Monday, December 27, 2010


We had the misfortune in October to be poor planners arriving in Cuenca during a week-long festival (called Fiesta) based mostly on Cuenca’s independence. So we had to stay in a hotel for a week rather than longer-term accommodation. Turns out not so much luck as these people party all the time!

Mmm, candy, and...wha?
Ecucador is, of course, intensely Catholic (“Are you Catholic” usually precedes “What do you do for work” in casual conversation). So the holy days are particularly good excuses to party. In the States the unofficial beginning of Christmas has been creeping further ahead every year. But for the bulwark of Thanksgiving, I’m sure we’d have made it all the way to the day after Halloween by now. Well Ecuador has no Thanksgiving, so the end of Fiesta rolls right into Christmas. And why not? Everyone’s already drunk.

Some argue in the States that our consumer culture has taken over the meaning of Christmas. Well let’s stop arguing and just compromise on both like the Ecuadorians have done. The religious symbolism here is still very powerful and pervasive. But they also sell candy in 50 pound bags at Christmas. What, we thought, could regular people (not businesses) possibly be doing with that much crap? And then we saw the Christmas Eve parade.

Christmas is...a blanket of candy and a warm bottle of Riunite
Love their hood ornaments
El Pase del Niño Viajero attempts to recreate in as much detail (and flourish) as possible Mary and Joseph’s trek to Bethlehem, including the actual duration of the trip. Well maybe that’s a coincidence, but this Christmas Eve parade begins at 10a.m. and ends somewhere around 5pm. Maybe they just figure that you work this hard getting all dolled up, you want to stretch out your time. But as you’ll see, we have discovered what happens to all the candy, booze, food, and other material junk we saw people buying in the lead-up. I’m not sure if all the roast pigs, dressed turkeys, and booze are meant for baby Jesus or, as we’d heard, for orphanages after the parade, I’ve really got to question their sense of propriety on this one.

Umbrella for the baby?...
...or the pig?
Not sure I remember natives in the Bethlehem story
And nobody's sure about this guy

Yep, real turkey on copilot
Hungy yet?
Loved the hat...and of course the mobile phone
Pimp my crib (or stroller, I guess)
I think this is how Mary and Joseph outfitted for the trip
Err...maybe not


  1. I love it, Matt. Chris Alexander here. Great Blog.. AWESOME experience. Kudos!!

  2. Wooohoooo!!! Love the news as we (Susie Kincade & Mark Chapin) have been thinking about you LOTS - hoping all is going well. And it seems to be, drama queen and all :)

    Amazing parade photos. We could show you lots of photos of white on white (at least on the mountain where it belongs). Keep the news coming - it's a great interlude from WORK (remember what that is?)

  3. Wow. Amazing. Can't wait to see the pics of the Easter parade...

  4. Fabulous photos and tales of your adventures, so awsome! I've been thinking about you all and so good to hear from you ;)