Friday, Dec 14, 2018

Holiday Build Up Has Begun

I have felt a bit of the holiday build up, even here in Ecuador. I was walking on the beach in Montanita and passed this giant monigote that will be burned on New Year’s Eve. It is a tradition here to write down all the things you want to be rid of as you begin the New Year and put them inside a monigote, then light it on fire.

Oh if it were only that easy to be rid of procrastination, fear, flaws and the like. Still, I’ll be burning mine up too on the beach come New Year’s Eve.

As a point of comment, this is the biggest monigote I have seen since living here. Notice the man sitting in the chair. I think this monigote is at least 15 feet tall. I like the theme of this one too…Surfer Chucky. He looks scarier than any shark in the water. 😉

Friday Evening in Olon

In Olon the kids are enjoying the Christmas tree at the main square. The tree and other decorations seem to attract the children to it. These two Santa’s helpers decided to try out the sleigh. What is interesting here is that no one gets excited about it. Kids will be kids and everyone not only seems to know that but appreciate it as well.

As families begin gathering around the square in the evenings, it becomes a multi-generational event. From the very youngest to the very oldest, everyone is enjoying each other’s company. 

Christmas at the Mall

I went to the mall in La Libertad this week. The mall looked like any mall in the US really. Green garland with Christmas glitter and colorful orbs hung from the ceiling. And commercialism is here in Ecuador as well. In the middle of the mall sits a shiny red car waiting to be won by a lucky shopper.

I was sitting next to a fountain just taking in the decorations and shoppers when I became conscious of the Christmas music overhead. I was singing along in my head and I realized the songs were in English. 

This isn’t a new awareness to me. It has been like this for three Christmas’ now both here on the coast and in the sierras. It is a disconnect for me each time I notice it though. So few locals speak English in Ecuador. That is even more true on the coast than in the bigger cities of the sierras. Why are all the Christmas songs in English? I don’t get it. 

Price Alert

The reason I was at the mall was to put together some totes of food for a few of the locals here who have helped me out during the year. I thought it would be fun to fill these totes with food and snacks they probably would never buy for themselves.

I loaded them with different kinds of nuts, olives, cookies, and even a box of Frosted Flakes and milk. I also bought groceries for me and restocked my alcohol selections, so when the bill was larger than normal I figured it was just because of that. I didn’t look at things as they were ringing up because I was busy bagging the slew of items I filled my cart with. 

500 g Jar of Cashews (2 liter soda for size perspective)

As I exited the store I looked at my receipt and guess what? The price of cashews here are more than the best steak dinner in Ecuador. I thought they were $11 when I bought them. Even at that, for a 500 g jar, I thought it was ridiculous. But hey, it’s Christmas right? Those cashews rang up for $23 each.

I went back to the shelf where I found them and sure enough, I looked at the wrong tag. Mixed nuts in the same size jar were $11. The jars of cashews were in fact $23 each. I had bought 3 jars of them! I was stunned and truthfully sick to my stomach, because it just seems like a waste to spend that much on so few cashews.

Anyway, I know they will be well enjoyed. 

I have decided to spend Christmas in Chile. Next week I will be blogging from Arica, Chile. It looks like a fun place on the coast of Chile to be, and hopefully my time there will be sunny and warm. A perfect South American Christmas.