March 4th - 8th is Carnaval. If there's anything a Cuencano is, is they are partiers. Geez laweeze, I've seen more parades in the time I've been here than I've seen in 10 years.
Though Carnaval here is not quite like what you see in Rio, it's still a party. Today, several blocks of downtown were closed off and parades ensued. People dress up (men as women) and have just good ol' plain fun....the most notorious of which is, as I mentioned in a previous post, is water balloons, buckets of water, water guns, water spraycans, etc. I've never seen them before, but they sell cans (that look like spray paint cans) which spray people with water. Today I was standing at a crosswalk waiting to cross and a car drove by and I was 'doused' with this spray can stuff. I looked down at my shirt and it looked like hundreds of dots of styrofoam had hit me. But, seconds later, it disappeared, leaving no stains on my shirt.
BUT....there are those who get hit so many times with this stuff, they look like walking foam (see pics). Later, I was in a store buying hand made chocolates and a lady came in to buy some of the canned stuff. After her purchase, she tried it out on ME!!! She didn't think it worked correctly. I motioned to her that it was more like hair spray, so she gave me a hefty squirt in my hair!!!
I digress for a moment (par for the course, eh?). I've heard it over and over and now I'm experiencing it. Cuencanos are the NICEST people you'll ever encounter. They are always helpful, always have a smile on their face, want to know about you, work hard, and party hard. So far, I have never had the experience that is all too common back home...when you ask someone for something, they either ignore you, can't be bothered, or generally give you that 'go away' look.
Ok, back on track. I was a little late getting to the parade today, but did catch some of the frivolity as you'll see in the pics and video. The BAD thing about Carnaval is that everything closes up...even the banks....for 3 1/2 days. It won't be til Weds (it's Sat now) til business is back up and running. Dang it. I wanted to paint the interior of my house and there's no way I'm going to be able to get supplies to do that until Weds. So, somehow I'm going to have to find something to do for 3.5 days.
I will surely post more about Carnaval as it is only getting started today. So, stay tuned.
|Note the foam-covered individuals!!|