Thursday, December 27, 2012

The Beauty of Old Things

Hey, don't be rude. The title is not referring to me. This is the day we are planning on the mother of all museums in Quito, the Museo Nacional Ministerio de Cultura. Reportedly, one needs about 4 hours to ‘do’ this cultural center with great justice. We are charged, but Ron has been suffering from fatigue. Assuming it is still the altitude creating some problems, we do sit to rest more often than any other adventure. 

We took the bus to the new section of town, holding our bags securely, but it was not as crowded as in the past. Arriving in the park where we had been prior, while Ron rested, I hunted through all of the booths selling merchandise, looking for a belt. My new nylon travel pants bought 2 months ago for this trip were just snug upon purchase. Now they fall over my hips as I walk. I continually having to readjust them less I start flashing and humoring Ecuadorians. Alas no luck, there was not a cinturón vendor amongst the lot. Back to holding up the pants by putting my hands in the pockets.

Once in the museum, we find that there are five main areas. The first to discover is the Sala Arqueología, which features artifacts from all over the country stretching back to pre-Columbian times. Set out in a maze like setting, the lighting is perfect for viewing the artifacts, reading the descriptions in English, and not getting bleary-eyed in the process. It also seems to create an atmosphere that encourages you to continue without feeling like information overload is dragging you down. There were more ancient tribes in this  area than I could ever had guessed and seeing the tools, decorated plates, furniture, and religious implements was exciting, educational and inspiring. Many of Ecuador's indigenous communities continue to use some of these things today.

Other areas included the Sala de Oro, which has a good collection of gold objects from before colonization. This was interesting, but not as engaging as the other pieces, so I breezed through here. Remaining sections are normally the Sala de Arte Colonial, the Sala de Arte Republicano and the Sala de Arte Contemporáneo. However, upon our visit, there was a special exhibit on maps and geography that had taken over the latter two galleries, so there were only a few pieces on display. The Sala de Arte Colonial was consumed with religious art, which in turn amused me or horrified me alternatively. The Hispanics have this way of displaying Jesus in the most gruesome ways, such as having him seated in chair surrounded by flowers, with arms welcoming you, but his face and body are dripping with blood. Thanks JC, but I will wait until after you have showered.

The rest of the day was spent relaxing since Ron was not feeling well. We went to a holistic health pharmacy where the healer gave him some pills for bronchial problems. Hopefully, this will help. He still has the cough he had before we left Budapest.

Dinner was at the same restaurant we ate at on Christmas. Short day!

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