Saturday, October 23, 2004

trip, round 2

so this time maybe i will decribe what the trip was like.
the digital photos i took are here (click to enlarge, obviously) (sorry there aren't many - there are some "real" photos too which i will develop after i use the last 4 pics on the roll and then get scanned so as to share via the wonderful internet)

university of concepción
i couldn't understand why we were stopping in a university. i mean, i've seen universities before, i currently attend 3 chilean ones. didn't make much sense to me. however, in retrospect, it was nice. there was a really cool mural painted by a group of mexican painters in one of the art buildings there. amazing.

chiflon del diablo, a coal mine that is no longer in use.
there was a movie filmed here about the chilean coal mines - subterra. i haven't seen it, but i might after having been inside the mine. one thing is for sure, i could never have been a coal miner. just a bit too tall for that. i only really hit my head once, and thanks to the hard hat, nothing happened. if i hadn't been wearing it, i would probably have had a big gash, or at least a huge bump. the mine is actually under the ocean, which was cool. don't think i'd ever been under the ocean before.

lago lanalhue
sacred lake of the mapuches. didn't look to sacred to me - looked like any other relatively unpopular lake, with houses built around it, many of which have their own little dock in the water with the family ski boat. it sure would have been fun to go skiing or tubing instead of just riding around in a relatively slow moving catamaran.

an organic farm
pretty much the classic farm, where the animals are treated with respect instead of being forced to live in little metal boxes like the superfarms of today. tasted some good fresh cows milk, and had some really good shishkabobs.

a forest preserve
my favorite part of the trip. a chance to see what this part of the world used to look like before the people tore it apart. it just so happens that in this area pine trees reach their optimal size (optimal in the minds of the forestry industry) in just 6 years, where in other places it takes 26. as such, the hills are covered in fake forests of pine and eucalyptus trees, neither of which are native to chile. in fact, there are no native conifers, just the aurucaria, an ancient ancestor of conifers that grows insanely slow. in english, it is called the monkey puzzle tree (there's a picture of one in fake nature on the photos page). anyway, all these forestales are really ugly. you can sometimes see the lines between the trees, like in a corn field, but instead with trees. and there are of course the bald spots left after the trees are cut down before more are planted. it is amazing though how much of the land is covered by these nonnative trees.
anyway, the forest preserve. it is one of the few examples left of what the forest was like in that part of the country. pretty cool. it was nice to walk through real nature.

a mapuche town
we got to listen to the leader (patriarch) of a mapuche family talk about the culture and the place of the mapuches in chile today. in case i didn't say it earlier, mapuches are the natives of chile. they resisted the spanish successfully until they made a treaty in the 1800s. some are still considered violent by chileans and resist development of their ancestral lands, sometimes by senting buildings on fire. to be fair, those acts are perpetrated by members of a militant group of mapuches, and do not reflect the beliefs of the rest. moreover, mapuches do not and did not live as one large group with a single set of leaders. rather, each family was essentially on its own, lead by its own patriarch, called the lonco.
this lonco who we talked to told us that the world is sick and that we need to heal it or else the world is going to end. he believes that mapuche culture is much cleaner, much healthier, and that if the world were to adapt it things would change, the wars would stop, the environment would start to revive, etc. it is also believed by the mapuches that when there are no more mapuches the world as a whole will come to an end.

caverns on the ocean where some theives hid out
probably one of the best parts of the trip. climbing around on rocks on the beach is really entertaining. one of the caves there was amazingly large, and a perfect place for a bandit to hide out. just being there makes you want to rob some haciendas robin hood style. in one of the rocks there was a hole that aparently went all the way down to the water. when the waves came in, the air rushed out, making a really cool noise. too bad i couldn't record it.

overall, the trip was good. did things i wouldn't have done had i been traveling on my own. mostly, though, it just makes me want to travel more. this weekend, though, i have to prepare for a presentation on monday about the parra family.

time to go get ready and go to a concert of the "universal orchestra"

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