Guane, Santander Province, Colombia, November 2, 2012
Guane is Barichara’s Mini-Me. It is even smaller than Barichara, but has very similar architecture and ambiance. Guane is a two-hour walk from Barichara along an old paved trail built by a Scott a few hundred years ago. Tony, Siggy and Hilary did the walk with a Dutch guide, Joop.
Aside: Joop, an archeologist, and his wife, an architect, visited Barichara as tourists and liked the place so much that they moved there. They are building a house using local techniques that are hundreds of years old: packed-earth bricks and limed horse manure for the plaster. The bricks act as a heat sink providing constant temperature day and night. And, slats are used for the windows instead of glass panes (there aren’t many bugs that that elevation and the temperature doesn’t vary much year round).
I abstained from the walk and went with our driver to meet the walkers in Guane. While waiting, I was mobbed children on a school trip from San Gil. I was novel because I was foreign and couldn’t speak Spanish — imagine that, an adult who can’t speak proper Spanish. Anyhow, I got to practise some of my bad Spanish, responding to their questions and asking some of my own. «¿Como se llama? Me llamo Juanita.» To pass the time, I took photos of them with iPhone.
The main attraction at Guane is the three-room museum. The curator is very proprietorial. Though belonging to the state, it is her museum and has been for the past 18 years. Visitors are guided through, not left to wander.
The first room contains fossils. While we were there, about six boys from the school trip group came to the museum to sell a large fossil that they had found (it took about three of them to carry it). The curator gave them a stern lecture about how that fossil was their patrimony and that they shouldn’t be selling their patrimony — however, they could certainly donate the fossil to the museum. Their disappointment dissolved at the thrill of putting their fossil on display in a central place in the museum, next to similar ones.
The second room contained artifacts from the Guane indians who lived in the area before the Spanish. The third room contained items from Spanish colonial era: household things, religious items and art.