NAWI Festival – 23rd January 2016
The eagerly anticipated day of the NAWI Festival in Puerto Cayo finally arrived after a two-year ban. Why may you ask was it banned?
I’m informed from various sources that the last NAWI festival was nothing but a sex, drug and alcohol fest. The small town of Puerto Cayo got overcrowded by approximately 30,000 people with little or no crowd control at all.
But this year the NAWI Festival made its appearance once more and with a police and military presence of note. There were possibly more police in little Puerto Cayo than at the Bon Jovi Concert in Cape Town South Africa, and that is saying something!
I was extremely impressed with the police’s presence and their attitudes – friendly, efficient and impressively proud to wear their uniform. I was also surprised at the number of women in uniform, very beautiful women at that and the uniforms did not do their beauty any justice.
Apart from the police, were the dog unit, equestrian unit and a helicopter. Every unit proudly did their duty quietly yet made their presence known. If anyone tried to do anything against the law with such a law enforced presence, well then that was their stupidity and deserved their punishment.
I expected a more carnival type atmosphere with rides and artistic performances etc. but all that was going on was a body boarding and surfing competition. On that note, I must commend the surfing association for encouraging surfing in Puerto Cayo. It is a popular sport in many places in Ecuador with some really good surfing spots and impressive waves, but they are making an assertive effort in Puerto Cayo. When we arrived, the first three riders were heading out for the first heat of the bodyboarding competition. When we left at almost 6 pm, the final heats of the surfing competition were taking place.
There were a few stalls selling curios but mostly it was restaurants or vendors selling food and drinks. If they were selling alcohol it was sold in cups – no bottles allowed. Ali and I landed up at El Gringos but were a bit early as the owners/chef had not yet arrived. It was worth the wait as that was the nicest $6 burger we have eaten in a long time.
The bands started the music festival and, at last, a festival atmosphere, off at 1 pm. The first band on stage was Raspados from Jipijapa. The played songs we knew in English, songs we knew in Spanish and songs we didn’t know in Spanish. A good mix and were truly very entertaining in their renditions of the songs and their interaction with the crowd, which grew increasing larger as they played.
I have had reports that the attendance in the evening was approximately 10,000 people, and there were no reported incidences of any major offences. The festival came to an end in the early hours of the morning – 4 am. I know this, besides being informed of it, as the traffic on the main roads indicated such since it woke me up.
I have one huge criticism, and that is that there was no effort made to clear the litter off the main beach after high tide. Litter is a major problem in Ecuador, and this was clearly evident here.
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