September 8, 2010

Gualaceo


As in every town, a lovely central square.

As we were walking around we noticed quite a few schoolchildren on the street. It was around 11AM so we weren't sure why they weren't in school, unless there is a very early morning session which ends at 11.

In any case, different schools have different uniforms and I was struck by these. The red sweaters were just so bold, specially grouped together, and I love the modesty of the below-the-knee skirt lengths coupled with the white tights and sensible shoes. I do have a soft spot for school uniforms--I remember ironing my pleated skirt every midday, when we would go home for lunch. (Those pleats would wrinkle and I was a very neat child!)

Here are the boys in their sharp navy blue uniforms, racing around, being boys.

We passed the market, which mostly houses a food court with lots of different options. Unfortunately, it was too early and we weren't ready for lunch. This pig head skin was quite stunning--I've seen pig heads for sale but never just the skin peeled away from the skull--a crunchy pig mask. I also noticed they had a grilled tripe stand, which wasn't open yet. On the walk back we saw a lady fanning the charcoal, getting ready for business. I am intrigued--what would the texture of grilled tripe be like, hmmm...maybe next time.

We were told we could walk up on a side street toward a lookout point, so we headed that way and passed a couple of interesting buildings. Gualaceo has a long tradition of artesanal production--here are the headquarters of the Carpenters' Guild, which was next to the Cobblers' Guild and across the street from the Centro Formacion Artisanal Particular--an arts and crafts college.

Their motto is "Formamos artesanos exitosos" ("We create successful artisans"). Gualaceo clearly takes design seriously. Just look at the graphics on the facade of the Carpenters' Guild building--beautiful!

We eventually reached the lookout point, where we found an expansive view of the town below and a small celadon green church with a nice cupola. This is one of the couple of angels flanking the church door.

On our way back to the center we went down some broad steps decorated with these intricately inlaid tiles.

And here is an exterior stucco wall decorated with stencils or stamps of frolicking characters. The building was vacant but might have housed a night club at some point. The effect was very cheerful and retro chic.

We then took the bus to San Juan, thinking we'd have lunch there but no luck so we ended up back in Gualaceo for lunch and had a really tasty seafood meal at Cocina Costena--a restaurant with outdoor seating at the corner from the bus station. We then took a taxi to Uchucay for our little hike and then back to Gualaceo for the ride back to Cuenca.

And thus ends the tale of our day trip to Gualaceo.

3 comments:

Len Charnoff said...

I enjoy your photos. I especially like the way you framed the boys in their blue uniforms with the red frame posters and the exterior stucco shot.

My wife and I are coming from Portland, Oregon to Cuenca in late November.

Did you get to Gualaceo using public transit?

looloo said...

Hi Len,

Thanks!

Cuenca (and Ecuador in general) has a very good bus system. It's very easy to get to the bus terminal and from there to take buses to practically anywhere. The bus fare from Cuenca to Gualaceo is only 60 cents and it runs every 20 minutes or so.

indel said...

I second Len in saying that you have a good artistic sense for photography. Thank you for answering my question, it's telling me that I must bring my yoghurt with me:-). Nicholas