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Memories of my travels between 1972 and 1982

Saturday, 4 December 2010

December 4th: Cuenca in Ecuador

 On December 4th 1975 I was in the town of Cuenca in southern Ecuador.

Cuenca seemed a cold town to me, but that might have been my mood or just the weather.  I stayed in the market area, where there were few hotels or restaurants and no other tourists.  The town seemed unmodernised and the shops old-fashioned.  The market areas were interesting, with everything being sold, from guinea-pigs to rockets for fiestas, from good quality pottery and items made of straw.  I expected many Indians after the Indian areas the bus had passed through, and many Indians there were.

In the afternoon I went to the museum of Padre Crespi to see the artefacts described in Erich van Daniken's Gold of The Gods, published two years previously.  The Padre showed me round, an aged man with lank hair, straggly beard and a stained robe.  The collection of artefacts was amazing and bizarre, laid out higgledy-piggledy around the room, most of it gold and silver coloured; there were musical instruments, idols, dinosaur skins; most things had designs which might have been Pharaohs or had suns on them.  There was no real effort to say where or how the artefacts had been found.  Local peasants had simply brought them in I was told, and they were added to the collection.  It seemed to me that they brought in the sorts of things they thought the padre wanted.  I did see a fine collection of bottle tops and I don't know where they might have come from either.  It is interesting to see that people today still find the stuff interesting, here for example, with a picture of the Padre.

Padre Crespi with some artefacts:  Picture by Lakerae, CC

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