Friday, April 8: Walkabout

Although it rained off and on yesterday, it settled in for some serious raining about 4:00 pm. I stuck a tumbler out on the balcony and managed to collect at least 3 cm of water in the next two hours. Last night the Rio Tomebamba was running very high. This morning I went down the steps beside the hostel (called La Escalinata) and took some photos of the river. The two earlier shots provide some comparison to previous days river flows.

March 25 April 6 April 8

Since it wasn’t raining this morning we had a quick breakfast and were ready to go by about 8:30am.We decided to walk through an area where we hadn’t walked before. So, we walked three blocks North to Presidente Cordova and then turned East (away from the main plaza).
Extension ladder
We passed a workman painting a second floor balcony using an extension ladder. This wasn’t you usual extension ladder. Each section of ladder was a series of 2×2 rungs nailed to a pair of 2×2 uprights. To make things even safer, the two sections of ladder were overlapped and lashed together with rope. I don’t think that ladder would meet CSA or OSHA safety standards!
Coffin shop

As a matter of fact, if a car drove along and hit the bottom of that ladder, the workman’s family might have to make use of the casket shop nearby.

Honoring the Father's work Masonry looks like siding

Before long we came to a small plaza with a statue of Father Victor Cuesta Vintimilla in memory of his work in this area. The building behind the statue appears to be sheathed in wood siding. But, on closer examination it is actually masonry shaped to look like wood siding.

This area had some very interesting houses with curved walls, jagged rooflines and attractive facades.

Curved front
Curved front
Jagged roofline
Jagged roofline
Attractive facade
Attractive facade

When we reached Av. Huayna Capac we turned South and walked down past the Banque Central Museo and the Pumapungo Inca ruins. The flowers in the botanical gardens below the ruins were spectacular.

Huayna Capac Yucca in bloom

This time I got a chance to take my time and get a good photo of the statue of the Incan leader, Huayna Capac down near the Rio Tomebamba. Near the statue was a large yucca plant in full bloom.
Bridge over Rio Tomebamba
The bridge over the Rio Tomebamba has some interesting decoration on the sides. Note that the river is flooding somewhat due to the rains in the past few days.
Iglesia El Vergel

I also got a good photo of the Iglesia El Vergel just across the river.

We walked into the blacksmith/iron workers area and got a much better feel for the area than we did on the drive-by tour yesterday. All along there were narrow passageways back between buildings. They reminded us of the hutongs in China.
As we walked through the area we could see some of the blacksmiths at work.

Working on balcony railings
Working on balcony railings
Setting up grinder
Setting up grinder
Painting a gate
Painting a gate

We also got to see some of their work. Note that they create the interesting decorations on the roofs of their shops and houses.

Roof ornament
Roof ornament
Light fixtures and roof ornament
Light fixtures and roof ornament
Objects d'art
Objects d’art

We walked further up the street of the blacksmiths (Calle de las Herrerias) and came to a shop where they sold carved wooden items.

Wood carving for sale
Wood carving for sale
Carved table
Carved table
Carver at work
Carver at work

There is a plaza in this area with a large statue honoring the blacksmiths and ironworkers who lived and worked in this area. Their names are incised into the bricks that are part of the paving around the sculpture.

Overview of sculpture
Overview of sculpture
Closeup of sculpture
Closeup of sculpture
Blacksmiths' names in bricks
Blacksmiths’ names in bricks

Just up the street was what appeared to be an abandoned school. We wondered what might be done with such a property? Turn it into a hostel or maybe into a school to teach young people traditional handicraft skills.

Classroom wing
Classroom wing
Main entrance
Main entrance
Playground equipment
Playground equipment

As we walked towards our hostel along Av. 12 de Abril we passed many large imposing homes. We also passed one place where the owners didn’t feel the existing fence was high enough (6 feet) and so workmen were welding on extensions to increase the fence height to 9 feet.

Nice home
Nice home
Nice landscaping
Nice landscaping
Increasing the fence height
Increasing the fence height

Cleaning the steps
As we climbed the steps beside our hostel, workmen were busy cleaning the steps using a high pressure hose.

This afternoon we walked out to call Daniel to see how things were up in Brandon. It took a couple of tries but Nan did eventually get in touch. Then we checked out some merchandise in the handicraft market. We stopped briefly in the food market to get some fruit and then headed for the hostel as the rain started to come down. It rained hard to a little while and then it cleared up again. We didn’t bother going to Gringo night at Zoe’s this evening.