We got up early the next day to do the rafting. The rapids were a class 3-4 and we had sooo much fun! We had one guy in our boat fall out, but thanks to our guides quick reaction he got him back in and we continued on. I definitely want to go again some time and wish I had done more on this trip. The rapids near Ottawa will be on my list now for when I get home!
Since it was new years eve day, we spent the rest of the day wandering around town admiring everyone’s stuffed or paper mache dolls that they would be burning at midnight. To explain the tradition in Ecuador briefly, they consider the year to be masculine, so at the end of the year, the year dies and therefore the man dies. One aspect is the burning because they burn away all the bad things from the past year. The second and hilarious aspect is that many guys dress in drag and roam the streets harassing people and stopping traffic to seduce them until they get money. These men in drag are supposed to represent the widowed female from the passing of the “male”. Already on our drive back to town after rafting we for stopped quite a few times in the van and the men were pulled out to be harassed by the “women”.
When we got back to town we quickly exchanged money into smaller coins so we didn’t go broke by midnight. The men in drag continued throughout the night. At midnight all the dolls were set on fire, including some that were 30+ ft tall. Also, almost everyone had a firework in their hands, so they were going off everywhere at midnight! It was quite the unique experience, and one I will never forget.