Oswaldo Guayasamin and the equator, Day 3

Bloody Tears by Oswaldo Guayasamin, Quito, Ecuador

One of the delights of travel is to be surprised, to be continually surprised, in fact, at the richness the world has to offer.  Christi and I experience that today during a visit to the Campilla del Hombre, the palatial museum in Quito housing the art of Latin America’s most famous artist, Oswaldo Guayasamin.  His style is cubism.  His oeuvre is suffering (so if you weren’t happy going in, you sure won’t be smiling on the way out) but he tackles subjects from Hiroshima, to child suffering, to recommending that the former Chilean dictator General Pinochet be hung (quite graphic that one).  Oddly enough, though, Guayasamin’s most famous piece is entitled ´Tenderness’, which as the name implies is a little on the happier side.

We finish the day 20 miles north of Quito at the equator (ecuador means equator in Spanish). There are two attractions vying for the tourist dollars here.  The first is the fake equator at Mitad del Mundo where (with a little creative photography) it’s possible to hold the globe, Hercules-like, on your shoulders.  Next door is the real equator attraction, Museo Solar Inti Nan that – among other things – showcases a series of gimmicky science experiments. The most popular is a demonstration of the Coriolis Effect.  In essence, water drains clockwise in the northern hemisphere and counter-clockwise in the southern hemisphere.  The fun doesn’t stop there, though.  Did you know that it’s possible to balance an egg on the head of a nail on the equator (but not elsewhere).  I did it, and I have the certificate to prove it.  I knew all my years of scientific training would come in handy one day.

I must just mention the pilgrimage we made to a man known as the Candy King in Quito.  His family has made Colaciones de Cruz Verde (green cross candy) to a traditional recipe for generations. Even Ecuadorian presidents have been tempted by these delicious delicacies, which resemble peanut bonbons.

Blog post by Roderick Phillips, author of Weary Heart, a gut-wrenching tale of love and test tubes.


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