Flash mob:Quito dances

I met a random guy at Ta Quitos, a little Mexican takeout window in Quito, who held the key to an experience that I had been hoping to come across at some point.

Just as I ordered my burrito, I planted my elbow into some spilled sauce on the counter. ‘Ce la vie’, said the stranger. ‘Verdad’, I said, laughing, true. Clumsiness and I have become familiar, comfortable companions on my travels thus far.

This guy, and I never found out his name, asked me my plans for the evening. They were indeed mundane: packing and preparing myself for a load of flights and avoiding the hectic streets of La Mariscal, Quito. He understood it, but persuaded me nonetheless to at least make it along to Plaza Foch for 8:00PM, if not the follow on party at El Aguijón. I was intrigued.

I arrived at the square to crowds gathered around a temporary movie screen showing the last parts of a sweet, nicely shot fictional film called Mi Amigo Invisible. It was one of eleven films being screened for the Festival de Cine bajo de Luna 2800 metros de altura (Film Festival below the moon at 2,800m), sponsored not only by local organisations but also drawing in funding from governments in Ecuador and Spain.


Watching a movie in Plaza Foch, Quito

As the boy onscreen hugged his imaginary friend and the credits rolled, people started to chat with friends whilst regularly glancing around; clearly I wasn’t the only one expecting something.www.travelola.org

And then suddenly the music kicked in and the crowd pushed forward to form a circle around a group of red t-shirted people, maybe twenty or so, and the dancing began: synchronised moves, sweeping arm movements, big smiles from dancers and onlookers. And I didn’t see it happen, but suddenly the twenty became forty, and then again invisibly doubled. Who was an official dancer, who was a general member of the public joined in, I don’t know. It was part of the magic.

The music drew to a close and the dancers melted into the crowd who in turn melted away into the bars and restaurants and streets of Quito.

Did it really happen? It wasn’t Times Square, but it was a fun bit of promotion that put smiles on people’s faces. Thanks for the flash mob experience Quito, I leave with memories of dancing and music and fun.


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