the ass. I won’t tell you which companies I wrote, but one of them goes by the initials BofA.
Another was a female dummy. Again, I had a handful of names that deserved to suffer a fiery demise. One, was of an attorney who sued me to take property away from me, lied in front of the judge which caused her to win the judgment and me $15,000 poorer for the lousy representation I got from my attorney. Now that I think of it, I should have bought a 4th dummy to represent ALL attorneys and stuffed a bunch of firecrackers up you know where.
The 3rd dummy was a male. I almost ran out of space writing names on that sucker. The guy who scammed me claiming he was a home builder, my old boss at WaMu, the person(s) who stole my cars’ computer/brain, the bullies from junior high school, neighbors (yes, plural) at Rocky Point, and a male cancer which took my Dad away from me.
The tradition is to burn these effigies at . To really seal the good luck part of it, you’re supposed to jump over the burning corpses 3 times. However, some dummies are stuffed with fireworks, so I chose not to do that part lest I suffer an explosive enema. All over
Many burnings aren't simply acts of "good-riddance," but are conducted with hopes of cleansing bad habits. The male half of a ‘lovely couple’ I know decided he was going to stop smoking. His wife made a giant stuffed cigarette and that was what their effigy to burn and, yes, he did jump over it 3 times.
I must admit, I did feel a sense of catharsis watching my dummies get torched. Even the action of lighting them afire gave me satisfaction as I held my lighter under their asses. I just hope the ‘real’ dummies felt it wherever they were at the time.
Another fun part of New Years Eve is the ugly widows. You read correctly. The tradition is for men to get dressed up in drag…but not pretty drag…ugly drag. They hit the streets, approaching cars for donations. The typical routine is to pair up with others and devise a barrier (such as a rope) to prevent you from passing unless you toss some change in their purse. I was driving some clients around that day and we got stopped many times. I don’t remember where the donations go, but I think the proceeds go to orphanages. Anyhoo, it was great fun and we had a lot of laughs at the verrrrry bad drag.
Enjoy the photos!!!
|A typical display of dummies lining many streets in Cuenca the week after Christmas.|
|Masks you can choose to adorn your dummy.|
|These are made of paper mache.|
|My 3 dummies and the 2 boys I bought them from. $9 bucks.|
|Ugly widow working the highway near where I live.|
|Traffic stoppers. Looks like one lost a shoe!|
|Chasing after a truck for a donation.|
|Stuffed dummy riding on top of pickup.|
|My 3 dummies, saying their last prayers.|
|First up....Mr Corporation.|
|The female. I hope 'DR' felt the fire wherever she was at the time. GRRRRRR!!!|
|BURN BABY BURRRRRRRRRN!!!!!|