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Entries about botanical gardens

Guayaquil explorations with Mum

Guayaquil

In the morning I was working but Mum went out and explored the cathedral, Iguana Square and some shops nearby.

When I got back we had some lunch at the hotel and then we walked to the Malecón and went along that, passing through the botanic garden on the way...

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...until we got to the big Museum of Anthropology and Contemporary Art. We only had time for a look round one of the exhibitions; it was really interesting because it had lots of examples of zoomorphic pottery, incredibly well preserved considering that many of them are thousands of years old. All different types of animals were represented. I had seen examples of these before in Cuenca, Santa Elena and at the Municipal Museum in Guayaquil, but Mum hadn't seen anything like them before, so they were all new to her.

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After this we carried on another 100 meters or so to Las Peñas, where we looked at the colonial buildings there...

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...before climbing up the side of Cerro Santa Ana until we got to the top.

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Mum was desperate for an ice cream by then so I bought us an ice lolly each from an ice cream seller with a coolbox who was sitting at the bottom of the last flight of steps; $1.25 for two. I had a chocolate one and Mum had a guanabana one - lovely. We took some photos from the terrace first.

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The little lighthouse was open so we climbed up to the top for an even better view - a policeman said we would have to pay $1 to take pictures, but we think he was just trying to scam us because he could see we were foreigners. We saw a local take a picture with her phone and the guy never stopped her. I managed to take a quick picture on the sly, however, without being caught.

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On the way back to the hotel we stopped at a cafe for a drink - Mum ordered some tea but she did not like it at all - apparently the same thing happened in Barcelona a few years back! Then we stopped at a supermarket so that she could buy some fruit, stopped at a pharmacy a bit later to get some suncream, and finally got back to the hotel feeling knackered but satisfied.

We had dinner at a restaurant on the ground floor of a different hotel nearby. I had seco de chivo and Mum had shrimp ceviche.

When we got back to the hotel we wandered round taking some night time photos of the courtyard, including the pool, the giant iguana statue and the back of the cathedral that made up one of the courtyard walls.

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Posted by 3Traveller 06:18 Archived in Ecuador Tagged hotel museum cathedral botanical_gardens mum ceviche ecuador guayaquil explorations cerro_santa_ana las_peñas malecon_2000 ecuadorian_cuisine pre_columbian_artifacts Comments (0)

Botanical garden, music & a crystal palace

Guayaquil

I made this trip into the city centre because I had realised that although I had been all the way to the end of the Malecon in one direction before, I hadn't yet been to the other. I saw on Google Maps that not only is there a market there but also a 'crystal palace' - I couldn't believe I hadn't ever got round to checking them out before! I remember seeing part of the 'crystal palace' on the waterfront from the ferry on my trip to Isla Santay last September and thinking 'I wonder what that building's for'.

The first thing I did in town, however, after buying a bottle of Coca-Cola Light to get change from a tenner, was have lunch at the same restaurant I had lunch at for the first time last Sunday; 'La Barca Azul'. There are no menus on the tables, like most places open for lunch; only a whiteboard outside and in this case, a row of pictures and captions on the wall inside. Last time I had a lovely goat stew (seco de chivo) with rice where the meat was so tender it fell off the bone, so this time I thought I'd try something else to see if the general standard had been a one-off or not. So I tried seco de gallina instead, despite not knowing what 'gallina' meant (hen, as it turned out); also very good.

After lunch I did something else I'd also done on Sunday; I walked round the botanic gardens in the Malecon. This time I'd brought my camera with me because I regretted not bringing it last time. As I walked up to the bridge across the 'moat' surrounding the entrance to the garden I saw a man in a blue council outfit standing in the water up to his chest, throwing white powder out of a bucket. Bizarre. Maybe some kind of water treatment?

Anyway, once I got into the gardens it was really pleasant to walk round. Colourful flowers, exotic scents and birdsong, the unmistakeable subtropical air.

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I exited at the far end and walked back down the Malecon. As I passed by where I'd entered I saw that the man was still in the water throwing whiteness around, only this time he'd mixed some water in with the powder.

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Soon after that I heard some band music playing in the distance ahead. This turned out to be the Metropolitan Police band, though I've no idea why they were playing. The only public holiday in January here is New Year's Day. It was a brass and wind band. One chap was playing a massive white sousaphone that curled round his back and rested on his shoulder. When rested on the ground it was very nearly as tall as he was.

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They were playing next to the La Rotonda Monument, which represents the meeting of the two famous South American liberators, Simón Bolívar and José de San Martín, in Guayaquil 1822.

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After listening for a while I carried on to the end of the Malecon I hadn't been to before. On my way down I noticed that there was an awful lot of riverweed floating in the River Guayas.

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It was extremely hot and sunny by now so I was glad to walk through the little air-conditioned shopping centre on the way.

The crystal palace turned out not to be quite as big and grand as the name suggests, and was also empty - I couldn't work out what it is actually used for - but still looked quite impressive. There was a plaza on each side and these connected through a massive archway through the middle of the building.

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There were a few hole-in-the-wall market stalls around the the sides of the left plaza but most were shuttered down - clearly not a market day. I thought I might as well leave having a look round them properly until it is! The area was so pleasant in the sunshine next to the river that I was still glad I'd come.

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Posted by 3Traveller 12:53 Archived in Ecuador Tagged birds botanical_gardens ecuador guayaquil malecon_2000 ecuadorian_cuisine extreme_weather river_guayas Comments (0)

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