The Drag Queens of Manglaralto

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The New Year celebrations here in Ecuador include 3 days of mischievous hijinks leading up to the 1st. Some of you Catholics out there may know of the “Massacre of the Innocents” feast days. The king Herod heard about this baby king of the Jews upstart in Bethlehem, and when the magi double crossed him and didn’t give the baby Jesus, he went on a rampage and killed every kid in town under the age of 2. So goes the story…

To mark the date, kids here dress up as red devils carrying spears with bells jangling from their ankles, and run around poking people and demanding your pocket change. I suppose it’s to represent the angry murdered children. Think of Halloween, but all the kids are dressed as demons, they attack you in the streets and restaurants instead of at your home, and take your money instead of candy. But after dark, things go a little differently.

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Somewhere along the line, this tradition seems to have evolved into something more bizarre. At night Continue reading

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Saint’s Day Montañita

Montañita’s Saint’s Day festivities lasted for 3 days. That’s three days and nights of music and partying in the streets. But the party had a different atmosphere then the usual Montanita locura.

Montanita’s usual scene is a mash-up of young good-looking people from all over the world coming together to surf and party. Like any party town, it can have a bit of a “spring break” vibe at times. At different times of the year the flavor of the village changes depending on whose “spring break” it happens to be at the time. We had the month of Argentinians, the month of Colombians, the weekends before Carnival there are usually tons of Guayaquileños coming in for the weekend at the beach with their families. There are a couple of months when the schools in the Sierras (the mountain highlands, Cuenca, Quito, etc), who are on a different calendar, all have their school break. Right now we are moving into gringo season, with the summer vacations in North America and Europe. Continue reading