Back to amazing #Valparaiso ‘la ciudad pintada’ or ‘la ciudad de murales’ (the painted city or city of murals) for some more great street art. The previous post on Valparaiso art featured some of Valpo’s agit prop and more social … Continue reading →
Well the MayDay march in Santiago, #Chile, turned out to be much more eventful than any we’ve seen in Bristol or London the last few years! When the friendly guy we were chatting to said to us: “that’s teargas now, you need to run, the police here are very violent”, and everyone else ran, so did we (but thankfully not too far!). Policing of the march here turned out to be somewhat different to back in the UK – less containment, more full on militarised assault, and the marchers answered in kind, or got in first. As ritualised in its way as the UK marches, but much livelier!
We opted to start with the ‘alternative’ MayDay march (see previous article), not the one organised by the disgraced main CUT (Central Unitaria de Trabajadores), and with it we stayed. We arrived near the junction of Alameda & Brazil in the centre just before 10am for what we thought was a 10am start, but as it turned out the march didn’t move off until after 11am. This gave us plenty of time to take in the bewildering array of banners, flags, colours, drumming bands, unions, political groups, campaigns, slogans, flyers…and realise our spanish just wasn’t up to working some things out at all when it came to the acronyms.Continue reading →
Noticed how shopping Malls pretty much all look the same? This one could be any drive by and in Mall in north America, but in fact it’s in #Chile, south America, in the city of La Serena in the central coastal area. And yes it’s just another shopping mall, same old same old. Full of chain shops, cafes & restaraunts, banks and the like, many with the same names as in north America, or of companies that are mere subsiduaries of northern corporations. This one had a BUPA (private healthcare) health centre next to it!
This one is called ‘Mall Plaza La Serena’, it’s pretty new, it overlooks the main road, the Pan American Highway, that runs north/south along Chile’s coast. Once upon a time a local told us, there used to be a wood of trees here that local kids & youth played in, now it’s just manicured palm trees & green grass, and lots of parking space. It could so easily be north America, although perhaps the ever-present Tsunami Warning signs are a slight giveaway here!
We’ve noticed the growth of Malls elsewhere in Peru & Bolivia. Cusco now has one, Lima has plenty, La Paz has one in Zona Sur, and so on. La Serena has two in fact, an older one 15 minutes walk away on the other side of the Pan American, called ‘Centro Commercial Puerta del Mar’, although the coast is 2km away. The slow growth of Americanised consumerism in south America is slowly impacting on community & social life – Malls gather together shops & services like banks & healthcare and social venues like cinemas & cafes – and these draw people away from their neighbourhoods. Those neighbourhoods then suffer from lack of custom, older community shops & social spaces begin to struggle and close down, and before you know it the community is struggling to survive. It’s a part of what we know as gentrification, and the social costs can be huge as wealth inequality is amplified and corporate profits go up!Beware south America you don’t end up like the north…..
Since arriving in #Chile from #Bolivia three weeks ago we’ve been struck by the enormous amount of high quality, detailed, #streetart, and in particular large murals covering entire walls. We’d been impressed by the many fine works of street art … Continue reading →
Since arriving in Chile we’ve been very much taken with the Peppercorn trees of #Chile – we saw them in the Plaza Mayor of San Pedro de Atacama, throughout the beautiful & fertile Elqui Valley and in La Serena. With their slightly bent lower branches providing welcome shade they remind us a little of the weeping willow back home in the UK near to rivers. But what really struck us was their attractive pink’ish flowers, looking rather like grapes, that to our surprise contained a small hard fruit….that smelt of pepper! Er…we thought our traditional ‘black pepper’ grew on vines, as indeed it does!Continue reading →
It’s pitch black and bloody cold at 4.30am as our trusty band of gringos emerges groaning from our overnight hostel, in the middle of nowhere for Tour Day 3 (see Days One and Two). Awakening wasn’t a problem as nobody had slept well – deep sleep breathing had proved impossible at this altitude. By 5am we were on the ‘road’ in the darkness, our amazing driver somehow knew which of the identical tracks to take across the desert, aided only by his headlights.
Before 6am, still dark, we’d reached the steaming geysers of Sol de Manana, white hot air blowing up into the sky. They’re best seen at sunrise, but we had other plans, namely a hot natural bath! So off we went towards Laguna Polques with its hot springs contained in rudimentary pools, arriving about 6.30am to find the loos still shut & the changing rooms very basic. We weren’t the first there, but it wasn’t crowded. Still bloody cold there was time for just one quick foto (see top one) before entering the relief of the hot baths. Bliss.Continue reading →
Time in #Cochabamba Bolivia is flying by, a shame as this is a fine place to visit! Once again in our wanderings around we have come across some fine street art murals, exhibiting real artistic skill, often with some social … Continue reading →