LLAMAS , MUSIC and POETRY
Ecuadror is the land of the Incas. The last tribe the Incas conquered were the Otavaloans. The language of the highlanders is Quecha . Their music is called Quecha Music, The music is lively and fun to listen too. The lyrics are poetry.
Similar songs come from Peru and Bolivia ,
An example of an Ecuadoran song is
"Chimba Loma "
" The Mountain Opposite"
from the province of Imbabura & Pichancha
" Remember when long ago
We met again on the mountain opposite.
The dark shawl that you were wearing
Could be seen from far away .
You approached in your felt hat.
It was you that came to me ,
On your finger the gold ring that I had given you.
You came that day to find we once again .
In the forest you appeared .
And I whistled to you little Zuleta girl
I was wearing a red poncho
And joyfully you told we that you loved me .
The city is just a few kilometres South of the Equator line (quick tours to "La Mitad del Mundo" may easily be found, though the site is not so interesting), but it would be very strange to have a hot day.
The city is divided, as it often happens, in two well defined areas: that for the "sierra's" elite, the rich white traders, officers and large-scale farmers, and then the rest, the Indian people who make a living through many difficulties in a fragile economy, which is still depending upon a few items: tourism, bananas, cocoa and oil.
Needless to say, the Indian people, who speak Quecha, use to live in the countryside, are taken away from the real economic power, are not appreciated within the city limits. It appears as if they are leaving in a separate world which is intersecating the "white" city, without mixing (an experience you may also have experienced in some former-English-rule African cities such as Harare or Cape Town), they have specific restauranbts and meeting places, a different rythm of life; and they are still almost a majority in number. In the past 10 years, the Indigenous people movements gained a lot in the country, mostly at political level, with an important representation now
sitting in the Parliament, but "globalisation" and open-markets keep the economy away from their control.
I’ve probably written several thousand words about the architecture of the city of Quito, but I don’t really think that there’s anything wrong with expounding a bit more on the treasure that is one of the world’s first cities to be declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Modern architecture in Quito really doesn’t compare to the city’s Colonial heritage, and it is undoubtedly the old city where people spend the greatest amount of time taking pictures and gawking at the spectacular buildings. Apart from the plethora of Baroque and Moorish-influenced churches, Quito is packed with structures that look like they were plucked out of a small Andalucian town and dropped into this valley by hazard. The colourful stucco walls, the red-tiled roofs and the slight Moorish influence help to preserve the impression of just how strongly the Spanish imprint on this country was cast. Some buildings do also feature the grills that are typical of Pensisular houses, although they aren’t quite as common as in other countries in the Americas. Luckily, the municipal and national authorities take the preservation of this city quite seriously, and it is rather uncommon to find a building or two (at least in the historic centre) that is in a bad state of repair.
Universidad Central de Ecuador
The Universidad Central del Ecuador, or the Central University of Ecuador, was originally founded in 1651 as the agglomeration of three universities, one Jesuit, one Dominican and one Augustine. At this time, it was called the Universidad Real Publica Santo Tomás, which required that its name be changed after independence. In 1836, it became Universidad Central de Quito, then Ecuador, the name by which it is currently known. The University boasts a full complement of faculties and specialties, being one of the oldest institutions of higher learning in the Americas. It is also known for its political activities, as several Ecuadorian Presidents were once deans of the school, and the University was closed on nine separate occasions by various governments, for its connection to anti-establishment or anti-government political movements. It was active in the events that led to the Primer Grito de la Independencia Hispanoamericana, the movement for independence from Spain, and the presence of left-wing and extreme-left political groups among the student population in the 1960s and 1970s caused sporadic clashes with the government and, eventually, closing of the University by the military dictatorship. The University is still politically active today, although there is a wider range of representation among the students, undoubtedly in part because of the government’s left-leaning coloration. My favourite part of the University, however, is the entrance to the Theatre, where there are bust of the various indigenous people of the country.
For a wide range of books
Libri Mundi is an upmarket bookstore at the Esquina Shopping Centre. The folks helped me find the book I needed and gift wrapped it free of charge. I bought a book of Ecuadorian recipes written in English as part of a Christmas present for Mama. A few days later, I came back to buy a tourist map of downtown for me as a souvenir and a calendar for a friend's Christmas present. It has an upmarket air, but I got by paying only $11.75 for the cookbook and only $8 for a tourism book on Quito just to have as a souvenir and about $7 for the calendar.