31st December: We wake up at Diego’s and have some breakfast. A traditional breakfast here is eggs (poached or scrambled) we have scrambled, mixed with onions and avocado, some ham and some bread, with freshly made juice and coffee. I also try a fruit called Granadilla which looks like frogspawn and you have to suck it… It was ok but a bit of hard work for a little tasty reward. Gimme a banana any day of the week.
We walk through the town and Lillie and I buy a wig each. It’s a thing here for NYE. People dress up as anything they want. Fun! I love dressing up. Even if most of my dressing up history has consisted of me being an elderly lady, I can break routine for this. There’s also a thing where men dress up as women (widows) and stop cars from driving by so that they can be given money. The money is then given to the widows. I think. Or they just use it to buy the cheap Cerveza. I don’t know. It’s weird. A bit scary. Also made me think that maybe it’s the only time gay men might get the opportunity to express their feminine side, because some of them were really good. Also, in Ecuador at the stroke of midnight, people around the country bring effigies of politicians, pop culture figures, and other icons of the year to torch in the streets.
I digress, we hop a taxi to go to a train station in Aloasi. Diego thought it would be nice if I saw the only train that runs through here. Except it only runs on Saturday’s and Sunday’s. Today is Thursday. Never mind, nice thought. So it’s New Years Eve. Let’s celebrate. We find a party. This looks fun. They give us some Cerveza. It’s 10.30am… 5 o’clock somewhere, hey guys! (Sorry Nan). It some becomes apparent that we have crashed a family party. Shit! What should we do? Dance and drink beer, that’s what we should do! The party becomes a parade with its own marching band so we tag along until they get to someone else’s house and we sort of peel off. NYE drinking has started at 10.30am. We’ve got a long way to go yet.
We now head to Bellavista, the town that Lil and Lukas used to live in before moving to La Floresta. We’re going to their friends’ house. For Ceviche. I’d heard of it but never had it. It’s when you get raw fish and let it cook in lime juice… Sounds strange maybe but it’s GREAT! Leave it to ‘cook’ in the lime juice for 15mins max. Then add some onion and salsa and tomato sauce and you’ve got yourself a lovely fresh fish tomato soup. Chilled and perfect for these hot days here. Maybe not for you guys at home just yet. We have more Cerveza. A large bottle is shared between everyone’s cup and most of the time you have to neck it. Or maybe you didn’t and I did. But I think you’re supposed to. Shots of beer! Woo! Lager beer (woo)! Warm lager beer. You get the gist. Their friends are always so welcoming. Never before have I genuinely felt mi casa su casa with people that I don’t know. Truly wonderful. We stay here for a few hours, drinking, playing guitar and singing. I wasn’t doing the last two things but I was dancing. With my wig on.. Come on! It’s nearly 6pm and I’ve been drinking since 10.30am. Don’t judge me. We leave and go to another friends house.
We’re here for the night and Lil and I make some calls to home as they’re 5 hours ahead of us so we technically celebrated 2 New Years. We’re about 4 stories up on their friends balcony for our actual New Year and there are fireworks everywhere. It’s stunning. No videos or photos do it justice. It was truly special and so lovely to be here with these guys.
Tomorrow will be a new year but I’m gonna stay the same. I’ve learnt a lot in 2015 and had lots of fun. I will continue to learn and have fun.