The Festivales de Quito are the celebrations in Quito at the beginning of December. The festivals commemorate the ancient founding of the city of Quito. The celebrations go on for about two weeks, and live music is played constantly – there was a band right by my house playing music until 11 p.m. each night. Early on in the first week, IES Abroad Quito got us a chiva to go around Quito! A chiva is essentially a party bus, and a total blast.
The exterior of our chiva was fantastic – a bright orange-yellow, with panels of indigenous-style paintings. There was a slatted wood roof, with silly phrases written on the boards (generally about women, life, or booze – mostly booze). There was a multitude of ropes hanging from the roof – you can’t ride the chiva without a hold on something. Upon entry we were given a plastic whistle and a cup on a string, and were surprised/overjoyed/daunted by the sight of a silver pole in the center of the cab. And there’s more, but I’m not to give away the entire ride to any potential students (the ride is best when its thrust upon you with no context).
Anyway, the chiva will be, without a doubt, one of my most memorable experiences from Ecuador.
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<p>I'm Oonagh (ooh-nah), a junior at Grinnell College, and a Political Science major who fancies herself an occasional artist and a lifelong doodler. I'm very excited and mildly terrified to start my stay in Quito, but I'm very much looking forward to immersing myself in the language and culture.</p>