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This modest house transforms into a work of art beneath the street light!

Tipping out of Hostal Cruzita during the pre-dawn hours,  I stopped  for several photos on my way to the corner bus stop.  A full day awaited me at the Cancebi Museo in Manta, Ecuador, where The Mola Series Exhibition entered its third week.

A lone rooster broke the serene stillness of the morning  as he announced the arrival of the 5:20 bus to Manta.     Although I anticipated meeting the Experience Ecuador group at the Manta airport in less than two hours, I would never have dreamed that the next two days would bring such an amazing and diverse group of people into my life!

From Airport to Playa Tarqui to Museo Cancebi

After the relaxed group assembled at the arrivals area of the Manta airport, a sleek tour bus transported us to Playa Tarqui, where we viewed the wooden boats under construction and saw the local fishermen bringing in the morning catch.  Ready for a little nourishment, we headed to the Cancebi Museum where specially-made bolones awaited to break our fast.

Attorney Roberto Moreno spoke to the group about common legal trivia for people relocating to Ecuador, and Maria Fernanda  Carrasco Cordero addressed real estate options as everyone sampled typical bolones and coffee. (Bolones are made from mashed plantains which are seasoned, shaped into balls then cooked a second time.  Bolones remind this Southern Gal of hushpuppies!) 

Hostal Cruzita’s cheese-stuffed bolon and egg for breakfast!

Sarah, Lane and I talked about art!

My new friends and I swapped stories before they ventured upstairs where the permanent ethnographic exhibit resides.

Lovely Gaby surely enjoys her job at the museum!

Sarah enjoys her Experience Ecuador responsibilities as well!

We waved goodbye to our new friends, and prepared for the next tour.

Francis, who mans the gift shop, spreads her sweet smile throughout the museum!

…Memories of the visitors live on through the guest book!.

Minutes later Luis (pictured left) arrived with his bicycle group from the Semester at Sea Cruise.








One of the university students from the Semester at Sea Cruise waited his turn to comment about the exhibit.  Bursting with respectful energy, he told me that he normally doesn’t enjoy art shows, but after seeing the images and meeting the artist, he was thrilled to have been part of the tour!  His words and enthusiasm touched me deeply.

We said goodbye to the group, and I switched to some computer work to prepare for the Casa de la Cultura, where the exhibition will move later this month.

But wait.. what’s that sound?… Music… Live cheerful music! Sounds like New Orleans!….I had to peek outside!

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.A cheerful street vendor smiled as she peddled quail eggs near the museum entrance.  She most likely played a part in this musical puzzle that was about to present itself  in front of the museum!  Someone mentioned the word, ‘Chiva.’  Wasn’t that the word for goat?

(Above) Quail eggs anyone?
(Below) The next group of visitors arrived via the Chiva Bus!

A bright and festive parade on wheels delivered new visitors to the museum.  I  dashed outside to inspect this Musical Chiva Bus before I returned to the museum!

Jacqueline Simon, director of exhibits and the soul of the museum, exclaimed, “Lisa!  There you are!  Come in and meet this great group of people!”  

My about-to-be new friends received the exhibit with outward exclamations of joy.  “I’ve never seen art like this,” seems to be one of the top comments!

The lovely lady pictured below stated, “These paintings smile at you and make you smile back!”  After an intense interaction with these great visitors from the cruise ship,  we wished them well and watched as they boarded their Chiva Bus  and left musical smiles in their wake!

l We reflected on the interesting mix of people that walked through the museum doors and enriched our lives; we settled in a pensive mood and savored the memories.Random visitors trickled into the museum;  another student from the Semester at Sea program dropped by, and we orchestrated a surprise photo  for her friend who visited earlier.

The Pensive Young Master

A beautiful mother with three children visited.  The two older sisters professed to have no talent, but said that their youngest brother was the artist in the family!  He pondered his responsibility of signing the guest book before adding his touch.

Above: Daniel, who lives in nearby La Pila, restores precolumbian pottery pieces for the Guayaquil MAAC museum.  How rewarding it is when one artist savors the work of another!

Below:  Francis and her sweet parents posed with Jacqueline Simon in front of “Ceibo Loco” and reminisced about the great collective energies that contributed to the unique piece of art.
Three great smiles captured the essence of our day as closing hours approached.

The sun settled in the distance as I returned to Hostal Cruzita,  and I pondered the Experience Ecuador group travelling to their next stop down the coast while the cruise ship prepared to embark for Panama.   I reflected on my amazing fortune that so many positive people crossed my path in such a short time.  

My cup surely runneth over, and I am blessed.