Friday, May 18, 2007
I have scheduled Day 2 in Quito to be a New Town Day. Thus, after eating breakfast in the colonial old town hotel, I went to the new part of the city. I did this by paying 0.25 USD and riding the Trole, which is one of the three lines of trolleybuses that ply the roads of Quito. The others are the Ecovia and the Metrobus.
My first stop was the Parque La Alameda. There isn't a big thing here, but the thing to see here is this.
This is a statue of Simon Bolivar again. This is located at the lower end of the park. Apparently, it depicts Ecuador's struggle for independence. Too bad the lighting wasn't too optimal.
After taking a picture of that, I rode the trolley again and then moved to another park, Parque La Carolina. This huge park is an open space of land and it fills with families spending quality time on the weekends. To my Filipino readers, one can compare this to Rizal Park (Luneta) in Manila, or to New York City's Central Park.
Inside this huge piece of land is the Jardin Botanico (which I visited) and the Vivarium (which I planned to visit but simply had no time. The Botanical Garden was a recommended visit, so I did. The Vivarium was recommended also, but I didn't have a lot of time, so I wasn't able to see all those critters and animals that are native to the Ecuadorian jungle.
The thing that is good with the Botanical Garden is that there are a lot of plant species in there on display. I guess the best collection would be the orquedario (orchid house), which apparently houses some 600 Ecuador-native orchid species. The following are some of my pictures.
After my visit to the Botanical Garden, I walked up the hill to find the Museo Oswaldo Guayasamin. Oswaldo Guayasamin was a famous Ecuadorian artist (who apparently had an obsession with hands, as his works testify) who died recently. His house was then converted into a museum and art gallery. He was an avid collector of art, and add to that his own works.
His house was located in the Eastern side of the city, on top of a hill. And since it was just my second day in the city, climbing the hill was a bit of a stretch. I could feel the thin air, and I was breathing through my mouth already, because the oxygen simply wasn't there, as it seems.
Anyway, I finally reached the place, and so I got myself an English-speaking guide, and she explained to me what the collections were about.
As I said before, Guayasamin had an obsession with hands. Apparently, he believed that humans' most intense emotions can be expressed through the hands. I thought that was a neat trick. This is part of his work entitled Los Manos and each piece depicts a human emotion. I believe they were individually entitled like Hands of Sorrow, Hands of Anger, and so on.
This was one of his sculptures. I believe it is called The Family. And I think it represents the Ecuadorian population, because it was explained to me that one of the parents were Caucasian, and the other indigenous. The child is thus a mestizo.
This is a photo of the museum. It was finished in 2002, and it seems to have plenty of symbolisms with regard to the number 3. The Incas seemed to have a special regard for this number, and this was reflected in the structure. It had 3 floors, it had 3 sections inside, and the dimensions were all divisible by 3. Awesome!
After that, I went to the Central Market to get a cheap lunch. I took a cab this time in getting there. I ordered guatita (tripe soup with potatoes and avocados) and ate it in the food stalls. It was fun eating in an Ecuadorian market, especially when you see all those carcasses of beef and pork parading in front of you, being carried by the assistants on their shoulders, while slurping your guatita. One must have a strong stomach in order to eat in the Mercado Central.
After that, I went to the Museo del Banco Central. This is the country's premier cultural museum. The admission was free when I was there, apparently because of some event. But I wasn't able to take any pictures because it was forbidden. Anyway, I saw tons of religious art, some shrunken heads, mummified bodies, and plenty of pre-Columbian gold in the exhibits.
This then effectively made me tired again, thus, I retired for the day. I went in a restaurant called Hasta la Vuelta, Senor! for dinner. Eating secos de chivo and locro de papas in a colonial 16th century balcony was the most amazing experience for the night.
I'll continue the rest of the trip on another post. Meanwhile, enjoy this other shot for the Old Fort Niagara Series. I have to admit I am getting sick of this series, but since I started it, I have to finish it. Enjoy.