So for New Year's Eve this year, I spent about two hours driving around town with my host parents watching the craziness in the streets. Apparently, it is common practice for the young men to dress as women and dance for the cars in exchange for a small tokens of money. It is the funniest and craziest thing I have ever seen. My host dad got kissed on the cheek and called "Popi" by so many of Quito's finest. I have never laughed so hard in all my life.
After our excursion throughout town, we headed to my host father's parent's house where we hung around until 11:30 p.m. when everyone headed outside to douse their homemade dolls of old clothing stuffed with newspaper in the shape of large men in kerosene and set them on fire. It was incredible. There were bonfires of dolls everywhere. They topped of the bonfires with fireworks I swear only should have been handled by professionals. I thought for sure more than one house was going to explode. It was fantastic. At midnight, we ate 12 grapes and danced in the streets. Around 12:30, we headed inside for a grand meal of turkey, rice, and veggies, followed by champagne, and you guessed it, shots of rum and coke. The music started bumping and the entire family hit the living room floor where we dance until 4:30 a.m. Even the grandparents partook in the drinks and dancing. The creepy old man relative wouldn't leave me alone but I figured it was only one holiday so I indulged him with some dancing. It was a marvelous NYE. I will be sure to eat 12 grapes and wear yellow underwear from now on in celebration of my time here in Quito. HAPPY NEW YEAR!!