Carnaval in Oriente Part Uno

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…misty-mountain-stream

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…macas-dunking-chickFountains are a major source of dunking both chicas and chicos

But no one takes any of this too seriously…macas-chica-fresh-from-dunkingWe 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…Sucua Carnaval Queen

But this runner up does not look quite as happy…Less happy runner up.

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).shuar-selva-touristsOur 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…shuar-girl-3


6 Responses to “Carnaval in Oriente Part Uno”

  1. 1 Merlyn
    March 15, 2009 at 8:02 pm

    It is great! Nice pictures and good info.

    • 2 terrydarc
      March 16, 2009 at 2:07 am

      Thanks, Merlyn!
      Nice seeing you again after a couple weeks. Take care and we’ll be in touch when we return to Cuenca – whenever that is.

  2. 3 Ron Hulteen
    March 12, 2009 at 9:14 pm

    Terry, I’ve enjoyed your travelogue very much. Looking forward to your return, too.

    By the way, there are many ways to share real life with a local family throughout the world. By joining Friendship Force International, you have the opportunity to go on an outbound trip to places around the world — including Latin America — where you do a homestay for 1 week with a local family. It’s wonderful how close you get in a week. Also, each year we have an inbound group who we can host in S. Oregon for a week. I’ll tell you more when you get back.



    • 4 terrydarc
      March 13, 2009 at 1:27 am

      I’ve seen some of the socially conscious tourist options but most of them seem to be a tad expensive. Hosting in Ashland, OTOH, is something we’ve done before with the SOU International Programs. They seem to have quit calling us in recent times, so if you’ve got any ideas, I’d be happy to hear them. Thanks for the nice comment.

  3. March 12, 2009 at 12:45 am

    Awesome pix! Looks like you made a wise decision to stuff yourselves into the van for the trip. I’m sure lots of smiles watching and participating in the festival. Good food and better times. It doesn’t get much better than that 
    Enjoy the remainder of your trip as you look forward to Christopher’s arrival. Too bad he wasn’t there to enjoy this portion of the adventure… would have been fun watching him be chased around with the water balloons. Rob

  4. March 12, 2009 at 12:38 am

    Well done Terry. Keep em coming. You’re doing your own little National Geographic.


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