This past weekend has been Carnival in Bahia. (aka Mardi Gras, the beginning of Lent). Being a mostly Catholic country, they celebrate Carnival as a 4-day weekend. We didn't participate much, but we enjoyed watching the Ecuadorians enjoy their weekend.
Bahia is a beach town. They say it's a favorite vacation destination for the upper class Quitenos (people from Quito). People in Bahia were afraid that attendance would be down this year, because the road between Quito and Bahia is impassable right now due to a huge mudslide a week ago.
But from what we could see, after a slow start, the beach was jam packed right up until Tuesday evening.
We were out exploring the town and people-watching this weekend and got to see the start of 'the big parade' in Bahia. While we'd been walking around, we'd noticed people starting to sit down in the shade on the sidewalk of the main drag. We finally figured out there must be a parade somewhere. Though we decided not to wait for it, it ended up 'queuing up' right in front of Puerto Amistad.
They didn't have much music (except that which was emanating from various bars along the beach), but they did have an awesome drum section to accompany the parade.
At one point in the weekend, we were laying in our bunk with our portholes facing the beach... at 4am... and the music was still going strong from 2 different locations. Sigh... We closed our portholes and turned our fans on, and could still hear it booming over the water.
The other thing that has amazed us is the number of people they've been jamming on the car ferry. There are faster outboard motor-powered people ferries, with seats and all. But the car ferry lets people ride free. So it has been completely packed, in both directions, all weekend long.