As we were looking at a potential new apartment the owner mentioned he was going to the Amzon rainforest for Carnaval because no one would be staying in Cuenca for the 4 days leading up to Lent.
“I love the A mazon!”, I said honestly. Chiyemi backed me up.
“Why don’t you come with us?” he said. “My family and some friends are going in a bus and we’ll go back to Macas where my father practiced dentistry 40 years ago. He hasn’t been back since.”
“We’d love to!”, I told him and he sketched out the costs and logistics. Saturday morning we were off in the van with 12 adults, the driver, two boys 3 and 6 plus Chiyemi and me. The Herredia family and friends and gringos were off for four days over the hills about 150 km mostly downhill but over some pretty interesting highway. This is seriously wet country.
Through the mists…
We ate, drank and made merry for four days with the adults while the two boys indulged in getting the adults and each other wet (this seems to be a tradition), spraying Carioca (foamy, colored stuff) on everyone or tossing Maicena in everyone’s hair (seems to be cornstarch as far as I can tell).
Sometimes the older kids get in the act…Fountains are a major source of dunking both chicas and chicos
But no one takes any of this too seriously…We were sprayed by a fired department. Garden hoses, buckets of water, especially pickups and dump trucks loaded with teen-agers armed with water balloons and other wet-making equipment, squirt guns of all calibers, cups and bottles of water. It’s warm and fun and the wandering gringos were mostly untargeted.
We stopped off to witness a parade of local beauties in the Miss Sucua (a small town near Macas) parade.
Here’s the winner…
But this runner up does not look quite as happy…
Next morning we were off in the light rain to a village (that’s an exageration) of indigenous people, the Shuar who were, 100 years ago killing their enemies, the Achuar and shrinking their heads (stay tuned for pictures).Our group
There we were treated to canoe rides, Shuar food (really, really tasty baked chicken and heart of palm!), dancing, music, a tour of the woods with vine swinging and medicinal plants explained by our guide.
And we all got to drink fermented yuca root (chicha) which is pretty vile unless you’ve grown up drinking the stuff. See Carina below trying to look like she’s going to enjoy it
The Shuar kids were the best part…