Back to Peru for some hummus, roll-ups and ancient fishing boats

In early May we got out of Chile, and came back to Peru to check out some more pre-Inca history up on the north coast near Trujillo & Huanchaco – the Moche & Chimu cultures, and some sea going reed fishing boats, or rafts, called ‘caballitos de totora’ (or ‘de mar’), constructed using ancient craft skills dating back several thousand years and known only to a few. These boats are clearly linked to the Moche & Chimu cultures, and possibly earlier.

However they’ve moved with the times as you can see in the fotos, and now use polystyrene blocks to help float the boats, not something available in these parts two thousand years ago. Although the paddle or oar remains very basic, just a long bamboo pole cut in half lengthways. It looks hard work on the hands…but it seems to do the trick though as they negotiate their way out to sea through decent sized waves, and eventually back in again. The sea here looks and is cold, but the weather isn’t, even now in the autumn – a good 25 degrees minimum most days, and too hot on other days to even sit in the sun for long. Continue reading

Short but very Lively – #Mayday in #Santiago Chile

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

#MayDay2017 #Santiago El Dia Internacional de Los y Las Trabajadores

#MayDay greetings on #primerodemayo #IWD2017 to one and all from Santiago in Chile, where we’ll be out and about to join one or more of the local events commemorating the struggles of workers worldwide – both before and after the Haymarket events in Chicago back in 1886. Good to see that Anarchists in Santiago (info here) and Valparaiso, the direct descendants of the ideology that so motivated the Haymarket Martyrs, have various activities planned for the day, both on the streets and more socially later. (see history of Haymarket Martyrs and this article on Lucy Parsons).

It seems here in Santiago they take the concept of May Day as a day off work (or public holiday) a bit more seriously than back in the UK, and that most workplaces will be shut (except public transport and a number of clearly identified exceptions we think). Indeed visiting a few areas of Santiago the last couple of days, including the centre, we’ve found the majority of shops & other commercial premises already closed for a long weekender. The actual ‘law’ relating the May Day & not working is given in both some media outlets and by the main official trade union organisation the CUT (Central Unitaria de Trabajadores – see info in spanish). Continue reading

We need to think about the weather…

As our trip to south America gets ever closer, we’ve been giving some thought to the weather.

We know that, particularly on the pacific west coast, it’s possible to experience several different weather systems in one day due to the geography, and depending whereabouts you are. So we’re ready to ‘layer up’, or down, each day. But recently we’ve been keeping an eye on the bigger climate picture.

Fires raging near to Santiago (Foto by Robert Antezana/Facebook, published online in the Santiago Times)

Fires raging near to Santiago (Foto by Robert Antezana/Facebook, published online in the Santiago Times)

Whilst we’ve been saturated in the UK, the east coast of north America has experienced a polar vortex, then down south in parts of Brazil into Argentina there’s been a major heatwave. There’ve been killer floods in Mexico, and contacts in Ecuador suggest it’s been wetter then usual up in the mountains. Australia too is having serious heatwaves, whilst in major asian cities such as Bejing there’s been a killer smog. Less reported have been forest fires raging across central/southern regions of Chile, which allied with serious hot weather in some parts have led to toxic smoke & health warnings in places such as Santiago.

So what’s going on? Is it just a case of technology telling us faster and in more detail of variations in the weather, or is the weather generally becoming more unstable? And if so, why? Now we arent weather specialists nor environmental scientists, but we can’t help but conclude that humanity’s impact on planet earth is making things worse. If we continue to cut down forests, concrete over huge swathes of land, dig/drill/blast our way down into the earth, pollute the land/seas/atmosphere, then this has to be having some impact.

Yes, we know, we're flying there too...

Yes, we know, we’re flying there too…

The absolute failure of western dominated ‘agreements’ to reduce emissions and ‘green ourselves’ is evident to all. But what impact does this have on the less-developed countries, and what are the responses from the peoples there? We’e started to read around the matter a little in a south American context, which takes time (and isnt helped by our lack of other language fluency), but we have come across a few interesting pieces.

Perhaps most intriguing so far has been this blog/pamphlet: Space for movement? Reflections from Bolivia on climate justice, social movements and the state (Building Bridges collective, 2010). Which reflected on the ‘World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth – CMPCCC’. Well worth a read online, and also has a good brief summary of recent Bolivian history.

We’re intrigued to see what local responses we might come across as we travel around, and indeed what the weather is gonna be like?