Ecuadorian New Year Celebrations

Part 7 of 7

1st January 2001

New Year Celebrations

I'm feeling dog rough at the moment ..... our New Year celebrations kicked off nice and early. We started on the Vino Tinto as everyone in England were prob'ly well and truly hammered.

We had New Year toasts from across the world Australia to England so you can imagine that by the time it was time to go out we were already pretty wasted .... such is life !!

We spent most of the day watching the locals prepare for the evenings entertainment. They have a strange custom out here .... they make "effigies" (spellings crap .... Guy Fawkes things) of politicians and burn them at midnight. The hostel that we were staying at made a Fujimori one (Peruvian President who fled Peru to Japan a couple of months ago).

The tradition is to burn all that is bad 'n' evil during the year, thus creating peace and harmony for the forthcoming year. Fujimori was quite an appropriate choice really.

Also during the day the kids "dressed" up in oil ..... they totally covered their bodies in car oil and then wondered the streets blocking passing cars and people and then threatened to smother you with oil unless you gave them some cash ..... thankfully I survive unscathed.

Anyway back to the booze ...... we boozed ourselves senseless ..... wine, vodi and beer being the general mix.

The midnight burning fest' was quite spectacular ..... first of all fire crackers, followed by boom - all the effigies were set alight. There were also these mad locals with fireworks and firecrackers strapped to their backs dancing around the crowds !!

The night's partying allegedly went on 'till dawn, but I could only hack it 'till 5am ..... sorry poor effort I know but I did my best !!

Got to go ..... coffee requirement !!!

PS I had a minor shock this morning as well ..... I thought I'd just check what time my flight was and discovered that I'm flying home a day earlier then I thought ..... I leaving on the 16th returning on the 17th, and not 17th/18th ..... could have been fatal really !!

5th January 2001

The Final Countdown

Since New Year's eve extravagant partying I've been in a state of complete knackeredness, and have spent most of my time trying to sort out my last few days and my return journey.

After all my debating over Angels Fall vs Cricket in the Caribbean, my decision was made for me ...... I couldn't get a flight to Venezuela until 9th January and the boat to Port of Spain only goes every 2 weeks, not daily as I thought ........ and a flight was going to cost around $200 ...... a tad expensive for a game of cricket.

So now I'm flying to Ven. on the 9th, via Bogotá (Columbia) for 2 hours, then I'm heading straight to the beach (Margarita Island) for the last 6 days of my trip ...... still no Angel Falls though, 'cos I realised that there's malaria mossies around there and I've sold my malaria tablets ...... not worth get malaria just to see a waterfall .... so I'm hitting the beach ..... in preparation for the snow & ice !!!

9th January 2000

Goodbye Ecuador ....... hello beach !!

My life of e-mailing is shortly coming to end .... tomorrow I fly to Venezuela for 6 days on a beach ..... pure relaxation being needed ..... it's a hard a life all this travelling !!!

The last few days I have been on countdown for Venezuela ..... the highlights being eating "Giant Columbian Fried Ants" .... very crunchy !! I also went "rubber-ring-tubing" down some rapids, which was well dangerous ..... fell out on numerous occasions !!

I was going to go mountain biking today .... down an active volcano ..... but I was forced into a drinking sess' with this Irish "bird" (her own description of females) ...... my arse has been like a volcano instead !! The drinking session involved the making of ........

Otavlo Pig Pizza !!!

In our major league drunken stupor we made a pig's face out of a plate, two bits of carrot, a piece of cucumber, and the remains of a pizza ...... it looked the business !!!

We even melted some candle wax onto the plate so that all the pieces stuck to the plate when we lifted it up to show everyone !!!

I've a photo to prove how realistic it looked !!

Other then that it's been a pretty uneventful time really so I won't bore you any longer .... I'll try and do that when I see you all at one of the many weekend bashes that I hope have been lined up for the next few weeks.

10th January 2001>

God Bless Wales !!

Why ?

Two Welsh lads arrived late last night from the UK ..... with a copy of the Guardian ..... Monday's Paper ... complete with full sports coverage ..... would have preferred the Telegraph, but you can't be too choosey !!!

That will keep me entertained on the plane.

I'm not certain what the e-mail link up is like in Venezuela so I'll be in touch as and when.

14th January 2001

Trying to make you all jealous !

Just a quick note to try and make you all innately jealous ...... I'm currently sat at an internet beach cafe ....... sand drifting between my toes, the sound of crashing waves, beer in one hand and typing with the other !!!

It might cost 5 quid an hour but it's worth it !!!

See you all soon, I hope it's not too cold (some hope)!

15th January 2001

Adios Sud America, hola wet 'n' wild, dreary Inglaterra !!!

I think that says it all really ...... I'm really looking forward to lovely cold weather I've been hearing about !!!

My quick tour of Margarita Island has been quite eventful ...... but first I have to question Bill & Caroline's recommended accommodation for the first town on the island (Porlamar) ...... it's a dodgy coke / dope / knocking shop !!!

Well I naturally I didn't indulge ...... I left the ropey Columbia woman well alone !!

Anyway, I've been to a couple of different beaches on the island ...... the first a quiet fishing port, well bay - far too quiet though. And for the last 2 days I've been at the "trendy" Playa de Agua ..... nice beach, good surf, not that trendy though ...... but nevertheless just what was required to rest my weary limbs after 4 months of "hard" slog out here !!!

Tomorrow morning I start my long journey home, I fly from the island at 10am then wait Caracus airport for 4 hours before I have to tackle America Airline personnel again ...... I wonder if I still need a visa for my 3 hour wait in Miami.

On arrival in England I reckon my Alfi hat's going to make an appearance if all the cold weather reports are to be believed.

Anyway got to go and pack my ever expanding rucksack before my final night on the town.

8th February 2001

Epilogue .... Signing on Tomorrow !!!

By now most of you know that I'm back home in Nottingham. I've been back in England since 17th January and it's cold .......... got my first moan in there !!

My return journey to the UK was a thrill a minute stuck in airport lounges for endless hours. My transit in the States this time passed hassle free. Although I think the authorities were more concerned with "in-progress" cocaine drugs bust ....... 2 people had flown into Miami with a suitcase full of cocaine ........ they got sniffed out about half an hour before my flight from Venezuela arrived.

In the transit lounge I watched the TV 'reporting live from Miami Airport'; whilst the Trinidad & Tobago football team walked into the lounge ....... I looked out for Dwight Yorke but he was in Manchester !

The flight home went quite quick, mainly because I got chatting to the girl on the plane who was sat next to me, she was from Guatemala, it sounds amazing ....... so I've got my next holiday destination sorted out ...... Guatemala ..... after I've been back to Chile to see the glaciers, Bolivia to go to the jungle, Peru to see the north and Columbia 'cos it sounds awesome !!!