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Quito, Ecuador

Last night after work, we piled into cabs and found ourselves at the olympic stadium (though they've never held the Olympics in Ecuador...) with music eminating from the interior. Outside the main entrance were many of the ususual suspects--people of all ages standing in clusters, ticket scalpers roaming about screaming for buyers, women & children selling candy & cigarettes, and policemen mounted on horseback. A normal Friday night, no?

Since we arrived around 730/8, most of the general admission sections were already full, so we kept being turned away from entrance doors and directed to keep on toward the farthest entrance. Finally we got in and made our way through the lobby filled with food vendors--popcorn, salchipapas (hot dogs fried with fries), slabs of assorted meats, sanduches, foot-long hot dogs with more toppings than I can name and hamburguesas. We sauntered into the packed stadium and were on the lookout for our friends and seats. We found Meadhbh first and after a lot of back and forth between seats and other areas within our section, we all ended up in the first row of the second section back--pretty sweet seats really, except for all the traffic bumping into us (especially since I was also sitting on the stair aisle.

Along with the food vendors stationed in the lobbies, there were hundreds of vendors walking around with their merchandise. More of the same food, plus cigarettes & candy boxes, soda, coffee, beer ("cerveza, buena cerveza..."), chips, juanes commemorative pins and posters, glow in the dark sticks, light-up devil horns and light sabers, and rain ponchos.

We lucked out weather wise.

It's hard to find a break from the rain sometimes, but during out time in the stadium it only drizzled briefly--enough for most of my compatriots to buy the $2 cheap plastic ponchos (I brought my umbrella, of course) or whip out their own.

Music wise, I'm not sure how many bands played in total, but there were at least representatives from Mexico, Colombia and Ecuador. During my 5 hours, I saw 3 bands perform. I think the first performer was Jose Luis del Hierro, who put on a great show and had lots of funny coats...at one point he could have passed for a disco ball.
The next band can best be described as an 80's hair cover tribute band, complete with outrageous hair, head bands, leather vests and pants, and synchronized routines. They also had smoke and fire jets as well as fireworks to really liven up their set.

Finally Juanes appeared (probably close to 1145/midnight by now) and got right into it, playing many of my favorite songs. I was out of my seat in an instant, thankful for all the room sitting in the first row granted me. Dancing, singing, serenading my friends, getting strange looks from passersby, etc. I was having a blast! He played a great mixture of old and new songs, which I really appreciated. What a great live performer!
During his encore, he brought out the VicePresident of Ecuador who gave a speech about how awesome Juanes is and all he does for Latin America. He awarded Juanes with the title of Ambassador of Happiness, Peace and Solidarity.

A few songs later into the encore, he broke out a sweet salsa beat and people all over the stadium paired up and were dancing...in aisles, stairwells, the field below, you name it! It was really cool to see all the movement of the salsa dancers. Then, we decided that with the amount of people in the stadium, it would probably be a good thing to get out a bit before them so we could actually get a cab and not be stuck in the chaos of the stadium clearing out. Great choice. I was sad to miss the last song or two, but glad to find a cab to bring me him almost immediately...and at a reasonable price! Since this was bound to be a busy night for taxis, many drivers were jacking up the prices to ridiculous, insulting levels because they could--they knew everyone would need a ride home and there would be much competition for cabs, so passing up a cab wouldn't be a smart decision. Luckily, the driver Emily and I found was very sweet and easy to haggle with (even though his initial offer was decent, it's no fun if you don't converse about it a bit, and get it down a dollar or two).

After a long night of sitting, waiting, singing and dancing I was surprisingly energized and kept replaying the songs in my head and dancing some more. This was a night to remember.

(disclaimer: the title of this entry is inspired by a Juanes song....though at the time I can't recall the title)

permalink written by  Theresa on November 22, 2008 from Quito, Ecuador
from the travel blog: Adventures in Teaching and Living in Ecuador
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permalink written by  longweddingdress on November 3, 2011

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