Thursday, December 3, 2009

Party Town

Crowd at the Plaza de Toros

Quiteños went crazy last night. Cars overfull with fans roared through the streets, honking, screaming, waving Liga banners. Avenue de los Shyris was the gathering spot for the party that followed. The chanting and singing and yelling went on through the night and the evidence of the nights' activities was all over the streets this morning. How perfect is is for Quito that during this week of celebration, they have the championship to celebrate as well.

Bull as Hero

I decided to join a very select crowd of Quiteños at the bullfight today. The prices were very steep, particularly for Ecuadorians, and certainly for me. I managed to negotiate for a much better price for a very good seat. The Plaza de Toros was wild and full of music and dancing and food and excitement. Once the event began, the crowd settled and focused on the bullfight. Unfortunately the bulls were not very good today, so however talented the matadors were, they did not shine today. I wondered if my discomfort with the bullfight affected the way I saw things today, but the crowd was not particularly pleased with the performances either and no ears were awarded. The first matador was 52 years old, unusual in what appears to be a young man's sport. The first and second ones were from Spain, much more experienced than the third from Latacunga.

Touching the Bull


The crowd got distracted regularly when shouts of 'Viva Quito!' echoed across the arena. Fans were still celebrating the win from last night. There was an ongoing political protest that focused attention away from the matadors. It was clear that the crowd did not support the president or the government, and were vocal about it. I was a little offended that so many of the audience stopped paying attention to the men in the arena risking their lives, but perhaps because the performances were lacklustre, it made sense that anything mildly curious captured their interest.

Political Statements

Crowd Pleased

I am still trying to understand the bullfight. I find the ritual interesting, the condition of the bulls disturbing, the matador's prancing and posturing and boldness fascinating.


Matador as Banderillero


The audience was exclusively European and well off. This was a reflection of the Spanish character of Quito. Later this evening I attended a performance of flamenco dancing and music, again, Spanish in origin, but with an Ecuadorian twist. On my way to the theatre in the Centro Historico, we passed many 'chivas' which are open sided party buses, full of partying Quiteños. This is a special tradition in Quito and especially this week, locals are drinking canelazo (a warm drink made with cane sugar) on the chivas and listening to music and celebrating with friends. The chivas were out in force tonight, and hopefully Eric and I will have a chance to join the revelers before the Fiestas de Quito end on Sunday.

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