Carnaval is five days of pure craziness and fun, be prepared to get very dirty and wet and when you leave the house, leave the house prepared to fight. Carnaval started the first weekend of February, kids were out of school and there was no work for that Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. The first day of Carnaval, Friday, I had to teach English classes and while walking down my road to work, I got water dumped on me and so it began. After English classes, I was meeting up with two other Fellows to celebrate Carnaval. While walking to get food, I saw a parade going on, so I stopped and watched, it was cool, it had different schools doing dances, different groups of people in colorful clothing, with painted designs on their faces. Also, people standing on the sides of the road would spray the people in the parade with their cans of foam spray. All around people were getting covered in foam spray and flour. After the parade, when I was was with the two other fellows outside a restaurant, there were water balloons being thrown from the top buildings, one lady even had a bucket of water that she was throwing on people, I was a victim.
After we were done eating we started walking down the main road towards the park and where all the action was going down, it was pure craziness. As we were walking guys are coming and smearing paint all over my face, rubbing flour in my hair, I’m getting covered in foam spray and I’m spraying people back as we’re walking. We finally buy more foam spray and we were just spraying everyone, it did not matter, sometimes I would just hold it up above everyone and hold the button down, we were just laughing the whole time. We get to the park and we spraying people, people are spraying us, throwing water on us, at one point a guy was smearing paint on my face and my earring got yanked out, it was lost. When we ran out of foam spray we decided to go buy bags of flour to throw on people, so we walk to a store and buy these big bags of flour and just start throwing handfuls of flour at people and they returned the favor. We end up picking one spot and just standing there to throw flour on people passing by, well next to us was a group of teenagers totally amused by us. Mostly amused by Nic, the other Fellow who every time he would throw flour at people, he would yell out, “IN THE FACE!” So anytime the kids would want us to throw it, or just when we would throw it, they would yell, “IN THE FACE,” and start laughing.
After a while I had to go pick up another Fellow from Napo at the terminal who was staying with me, so we left and walked to the terminal, by that time I had about four different colors of paint on my face, covered in flour, water and foam spray we were looking awesome. So after I got my friend we went to my house and my family got a great laugh out of how I looked and since my shower is a bucket, it took about three days to get everything out of my hair! So after, we were just hanging out with my family when my brother decides to cover me in foam spray, so I go after him with mine and then my host mom gets involved and we end up having a mini foam war. Saturday, I had English classes that morning, after we go home and hang out with my host mom and aunt, after awhile my host brother gets home from his classes. Well, the back of his shirt is covered in mud so I kind of laugh and tease him, well I happen to say that it was really hot out, my host brother was just like, “Oh really?” He then grabs me, drags me outside and holds me under the freezing cold water faucet where we wash clothes, then runs in the house grabs the foam spray and him and our cousin just covered me in foam spray, to where you couldn’t see my face. Right after that we started an all out water war, chasing each other and throwing buckets of water on each other, then my host brother decided he was going to start throwing mud, so we are grabbing handfuls of mud and just rubbing it in each others faces, so nice. After we cleaned up outside and then since there was a gas shortage at the time had to take freezing cold showers, not in any way fun. So after that me and my friend went into town and walked around a bit, nothing was really open so we are walking back to my house when water balloons start getting thrown at us, we just took off running and finally were able to walk. We get to my road and we’re walking to my house and a few houses down on the opposite side of the road are a group of little kids with water guns and water balloons, all I could think was, “Nooooooooooooooo!” We had to walk right in front of them, so we walk calmly and quickly, I’m watching them hoping they just don’t run after us, right before I get to my door they run toward us and we took of running towards my house, I’m trying to unlock it and I can’t get it open, so I’m trying to get it open, holding all my stuff and we are getting pelted with water balloons and it didn’t help that we were cracking up laughing the whole time. We finally get in the house and I have to change again into some dry clothes, so we just chill and then walk to an internet café (after checking to make sure it was safe). When walking to the café there were girls holding a hose, so we had to run through that and when I walked back, I walked on the opposite side of the road.
That night our other friend fromNapocomes and stays with us, when we were sitting at the table having tea my host brother decided to throw my host moms tea in face, he is so nice. That started another foam war in my house, which is actually really fun. The next day, I was taking my two friends to Otavalo to the market to go shopping, so we got up and got ready, they packed their stuff up, because they were leaving after Otavalo. That morning two of my host brother’s friends had come over and they were leaving same time we were, my host sister had filled up some water balloons so my host mom told me to hit my host brother’s friends with the balloons, of course I was down for it. So I wait til they are both outside and peg them both with a water balloon, I had to chase one and when I walked back to our house my host brother was waiting for me with a water balloon and pegged me straight in the back with it. While this is all happening my aunt and host mom are having their own water fight, so me and my friends are all trying to run out of there without getting completely soaked before going to Otavalo and I almost make it out of the yard when my host brother hits me one more time which got my total back wet. We finally made it to Otavalo, we go around and shop all morning and I take them back to the terminal so they can leave. Instead of going straight back to Ibarra, I decided I would go check out Pecughe, where they were having a soccer event and everyone there was playing Carnaval. I was just walking around checking things out and at one point in time I guess I was a target because one person after the other just covered me in foam spray, I couldn’t even see and this happened right in front of the stadium, so everyone got a good laugh. It also didn’t help that I had a clown following me and mimicking me til I turned around and sprayed him with foam spray. So after walking around, seeing everything, being covered in foam spray, paint, flour and water once again I decided to go home. I get to my road, these two kids attacked me with a water gun and some lovely flour-water paste in my hair, then I walk into my yard just to get bombarded with water balloons from my cousin and host sister. We were waiting for my host brother to come home but he was playing soccer in the park, so we each get a water balloon, foam spray and go to the park that he is at and watch his game. Well all three of our water balloons did not make it, so after we just attacked him with the foam spray, then race each other home all trying to get to the water balloons and so starts another water war, after I’m already freezing then I have to take a freezing cold shower, I had to take freezing cold showers the whole time during Carnaval.
Monday nothing really exciting happened because it was cold and cloudy, wasn’t really down for playing Carnaval in that weather. I got hit with a water balloons after I left an internet place by some nice guys standing outside of it. Tuesday, was the last day of Carnaval and it was fun, nothing was really happening til later afternoon so we chilled at the house all day. My host brother and cousin decided it would be funny to write all over my face, arms and legs with a marker and the marker took forever to get off, some of it didn’t come off for a couple of days. Later that afternoon, one of my host brothers friends called to tell him to go to the main road because that is where everything was going down. So we go there to wait for stuff to use, then the group across the road start coming toward us and we take off running, we got away but my host brother and one of his friends went a different way, so we lost them. When we finally walk back to our spot we see them standing there covered head to toe in mud, they had gotten caught it was so funny. Then some of their other friends came and brought water balloons, flour and eggs that we could throw, so we start walking along side of the road, the other group walking along the other side and on the count of three we all cross and start chunking water balloons and eggs, a very funny sight. We did this twice and then they ganged up, started grabbing random people walking on the street, mostly girls and throwing them into a mud pit they had made, I got lucky and they didn’t throw me, I stayed back and watched because I was already wet from the water balloons and it was getting cold. When we were leaving my host brother ran up behind and smeared mud in my face, so we take off running to the house and the water war begins. A water war at night, in theAndesisn’t that fun because it is cold outside and you are playing with freezing cold water. So we are throwing buckets off water on each other, then grabs me holds me under the water faucet and then smears mud on me, after that we call it quits and Carnval is officially over. I believe this is a holiday that should definitely make its way over to the States because it was just way too fun.