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Published: January 12th 2010
Well here we are in Canoa, Ecuador, a small beach town mid way up the coast. We spent the last 5 days taking Spanish classes 4 hours a day while managing to fit in many swims, reading in the various hammocks, walks to town for real coffee and well just relaxing. It has been so nice to be in one place for a week, so needed.
We spent 3 days in Puerto Lopez over New Years, which is another beach town south of Canoa. It was nice to be on the beach, lots of fireworks and firecrackers and burning, felt almost like burning man!
In Ecuador and possibly other places in South America too the people make these effigies that they burn at midnight on the 31st. You can buy the heads or the bodies or both but a lot of people make their own out of paper mache. Some of them are quite good, we saw a Michael Jackson, Chucky from Child´s Play, which actually quite freaky, some superhero´s and such. At midnight everyone just threw them in the street and burned them, burning dolls everywhere, quite a different tradition then home. "
Elaborate effigies, called Años Viejos
We thought just maybe we would buy these....
(Old Years) are created to represent people and events from the past year. Often these include political characters or leaders that the creator of the effigy may have disagreed with. The dummies are made of straw, newspaper, and old clothes, with papier-mâché masks. Often they are also stuffed with fire crackers. At midnight the effigies are lit on fire to symbolize burning away of the past year and welcoming of the New Year. The origin of the tradition has its roots in pagan Roman and pre-Roman Spanish traditions still celebrated in Europe and which were brought to many countries of Latin-America in colonial times." from wikipedia
Spent some time at Los Frailes beach in the Machillila National Park and was by far the nicest beach we have seen down here. Biggest downside is in closes by 5:00 pm every night.
Canoa is even smaller than Puerto Lopez and where we are staying is a 30min walk down the beach. The beach is nice and at low tide hundreds of red crabs come out to make balls of sand for a reason unknown to us, until the water comes in and they start it all over the
Los Frailes Beach
The most beautiful beach I have seen, ever. - Rick
The Sundown Inn where we are staying is great, our room is nice and big with a balcony overlooking the ocean. Our spanish lessons have been so helpful, wish we could stay and do a month here. It´s been interesting to tap into that part of the brain again, learning a new language. It´s been bringing back French for both of us which has been helpful as there are lots of similarities in sentence structure and verbs and such. The owners and also the teachers, Maryelena and Juan Carlos have been great. They are patient and Juan Carlos always makes time to talk with us in spanish slowly and explining things if we don´t understand. I would recommend this place to anyone looking to learn Spanish and spend some good quality relaxation time at the beach. Included in the price is all our meals which have been basic but really good. Lots of seafood and fresh juice and fruit. They also have a daughter named Lindsay, named after a canadian woman, who is 8 and super cute and really into hoola hooping. We have been helping here with some things and she has really improved over the
last couple days.
It will be sad to leave though really looking forward to heading to the cloudforest. Rivers, waterfalls and birds.
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