Day 2 – May 3, 2014:
Business Visit: City Tour, Mitad del Mundo, & Museo Guayasmin
Takeaway #1: Faith and Culture
The city of Quito was quite a thriving metropolis. The very first thing you notice are the tight roads that crawl around each building. Much like many European cities, the buildings tend to have some wear and tear to them with a hint of Spanish and French architecture. This makes sense since the Spanish took over this country in the early 1530’s and the French have had many influences in the Ecuadorian sciences and culture. Overall, the city of Quito was full of religious symbols, statutes, and churches, mainly Catholic. The Catholic faith is entrenched into the minds of the Ecuadorian people. The Churches were active and alive even on the weekdays. This tells me that the economy, politics, and everything else that forms Ecuador is going to have some kind of foundation from the Catholic Faith and the traditions of the church. A great place for mission work!
Takeaway #2: Use a GPS Dummy!
The center of the world, a place I never thought I would visit in my lifetime. The Mitad del Mundo symbolizes Ecuador and give it its name. This monument was built to commemorate the site where French explorers calculated the world’s equatorial line, not much to se here but some history and tourist shops, but it makes for a fun day trip out of Quito. The real point where the equator passes through Ecuador was later found to be about 240 meters north of the line at Mitad del Mundo. There we found a real life native family who ran the site. We were amazed to see the unusual stuff that is caused by the Ecuador line, like the balancing egg on a nail head, the disorienting line walk, and the most famous event, the water draining experiment.
Takeaway #3: El Guitarrista! by Guayasmin
My undergraduate degree is in Fine Arts from Purdue University so this visit to Museo de Guayasmin was an exciting event for me. I realize that not many people enjoy modern art, and rightly so in many cases. Modern art has left reality behind and took any significance or meaning with it. However, I was somewhat impressed with Guayasmin and his ability to use emotion to pull the viewer in. El Guitarrista, The Guitarist, show above was my favorite painting of his. There is tons of emotion being pulled from the guitarist, basically showing his soul in playing and singing. The use of color is another feature that Guayasmin uses really well. The deep hues and bold colors suggest that most of his paintings were to spark rage or some strong emotion from the viewer. Couple that with his wacky political views and you have a popular artist in the making! My biggest takeaway from seeing these type of paintings in the heart of Ecuador is that art is powerful, weather you are in Europe looking at the renaissance painters or in Ecuador viewing modern painters like Guayasmin, they all have a message and a story to tell; except for most Post-modern artist.
Day two in the city of Quito, Ecuador was amazing! I love culture, art, language, and people, so for me to visit a new place like this and to see all those things on the first full day was awesome!