The month of March began with Carnavale – always a crazy, fun time, but the onslaught of turistas here during those few days is overwhelming. I’m guessing (and this is just a wild-ass guess) that at least 25,000 people show up in our area (Montanita/Olón) for this event. I’ve heard as high as 50,000 people. I don’t think it was as crowded this year as the last couple, but other locals might disagree with me.
The beaches are packed, the traffic and parking are a nightmare, and the internet slows to a crawl.
I think most of us that live here hide inside for most of it.
The trick to surviving Carnavale is to stock up on books, movies and food, and be sure to hit an ATM a couple of days before- hand (otherwise wait in long, long lines to get cash).
About a week or two before Carnavale, there was a fun (locally commercially sponsored) affair on the beach that included a food contest (these are always very competitive – all the food looks scrumptious – and I don’t envy the judges who have to pick a winner).
Tomasa y Sebastian
I mean let’s face it: no matter how long we live here, no matter how kind the locals, we are still guests in their country, still have much to learn about the nuances of culture and customs and language, and we’ll always be “outsiders” to a degree.
One culturally different aspect is that NOTHING, I mean NOTHING ever starts on time. Always add two (2) hours to the designated time. That's a given.
Naturally, the invitation said “starts at 7PM”….ja ja ja ja…!
Being wise to this by now, we didn’t show up until 9:30PM, and even then, we were some of the first to arrive, so we left and came back around 12:30AM, when the music, dancing, and partying really tuned up.
Ecuadorians love to dance, love to sing, love celebrating life. We had a great time, but wimped out around 2AM…meanwhile; the party lasted (as usual) until 5-6AM…or until the amps blew out. Whichever happens first.
I give a lot of credit to the Ecuadorians for their stamina!
Click on the you-tube link below. A cute group of “kids” were visiting the Olón beach recently, and having a wholesome, great time.
They treated some us to this impromptu serenade:
Because the sunsets this time of year are so stunning, most everyone around town heads to the beach to watch them each evening, and the camaraderie is harmonious.
If there is one bone to of contention right now, the trash pick-up days (?) have become erratic, to say the least, since the recent provincial elections...and gone is the familiar (if sometimes annoying) tune announcing their arrival.
Trash is piling up to an embarrassing degree in our coastal towns now.
Living in Olón is not exactly like living in "Mayberry”, but sometimes it comes close.