13 October 2009

The Batshit Crazy Bunbury Concert Quest

I'm back in Cangahua now, got back yesterday. Had been staying with Ave in the Valley, and we ended up with an adventure weekend this week.

Thursday night, this guy who goes by Bunbury was giving a concert in Quito. This is one of Ave's all-time favorite artists, and she was dying to go. Tickets for the Quito show ranged from $30-$120 or so, so she was apprehensive about spending that kind of money... but a week beforehand she told her aunt about the concert and asked her to go with, and she said that sounded nice. Ideally, the aunt would buy the tickets and Ave would pay her back when she saw her.

Wednesday night, Ave got a phone call. Auntie was going to the show with Ave's cousin, sitting in the middle-range ($60) area, and maybe she'll see Ave there? Apparently, she forgot that she was supposed to buy the ticket. Thursday night, Ave and I went to the theater to see if there were any cheap tickets left, or if we could find a deal with the re-sellers outside. The cheapest ticket was $70, a bit out of hand. Disappointed, we went back to the valley.

Bunbury was playing another show Saturday night in Sígsig, a small town slightly larger than Cangahua about an hour from Cuenca, in the south. Tickets there ranged from $3-$30, and with the $10 bus trip each way... it could potentially cost little more than the $30 Quito fee. Plus, we'd get to go to Cuenca, a beautiful colonial city, where we'd both been only once two years ago. We found a bus that left at 4 pm from Quito, threw a bag together, and left Friday afternoon.

Usually a 9-hour bus ride, we arrived in Cuenca at 4:30 am. Checked into the hostel where I'd stayed in 2007 and ended up with the same room, slept for 4 or 5 hours and headed out to find some cheap breakfast and a bus to Sígsig. Ate the most delicious cheese bread in the world, visited the cathedral, found our bus and set off.

At noon, Sígsig already had a couple thousand Bunbury fans waiting in lines on the street for the stadium to open. We immediately found $10 tickets, bought them, grabbed a bite to eat and sat on the curb in line. The stadium was to open at 2, with the concert starting at 9. 2:00 came and went, and they said they'd open the stadium at 5:00. At around 4:30 people started leaving, but we didn't know why. There was no announcement, the lines just kept emptying. Eventually we went to find out what was happening, and found out that the show was cancelled because the screens weren't working and the roof of the stage had fallen down. Nobody from the venue or musician's staff came to make an announcement, we just had to find out on our own. We asked three of the police officers standing around what the deal was, and got three different answers: 1) Cancelled outright. 2) Postponed to 5:00 Sunday. 3) Postponed to 9:00 Sunday. The thing I've realized about the majority of Ecuadorians is that if you ask them a question that they don't know the answer to, they'll make something up to get you far enough away not to come back and ask again. So we went further down the street and saw a huge crowd of people shouting... riot was in the air. The police were standing in a line with their armor on and shields out, and a group of idiots was yelling silly things, that Sígsig and the police were worth dick, that they should start a riot, etc. Understandably, the police were on edge, and tensions were high. Ave and I wanted no part in this riot, just information, but when we found a representative of Bunbury to ask what was happening and whether or not the concert was rescheduled for the next day he spent the entire time telling us they didn't want to fight instead of giving us real information. Eventually we found someone who knew something (a rarity in this country sometimes) and found out that it would be the next day at either 8 or 9:00. Good enough. We took the bus back to Cuenca.

We delayed our return bus ticket to the next day and checked back into our hostel room without issue and started walking around admiring Cuenca. It really is a fantastic city. Ate some shawarma, found the most awesome high school I have ever seen in my entire life (seriously, this place was fantastic. It's like a castle, and probably 150 years old and has these giant windows and high ceilings and a little garden, it was amazing), found an artisan named Jesus who sometimes goes by his name in Aramaic, Yeshua, and talked about Hebrew and Ecuador and several other things, and eventually meandered back to the hostel for some rest.

Morning came, got on the bus to Sígsig, and got in line again around 1:30. Made some new friends, and waited for hours until they started letting people in around 6:00. The line started to move and immediately the dark clouds that had been gathering overhead opened up and let loose on us. I had only brought the clothes I was wearing because I'd thought we would only be there the one night, so Ave and I took off our warmer clothes and put them in a plastic bag so that we'd have something dry and warm for the bus home that night. Shivering, we followed the line into the stadium, trudged through the mud and found the concrete steps that would serve as our seat. The stage was at the end of a soccer field, with those who paid more for their tickets on the field in front of it, and the rest of us in the stands on either side. A barbed wire fence surrounded the field, keeping us from those who spent more on their tickets.

The soccer field was only half full, so at one point the organizers and police started letting some of us poor folks in. We formed an orderly line and waited, but then the police said they wouldn't let anyone else in because if they let some in, everyone would want to come. The thing was, most of the people saw us lining up and knew what it was for, but didn't care to move. Oh well.

Aside from being slightly closer to the stage, an advantage of being inside the field was access to bathrooms and food. We had no such luxuries. The food stands were against the fence, though, so vendors started selling nourishment to us by passing money through the chain-link and climbing up to hand the food through the barbed wire. It was like we were smuggling things into a prison. We didn't have money for food anyway, so the only real issue was the lack of bathrooms. We survived.

Afterwards we caught a bus back to Cuenca and waited for our 3:20 am departure to Quito, made it back to the Valley a little after 1:00, and headed back up here to Cangahua. Yesterday was the first day it's rained for almost a month, and I told the Males family, the folks who rent us our apartment, that I'd gone on a 2 week quest to find the rain and bring it back. We should tell this to Pambamarca, since they said the rain didn't come because of us. Now they should let us work to thank us, right? ...We'll see.

Okay, that's about all I have for now. Gonna go relax in the apartment or take care of some business in Cayambe. Hope all's well.

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