How to be the Most Popular Guy at Nawi Fest

Dana fits in just about anywhere, even her first Nawi Fest.

Dana fits in just about anywhere, even her first Nawi Fest.

How does a fair-skinned, blue-eyed gringo at his first Nawi Fest become the most popular guy on the Malecon?

Mostly, he just acts himself, and walks the streets full of several thousand partying Ecuadorians, carrying a high-powered Nikon camera. The rest takes care of itself.

Nawi Fest comes to Pto. Cayo, Ecuador once a year. What is Nawi Fest? Well, it’s the opening of a bar – and not a particularly extraordinary bar. It’s bamboo construction just like all the others on the beach, but for some reason when Nawi Bar opens each January, time stands still in Ecuador.

Nawi Bar opens around the third weekend of January each year, and remains open for six weeks, not necessarily every day, or even Monday through Friday, but it’s open sometimes, all the time, during that six weeks, and yes, it’s a big deal.

More precisely, this is what Nawi Bar is:

Beer, sun, beer, food, beer, dancing, beer, hard liquor, beer and more beer.

In my 47 years I’ve been to a Jimmy Buffet concert on the beach, Wrigley Field and Busch Stadium. I’ve even toured a Coors distillery in Denver and Anheiser-Busch in St. Louis, and I’ve never seen the quantity of beer that Nawi brings to Pto. Cayo on opening day.

A few photos from our first Nawi Fest…

This is about 1/100th of the total number of cops in Puerto Cayo on Saturday. When you see this happening eight hours before things ever get rolling, you know you're in for quite a party.

This is about 1/100th of the total number of cops in Puerto Cayo on Saturday. When you see this happening eight hours before things ever get rolling, you know you’re in for quite a party.

I thought it was necessary to contribute to the local economy by having at least one cold Pilsener.

I thought it was necessary to contribute to the local economy by having at least one cold Pilsener.

Nawi Fest in Ecuador

When there is so much beer on hand, you might as well go ahead and construct your tienda from beer. A house of beer, if you will.

When there is so much beer on hand, you might as well go ahead and construct your tienda from beer. A house of beer, if you will.

Did I mention there was beer on hand?

Did I mention there was beer on hand?

Nawi Fest in Ecuador

Ten minutes after we arrived, this young scholar offered me a joint. His special blend, I presume. I respectfully declined, but to commemorate the moment, we posed for this impromptu Polaroid.

Ten minutes after we arrived, this young scholar offered me a joint. His special blend, I presume. I respectfully declined, but to commemorate the moment, we posed for this impromptu Polaroid.

What's in the bag, God only knows.

What’s in the bag, God only knows.

Entry to the beach dance.

Entry to the beach dance.

The Red Cross was on hand, in case things got rowdy, and a natural disaster ensued.

The Red Cross was on hand, in case things got rowdy, and a natural disaster ensued.

My take on the cops. Most of them were there to pick up chicks. Actually, they did a great job of keeping things manageable.

My take on the cops. Most of them were there to pick up chicks. Actually, they did a great job of keeping things manageable.

The shirt says it all.

The shirt says it all.

Mr. Bean is pretty big in Ecuador.

Mr. Bean is pretty big in Ecuador.

No power for your street-side tienda? No problemo! Just run a few copper wires up to the city lines, and "borrow" some juice, and your in business. Perfecto!!!

No power for your street-side tienda? No problemo! Just run a few copper wires up to the city lines, and “borrow” some juice, and you’re in business. Perfecto!!!

These molecules of toilet paper cost Dana 30 cents. She didn't have a square to spare.

These molecules of toilet paper cost Dana 30 cents. She didn’t have a square to spare.

nawi fest in ecuador

I'm pretty sure I got gringo-taxed on this ear of corn.

I’m pretty sure I got gringo-taxed on this ear of corn.

You don't even want to know.

You don’t even want to know.

A hammock rental for $1 around 7 p.m. was a great investment, and the views weren't bad either.

A hammock rental for $1 around 7 p.m. was a great investment, and the views weren’t bad either.

Nawi Fest inEcuador

Our last photo of the night, Dana snapped this photo when she saw these guys pouring cologne all over their bodies. The gentleman on the left offered to pull down his pantalones for the photo, but Dana told him it would not be necessary.

Our last photo of the night, Dana snapped this photo when she saw these guys pouring cologne all over their bodies. The gentleman on the left offered to pull down his pantalones for the photo, but Dana told him it would not be necessary.


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