The first "stop" my group had for Carnaval was at Guaranda. A city to the south of Quito and pretty much in the middle of the country. As we walked into the room, we were welcomed by the sound of traditional Carnaval music. We were given delicious tortillas to eat and divided into groups to create our own original Carnaval song - of course which we then had to sing to the class. It was really fun.
We then moved to another city where we were greeted by multiple staff members dressed in costume for carnaval. They explained to us a bit about their costumes and the history and showed us that in the city where we were currently celebrating in, they use water balloons, eggs, Carioca and flour to hit unexpecting bystanders with.
A few of the Peace Corps Trainees (PCTs) also put together a song and while they sang it to us, we all danced along. It was really fun.
We finally went to the last stop where we were sung a Carnaval song by some PCTs and then proceeded to watch a little contest happen to see who would be crowned the "town queen of Carnaval". One of the PCTs danced a bit and the other recited the ABCs backwards. There was no clear winner!
It was a lot of fun to have these Carnaval activities at the Training Center and only made me more excited to actually be able to participate in Carnaval the following Tuesday.
My family got back from our trip to Nanegal on Monday but I just wanted to sleep. On Tuesday, however, I woke up bright and early, ready to celebrate Carnaval. Unfortunately, the morning of, it was a bit cold and looked like it might rain. For that reason my little sister, Majo, and I didn't venture out into the streets of Nayón until about 1 or 2 in the afternoon.
We went over to the park, where another one of the trainees lives, and I immediately got soaked with a bucket of water. Unfortunately, I didn't get many pictures because I didn't want to bring my phone with me in fear that it would get wet and stop working. I did have a whole ton of fun though. At first my little sister and I mainly targeted eachother, cracking eggs on each others head and soaking eachother in water. Then we realized that there was a whole group of boys in the park who wanted to get us wet etc. so we all ganged up and tried to get them, at the same time they tried to get us.
Large groups of families and friends also rent out trucks for the day. They not only load up all of their manpower in their trucks, but they also load up the bed of the truck with a lot of Carioca, gallons of water (both dirty and clean) and with flour as well. They then proceed to drive around town, throwing all said weapons at people who appear to be playing Carnaval, or those who aren't wet yet. A few times, I saw two trucks who would cross paths, and so would then obviously jump out of their trucks and have a little turf war between eachother.
Suffice it to say, I got soaked, my hair smelled of egg, my whole body was covered in Carioca and I couldn't wipe the smile off of my face. I can't wait to celebrate Carnaval again next year.
Warning: If you don't like the idea of getting wet and dirty - often inflicted by complete strangers- it's best to stay inside.