Thursday, March 3, 2011

Carnaval in Cuenca!

I know I promised to take a break and not blog while I'm finishing up the book: 101 Questions Answered, but it's Carnaval and it's party time! 

Actually, this blog is for you "Jackie" who asked about Carnaval and what happens in Cuenca. All, I know for sure is I've been hit by five water ballons this week and one was inside a bus, so I know it has something to do with water!

Since I've been flogged with ballons, I thought it was significant enough to add it to the 101 Questions, and I also did a little research on the subject.

Carnaval actually comes from the Italian word, "carn-aval" which means "absence of meat." It all started coming back to me...(our days in Italy): the period that precedes Lent (according to the Catholic calendar). In order to compensate for the following 40 days of "abstention and penitence," popular festivals were held throughout the country, including: masks, water, jokes, music and dancing. We experienced all of the above today!

We realized it was a big deal when we couldn't make reservations at Tiesto's Restaurant (one of the popular places in town). Mark's birthday falls on the beginning of Carnaval and when I called the restaurant yesterday, the woman who answered the phone said, "We're booked until next Wednesday, but we can accommodate you 'mediodia.'"

 In the middle of the day?

Birthday candles don't look the same at high noon and as our good friend "Chelsey" said, "It's not birthday-esque!" But we did find another wonderful place (pictures to follow) which is our second choice and is what we call "Little Tiesto's."
While we were roaming the streets today in search of the famous "See's Candies of Cuenca," we wandered right into a parade.

One minute it was calm and the next minute it was chaos. Instead of water balloons it was "silly string" that resembles large chunks of dandruff when it doesn't get combed out of your hair. Mine is pink, so it's all good and I sort of like the new look!

We stood on the corner of Santa Domingo Plaza and watched as the music played and the fesitvities of Carnaval began. What a great day of sunshine, friends, and silly string. I almost miss the water balloons!

Carnaval is happening all around the area: Cuenca, Paute, Sigsig, Sevilla de Oro, Chordeleg, El Pan, and Guachapala (say all of that in one breath!). We will be in Gualaceo with our friends, Miguel and Carmen, on Sunday to share in the festivities there (Artesan show, folklore music and food).

I'll have a full report when we return and a special thanks to all of you who e-mailed me with questions--the book is now being renamed:  192 Questions on Cuenca.

Until next time...hasta luego!

See's Candies of Cuenca:
Gran Colombia 12-22 y Tarqui
Cuenca, Ecuador
Note: Carnival is spelled "Carnaval" in espanol -- that's your Spanish lesson for the week!


Nancy Watson said...

Happy Birthday Mark!!

Connie Pombo said...

Hey, Nancy! I'll pass that on to him. Un abrazo fuerte!

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