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Wednesday, January 1, 2014

HAPPY NEW YEAR, ECUADORIAN STYLE

ECUADOR CUSTOMS - NEW YEARS

Here, in Ecuador, they make paper figures of people or other things.  They put a couple days worth of work into making them.

I'm told that on New Year's Eve, they will be burned in the streets.  The reason is something like getting rid of all of the bad stuff from New Years.  Edit:  My friend James did a story that includes this - check it out:  http://myfivebest.com/  It's the story on New Years customs.  The only thing to add is while burning the effigies, people jump over them for luck.  Rum fueled my waddling over one and I'd say it was lucky I didn't catch my pants on fire.  Guess it worked.

I told the local who was describing this custom to me that in the USA people usually just get drunk, have sex and make many promises they don't keep.  Like losing weight.


Ecuadorian New Years was a lot tamer than I thought.

They have a stage show.  Most people just stood and watched it like they were at a concert, as opposed to dancing around like they were on shrooms.

There were a lot of fireworks, including 'roman candles'.  The smoke was so thick that I nearly choked on it, despite liking the smell of burned gunpowder.  The fireworks were pretty much shot off indiscriminately in the crowd.

Don't think that a huge throng stops cars from going on the streets.  No, there were people so idiotic they continued to drive on the streets despite them being filled with people.  I was actually hit (at a really slow speed) by one such moron.

It was very interesting to see yet another New Years custom.  I got some film but unfortunately my cheap camera doesn't film worth a shit at night so we'll have to see what it looks like after I get it uploaded.

The next day, the mess was cleaned up pretty quickly and the streets were clogged with people attempting to leave.  Glad I'm not leaving for Peru for a couple more days yet, probably departing on the fourth or fifth of January, 2014.  One year till 'hoverboards', six years till 'cyberpunk'.



CACAO

So I tried Cacao aka 'Creme de Cacao'.  For those who don't know (according to the limited information I have) it is a chocolate alcohol drink.

I have no clue why this stuff isn't more popular but it seems to only be made in South America, where the plants grow.  Perhaps it is exported.

No clue why it is not more popular.  Chocolate + alcohol?  It's a win.

Price is $3 per shot (I had two, it's New Years) and I'm told a bottle goes for $15 to $20.  If I could find one in Banos, I'd buy it but they don't carry it here.  Depressing.

If you can find it, I recommend trying it.



MINECRAFT

One of the things I enjoy about Minecraft (once you get past the graphics - which after awhile you cease to notice) is that you always have something to do.  Something different than 'kill monsters to level up and get better shit so you can kill more powerful monsters etc'.

Today, for example, Tim and I went out on a hunting party to gather resources.  Lots of different resources - flowers (for aesthetics as well as dyes), hides for making books, feathers to make arrows and so on.  Also, Tim built up his hidden castle.  I did some underground exploring to find tracks to make a subway between a couple of very distant places we have.

In pretty much every MMO I've ever played, you have a choice between hunting in the 'level appropriate' area or maybe - if the MMO has it and it is worthwhile - crafting.  The crafting is usually limited and overall a money sink.  Rare is the MMO where there is money to be made crafting.

This game has very much captured our attention.  If you haven't played Minecraft before, I'd suggest checking it out.  If you are completely unable to play a game due to only the graphics, you are missing out on a whole lot of interesting stuff.



VIDEOS

Sorry these are so dark but my camera is rubbish and night shots have never worked out well for it.

Banos New Years
Burning 1, 2

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PICTURES

{{2011}} London, GB | Rail N Sail | Amsterdam, Netherlands | Prague, Czech Republic | Budapest, Hungary | Sarajevo, Bosnia | Romania | Chisinau, Moldova | Ukraine: Odessa - Sevastopol | Crossed Black Sea by ship | Georgia: Batumi - Tbilisi - Telavi - Sighnaghi - Chabukiani | Turkey: Kars - Lost City of Ani - Goreme - Istanbul | Jordan: Amman - Wadi Rum | Israel | Egypt: Neweiba - Luxor - Karnak - Cairo | Thailand: Bangkok - Pattaya - Chaing Mai - Chaing Rei | Laos: Luang Prabang - Pakse | Cambodia: Phnom Penh | Vietnam: Vung Tau - Saigon aka Ho Chi Minh City

{{2012}} Cambodia: Kampot - Sihanoukville - Siem Reap - Angkor Wat | Thailand: Bangkok | India: Rishikesh - Ajmer - Pushkar - Bundi - Udaipur - Jodhpur - Jasalmer - Bikaner - Jaipur - Agra - Varanasi | Nepal: Kathmandu - Chitwan - Pokhara - Bhaktapur - (Rafting) - Dharan | India: Darjeeling - Calcutta Panaji | Thailand: Bangkok - again - Krabi Town | Malaysia, Malaka | Indonesia: Dumas - Bukittinggi - Kuta - Ubud - 'Full Throttle' - Gili Islands - Senggigi | Cambodia: Siem Reap | Thailand: Trat | Turkey: Istanbul | Georgia: Tbilisi

{{2013}} Latvia: Riga | Germany: Berlin | Spain: Malaga - Grenada | Morocco: Marrakech - Essauira - Casablanca - Chefchawen - Fes | Germany: Frankfurt | Logan's Home Invasion USA: Virginia - Michigan - Indiana - Illinois - Illinois - Colorado | Guatemala: Antigua - San Pedro | Honduras: Copan Ruinas - Utila | Nicaragua: Granada | Colombia: Cartagena | Ecuador: Otavalo - Quito - Banos - Samari (a spa outside of Banos) - Puyo - Mera

{{2014}} Peru: Lima - Nasca - Cusco | Dominican Republic | Ukraine: Odessa | Bulgaria: Varna - Plovdiv | Macedonia: Skopje - Bitola - Ohrid - Struga | Albania: Berat - Sarande | Greece: Athens | Italy: Naples - Pompeii - Salerno | Tunisia: Hammamet 1

{{2015}} Hammamet 2 | South Africa: Johnnesburg | Thailand: Hua Hin - Hat Yai | Malaysia: Georgetown | Thailand: Krabi Town | Indonesia:
Sabang Island | Bulgaria: Plovdiv | Romania: Ploiesti - Targu Mures | Poland: Warsaw | Czech Republic: Prague | Germany: Munich | Netherlands: Groningen | England: Slough | Thailand: Ayutthaya - Khon Kaen - Vang Vieng | Cambodia: Siem Reap

{{2016}} Thailand: Kanchanaburi - Chumphon | Malaysia: Ipoh - Kuala Lumpur - Kuching - Miri | Ukraine: Kiev | Romania: Targu Mures - Barsov | Morocco: Tetouan

{{2017}} Portugal: Faro | USA: Virginia - Michigan - Illinois - Colorado | England: Slough - Lancaster

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