It is hard to believe the difference between the town of Crucita during the first two months we were here and the last week. Usually their are only people on the beach on Sunday. Why because here in Ecaudor Sunday is family day. Cars and truckloads of family’s come to the beach from the inter parts of towns. But during the time from right before Christmas trough this weekend after New Years everyday is triple or more what it is like on Sunday’s. Now I don’t think it was quite as bad as during Carnival as this picture from ecauadorbeachfrontproperty.com shows, but it was very close.
The people that live here on the beach had many relatives and friends staying with them. Not sure where they sleep but they do somehow. Even the beach in front of the condo and to the south was full. All the restaurants had people in them along the strip and all the normal Saturday and Sunday vendors were out everyday. And get this, all the lose dogs that normally wander the beach and road were nowhere to be seen.
New Years Eve was really something. It started with people doing some fireworks during the day. M-80s to be exact. They must have had cases of them. One of the traditions here is making up full size dolls (see photo above). These are called “aos viejos”, these sawdust-stuffed dolls represent the passing of the year, and all the hardships that it caused are burned away at midnight. They can range from looking like somebody famous to locals. Even SpongeBob and Spider-Man were seen. They are displayed a few days or so before New Years Eve. So when we took a walk some people were selling them, so we bought one ($8.00). And tied it to the railing of our baloney.
Then at midnight the fireworks really started. Their were many up and down the coast. Even across in Manta we could see fireworks. There was so much going on we didn’t know where to watch. That was until they started them right next to the condo. It seemed liked you could reach out and touch them they were so close.
They were even lighting sky lanterns and letting them go. You can see one in the photos above. Then it was time to burn the “aos viejos”. We didn’t feel like going down, because we had a great view where we were. So I called to someone down below and dropped ours down to them. You could see fires up and down the beach. And down on the main street they had put together a whole display of aos viejos showing activities of the town from paragliding to fishing. And at midnight they burned them all.
What we didn’t know at the time was that they put firecrackers in the dolls. But we found out when they all started burning. It was an entertaining night for us that we were glad we stayed up for.