Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Communal Dining

Pumapungo Museo
The owner of the apartment complex where we are living arranged for us to go to lunch at her aunt’s restaurant. All those in the building who were interested were to meet in the lobby at 12:30. The owner, Malena is like a Cub Scout Den Mother. She makes sure all residents, permanent or temporary know each other. I was up on the roof doing laundry the other day when another tenant came up. She said "Are you the one who blogs? I was hysterical when I read the post on trying to change $50." I am thinking "How the he...?"

Earlier, Ron ran across the street to the cambio to break the last of our $50 notes. We then went to the little office directly across from our building where there is a mini-bank center for the sole purpose of paying bills, recharging your phone, or buying/recharging bus cards. Our purpose was buying a bus card and getting credit on it.

There are two types of bus implements to purchase. One looks like a regular credit card, but the others are circular disks with cutesy pictures on them. The first cost $1 and the others are $3. We left with the $1 plain boring card and $3 worth of credit on it. Each bus ride cost 25 ¢, so this amount should last us a good amount of time. We walk most places.

Joining us for lunch, included our new friends Mike and Howard, plus Sara and Tom from down our hall and Jerry from the second floor. Of course, Malena was with us. She opted for us to take taxis, so we needed two. At the restaurant, we sat outside since the weather was cooperating. Most of us had the chicken, but beef was the other option. We started with chicken soup (no feet this time), then we were served chicken in a sauce with rice on the side. The beverage was mango juice. Dessert consisted of grapes in a whipped cream. It was a delightful little lunch for $2.75.

Everyone went his or her separate ways after lunch. Ron and I were going to the Pumapungo Museo. We were about four blocks away when it started to rain. Of course neither of us had umbrellas. Reaching the museum while it was only raining lightly, as soon as we walked in the door, the downpour came. Thunder and some of the loudest thunder I have heard accompanied torrential rain. There was no way we were going to be able to explore the Arqueological Park behind the museum. We have been there before, but I wanted to look for llamas. Generally, there are three or more roaming on the hill beyond.

For those visiting the Pumapungo Museo now, they will not know what is missing. After registering, admission is free; we are directed immediately to the right and advised that no photography is allowed. In a series of rooms with low lighting, we revisit the early history of the Ecuadorian tribes, and then continue through the invasion of the Spanish where it ends.

From here, we enter the space now occupied by the paintings of James Pilco, an Ecuadorian artist. He has an incredible range of art. One room consists of paintings of children,
Not my photo
which are adorable and incredible. The next room offers us his interpretation of vegetables and fruits. Finally, a mixture of serious and comical subjects is entirely absorbing and fills a third room. You can see a sample of his work here in a YouTube video. It is in Spanish, but you can watch him paint. We were both fans from viewing the first painting and were really fans by the last painting.

When we were here last time, there was a humungous room filled with artifacts from the various tribes of Ecuador. We spent three hours just exploring these exhibits, but then on another level, there was colonial Spanish religious art that was fascinating as well as horrifying. All of this is now gone.
Not this day.

On the other side of the building, on the second level one can still explore an extensive ethnographic life-size diorama display of various aspects of ancient and modern Ecuador. All the time, we are looking out the window to see the rain pouring down.

We were lucky enough to get a taxi just as the rain eased as if the clouds were taking a deep breath in preparation for spewing more water down to earth. Now taxis have meter by law, which in turn dropped the prices. More people can afford a taxi now, so they are more difficult to get in the rain. After we arrived home, we remembered we had planned on stopping at the market, but the rain drowned out the memory. Later we had to run out again, this time with umbrellas.

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