Can you top this?
30.05.2017 - 31.05.2017 77 °F
After several long hours of learning a very few of the ins and outs of the Quito bus system, and a slog up quite a steep hill, I arrived at my first destination, the YAKU Water Museum. I made this choice partly because of my ongoing interest in children's science museums and because I and a number of my good friends have an interest in water as an important topic in the world today.
Quito is built on land which was highly eroded and which is threaded with numerous giant gullies. Here is the view of one directly behind the museum as well as a typical hillside community just adjacent to the gully.
I ran across a very interesting and quite comprehensive discussion of the history of Quito's gullies and urban planning efforts to cope with Quito's unique topography while respecting the environmental sensitivity of the community here (this link causes the download of a good-sized PDF, so be aware - it is in English).
The museum is built from the site of an early water purification facility that served Quito and some of the original equipment is on display. One room has an explanatory video for some of the old filtration tanks which includes English, but the rest of the museum is in Spanish. I did talk to a very friendly guide who had excellent English so it is possible to enjoy the museum with limited Spanish (that's me!). The museum is quite new and has very good exhibits and activities. Here's one of the displays and a picture of their 'water room' for kids to explore.
Here's a couple of other interesting areas. This pool and fountain focus on the role of water in local mythology, including Yaku, a snail god. The next picture is of is a children's village area where kids can see how water affects their everyday lives. Unfortunately it was closed when I arrived, so I was unable to access it.
The museum is perched high in the hills over Quito which makes it a great place to have a look at the entire city. Like Seattle, there are at least three active volcanoes that peek out on the horizon depending on the weather. Here are pictures of each of them they day I visited.
The last image is of Cotapaxi volcano, which I will visit in my next entry! (Sorry, Seattle - Mt. Ranier may be over 14,000 feet tall, but Cotapaxi tops 19,000 feet!)
The museum has a beautiful panoramic window that give you a great view of the entire city -
So the museum was a hit with me, and then I had one of my lucky moments on the way out.
At the exit to the museum I saw a doorway with a peculiar object over the door and the sound of power tools coming from inside. I got brave and decided to stick my head in the door. Inside I found a tiny woodworking shop filled with hundreds of miscellaneous objects and a very friendly guy. He had no English at all, but we managed to get a conversation started. He is Jorge Rivadeneira. At age 12 he won a world championship in spinning tops and has been making spinning tops ever since. Now, at age 85, he is a cheerful presence in his cluttered and charming shop. He sells tops out the door of his shop, so of course I bought one. This is one of the great pleasures of travel for me - finding odd and interesting places and congenial people. Here is a picture of his shop (and the sign for the entry to the Yaku Water Museum) and a picture of Jorge who has spun up a top for me and is wearing it on his head! How cool is that?
p.s. I certainly can't hold it against Jorge, but the Ecuadorian for a spinning top is a 'Trompo'.
Next, a couple of adventures out of town.