I live in Barrio Cordoba, behind the Mall. I enjoy living there, as I have a great view of the beach and the port. It's a little different than it is along the waterfront, where many of those in Manta's expat community live. Cordoba is an old, established neighborhood that can take on a life of its own at times.
Recently, I have been hearing loud explosions going on all day. They weren't exclusive to my neighborhood, but there is definitely someone, or several different people, that love to blow things up. Just prior to midnight, there was a non-stop chorus of big bangs being generated by these small bombs, some so close to my building they felt like they were inside my apartment. But, after hearing a few very early this morning, they seemed to have finished (at least for now!).
I've often said that Ecuador sometimes reminds me of my youth during the 50's and 60's. I remember playing stickball and football in the streets, and having the neighbors call the police about it. I remember sledding in the streets when it snowed, and having the same neighbors call the police! Having the police show up never stopped me and my friends from using the streets for whatever we wanted; we felt like it was our street!
Yesterday morning I went to Stella Coulter's place for some seafood to cook last night. I grabbed a taxi and told the driver where I wanted to go. He went down 20th Street and took a right on 7th Avenue, but about halfway down he had to stop and turn around, the street was blocked by a ton of kids playing fútbol.
He turned around and went down to 3rd Avenue, where we ran into another fútbol game in the street. The driver got a bit peeved, but I laughed because it reminded me of those glorious days of yesteryear, when we played in the streets and didn't give a damn who didn't like it! It was our neighborhood!
And despite the City asking people to not use explosive fireworks, Manta lit up in every direction with a midnight bombardment of fireworks from every corner. The only place we couldn't see any fireworks from our condo's roof was out over the ocean. I love fireworks, and have for my entire life. I understand why the Mayor and others are trying to eliminate them, but as long as the skies are filled with them on NYE, then I'll probably continue to enjoy them.
Just after midnight, our neighborhood DJ started cranking up the music. He lives somewhere here in Cordoba, and regularly plays all the local parties. A lot of his shows consist of him yelling as loud as he can, screaming “Viva Manta” a thousand times! I agree with the sentiment, but he gets on my nerves after a while!
I got up just before eight this morning and heard him and his music still going strong. I don't know if there was a party going on, or if he was just hoping to continue one, but he finally stopped at nine, and called it a night. Viva Manta!
It's now a pretty quiet neighborhood here in Cordoba. Even the roosters are quiet, and the dogs are still tucked in after their night in dog hell. Our dog, who normally is very good with the fireworks and noises, was really freaked out last night. It was definitely a sensory overload for the animals and birds, for sure!
But it's Manta, Ecuador, and there is a joy to life and a celebration for everything meaningful. It's a city that resonates with its traditions, and that's not going to change anytime soon. I love living here and I look forward to another great year in my barrio!
Yes, Mr. DJ...........Viva Manta
The Author: Mark Bradbury