If one day an extra-terrestrial life-form comes to me and asks for direction to the one natural site on this planet, I would most definitely point it to the Grand Canyon in the United States. For those of you who have been there, you can relate to the tremendous shock and awe power it had on me when I first cast my sight on it.
However if the alien asks for the one cultural site on earth, I wouldn’t know where to point it to, until a few days ago when I came across this place unexpectedly - “La Capilla del Hombre” (The Temple of Man) in Quito, Ecuador. The masterpiece is built to house paintings and sculptures created by Oswaldo Guayasamín.
The center of Guayasamín’s work is about the pain and sufferings of indigenous people, but he also draws attention to the warmth and hope for the families and loved ones. His work and words touched me deeply:
For the children that death took while playing,
For the men that weaken while working,
For the poor that fail while loving,
I will paint with the gun scream,
With the thunder potency and
With the eagerness of battle.
(Disclaimer: The above photos are results from google image search.)
I guess the Great Wall in China makes a pretty close competition too, but I feel that the Wall is like us humans flexing our muscles and making ourselves look bigger, whereas the Temple was like that Mona Lisa smile – if you really look into her eyes, the complexity and sincerity will instantly touch your soul and draw you in.
The site is beautifully set against the mountain range of Quito and Guayasamín’s house and burial site.
Not to mention that while in Quito, in addition to the Temple, the aliens can also sample some of the most delicious and rich hot chocolate! Yum, what a treat. You are welcome, E.T.!