Dispatches From South America – Burning the Old Year

Ecuadorans have a unique way of celebrating on the new year. They dispatch the Año Viejo (‘old year’)—along with effigies of the famous and infamous—in bonfires that are lit up just about everywhere.

These are the widows of the old year. They stop traffic and passersby, begging for alms with which to bury the old year.

And here we go…bonfires on every block, bonfires by the thousands. By morning Quito was covered in a smokey haze, but you know…I didn’t mind. Dispatching 2009 seemed somehow right. Certainly more appropriate than welcoming 2010. (More photos here.)

More ‘Dispatches From South America’

12 thoughts on “Dispatches From South America – Burning the Old Year”

  1. Burning down the past is a great idea.We’re planning on doing the ex-pat thing this year but heading north rather than south. Canada isn’t really far enough but at least it’s not the USA.

    Best wishes to you both in 2010.

  2. You seem wary about 2010. You’re right to be. 2009 was awful, but that doesn’t mean that 2010 is welcome in my house. Stupid century keeps getting worse all the time…

  3. Thanks for the note. I’m reevaluating my commitment to the cause. To be honest, progressives have done a lot of damage to the country this year and I feel somewhat responsible. A lot of good people are hurting because of the beliefs we fought so hard for. I think, no – I know we were wrong and we need to make things right before it’s too late.

  4. Susan… Thanks for the wishes. So far, we’re loving the ex-pat thing, but that will no doubt change when jobs become an issue. Right now this is somewhere between life and vacation.

    SA… Indeed I am, so far I see very few signs of improvement, but you need to keep an open mind, right? Happy New Year!

  5. Helen… I’m really confused by your comment. Rather than having done damage to the country, so-called ‘progressives’ like Obama have turned out to be nothing of the sort, and real progressives have refused to band together to hold the f*cker’s feet to the fire.

    Duped…perhaps we were. But “wrong”? No. I just can’t see it. How is universal health care, ending military welfare, and moving the US back to position of equity and opportunity wrong?

  6. Hey all – I found burning 2009 to be very cathartic. I only wished I had a bag of marshmallows along. Those were some spectacular bonfires.

    Happy 2010!

  7. It has nothing to do with anybody’s feet to the fire and this is really not complicated. We’ve held both houses since 2007 AND we elected Obama. Conservatives can’t stop us, they don’t have the votes. We’ve have everything we need and we still can’t make the big ideas work. No excuses. So either we are completely retarded or our big ideas aren’t workable. Unemployment is through the roof and EVERY POLL is against everything and every program we stand for, so it doesn’t take a rocket science to figure out we are wrong. Progressives are doing real damage to the country and the American people know it. Come November, it will be a blood bath for Democrats.

  8. Perhaps it was more of not voting for another Republican after 8 years of Bush, more than voting for Obama as far as the electorate was concerned.

    I haven’t given up yet and November is a long ways away. The old “a week is a long time in politics” thing. Republicans have screwed up a little bit themselves this year with their inane screaming, although Congressional Democrats take some beating. Time, we still have time.

  9. Hey Kvatch and Frogette. At last I have a moment to make the rounds and get an answer to the mysterious comments you left at my place. So you’re not quite ex-pat but it sounds like you’re leaning in that direction. Ecuador was never on my list of possible destinations but it sounds appealing.

    Happy New Year and looking forward to more dispatches from the southern hemisphere.

  10. We’ve have everything we need and we still can’t make the big ideas work. No excuses. So either we are completely retarded or our big ideas aren’t workable. Unemployment is through the roof and EVERY POLL is against everything and every program we stand for… Progressives are doing real damage to the country and the American people know it.

    Helen,

    We have everything we need except a Democratic party willing to do what their constituents want. That’s no different than it’s been in the last two decades. As for every poll being, “…against everything we stand for,” I don’t buy it. I’ve read poll numbers on single-payer health care, for example, that say that it’s still supported by a 55% to 45% margin, despite Obama’s anemic posturing during the debacle.

    I simply don’t buy that progressives are doing damage to the country. How can they? There are no real progressives in office.

  11. Libby… No indeed, not quite an ex-pat. But there’s nothing like actually living abroad to give you insight into the pitfalls.

    Holte… I’m not sure that Helen is wrong about the Democrats suffering in November, but perhaps not for the reason she states. Dems are doing essentially…nothing, and the American electorate is one of the most fickle in the world When the current economic crisis hasn’t eased and there is no improvement in the health care situation, it’s pretty natural in the US that the party in power gets beaten up. We’ll see.

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