Fiestas de Guápulo

Guápulo is a small village built into a cliff on the edge of Quito. Not only is it naturally stunning, but it is also host to adorable cobblestone colonial streets and some of Quito’s hippest cafes. It’s the neighborhood I originally wanted to live in, but my school is not very supportive of teachers living there and therefore transportation to and from work would be a hassle. The reason they recommend against Guápulo?  Frequent landslides and only one road to and from the neighborhood means people can be trapped there. Also, apparently last summer a plane flew into the cliff side straight into an apartment building, so there’s that.

 View from the top of the cliff of Guápulo
 
None of that makes a difference to me. Such a beautiful area! We went early for the village festival which was the most epic block party I have ever attended! Early on in the night there was a parade and tons of families running around. There were some crazy costumes, hairy chaps, and lots of whipping going on (something I also saw in Peru last summer).
The parade that went through town 
Anna, Laura and I tasted a bunch of different street food options. Llapingachos, awesome fried cheesy potato pancakes (Ecuadorian latkes!!), pulled pork, straight from the pig, mote, and giant corn on the cob slathered in shredded cheese. I did not die of diarrhea the next day, surprisingly enough!
 My typical Ecuadorian plate of llapingachos, mote, pork, and salad

Awesome giant cobs of corn
Once the festival started at night, things completely changed. The families disappeared and little kids running around were replaced by drunken locals and loud music. We stumbled from a friend’s house with bottles of beer only to be stopped by the police right in front of the central plaza. Turns out they only wanted us to pour the beer in plastic cups. Silly us.

Huge tower of fireworks that we stampeded around
   
Then came the fireworks! Apparently fireworks are not aimed at the sky in Guápulo, they are built into massive wooden structures and plowed into the crowds. Running around screaming with our hoods up, having fireworks shot at us, stampeding the masses trying to get closer to the huge towers was the most exhilarating, insane experience of my time in Latin America. Can’t wait for next year’s festival!!

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