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Guayaquil post jazz fest

May 3, 2016

Guayaquil 2.5.16

An event to remember. The New Orleans Jazz Festival. A festival of music and mud. Torrential rain late on the Saturday put an end to one of the drawcards, Stevie Wonder and seriously curtailed the numbers who attended on the Sunday. On that last day, it rained almost continuously but the show went on. People like Neil Young and Bonnie Rait playing to bedraggled fans standing in inches of mud. We were one of them but hey, how often do you see these super stars performing. And then there was Arlo Guthrie singing ‘Alice’s Restaurant’ luckily this time under cover. All the geriatric hippies hooped and hollered as if they were back in the swinging 60s. Paul Simon the day before got away with it easily, the sun was shining then, the crowds massive.
But that wasn’t all. In fact each day there were over 60 bands or groups singing at the 12 venues that had taken over from the Turf Racing Club of New Orleans. The jazz and blues played was some of the best you would hear anywhere. The Gospel singing especially of the mass choirs had the arms-waving faithful begging for more. This tent was our haven from the rain for a couple of hours and hearing alleluias for that length of time dented our enthusiasm to visit one of the nearby churches on the Sunday morning. But the singing was really out of this world. The vibes at the festival were amazing: strangers quickly became friends. Zane shared our merlots, he used to work for Rosemount wines, Paul from Dallas insisted we visit him when we come back in our bakkie, “Where y”all from?” was often asked once they heard our accent. It was great. Meeting up with Paul & Margot was a pleasure in itself. Having just been to Cuba and Mexico they were able to regale some of their experiences to us. Paul had us on the go. Wearying but sometimes it’s good to stretch yourselves. We shared a nice mea in a nearby French restaurant before going our different ways.
Then there was the music outside the festival. A stranger listening to Paul Simon mentioned ‘The Band’ was performing the 40th anniversary of ‘The Last Waltz’ concert up town that night. Hell. The best players all over the US were there entertaining us into the early hours of the morning. Each restaurant or bar had their band. Walking down Bourbon Street amongst drag queens, topless women Little Red Riding Hood and her wolf it was all so surreal.
So Tuesday finds us in the heat of Guayaquil, Ecuador. Waiting to catch the bus down to where the bakkie is in northern Peru. The last 24 hours has had us catching up on some of the sleep missed while in New Orleans.
Copa Airlines, Panama based was a pleasant surprise: well organised, new planes, friendly but efficient crew, it’s all anyone could ask for. The airport at Panama City is a hub with flights branching out from here all over Sth America as well as to the north. The duty free was fantastic unfortunately for Joan our was a run from the inward flight to the Guayaquil gate where they were waiting for us before they closed the plane door.
It has been a week to remember.
Sent from my ASUS Pad

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