02 June 2009

Waves, Chile

Open palms lurched beyond the dashes of slowly passing cars, excitedly toggling back and forth in response to my subtle head nods that have rarely received recognition. Had it not been for the broken, foggy windshields that protected the aged old trucks from the bone-deep windchill, my face would have been smothered with waves. They would have been surprised to find a handful of face fluids, but considering their enthusiasm, it wouldn´t have mattered. The eagerness with which people greeted gave me a sense of belonging like never before. We were mutually pleased to see each other.

Rarely did interactions last longer than the moments experienced in passing, but even in these fleeting meetings, connections were made. Occasionaly, one party stopped with an expressed interest in questioning the other and familiarity was achieved at once. Commonalities far outweighed differences given the amount of discouraging criteria we´ve endured to be in the same place at the same time. Navigating a sparsely serviced road with weak winter sunlight in below-freezing temperatures seemed to deter most folks. Because of this, our few numbers automatically placed us in a nuclear group where each participant played a significant role in the operation of the whole. My role in this relationship is slightly parasitic, but I´m a grateful wretch.

Carreterra Austral, Chile

Tales of the Carreterra Austral have been whispered around handfuls of campfires, reverently spoken by those who have ridden it, mesmerizingly listened to by those who haven´t. Until last week, I´ve been unaffected by its mystique, but now, after six consecutive days of flawless blue skies, blinding white mountains, and tantalizingly smooth gravel, I have realized its appeal. At the next campfire, I´ll be among the muses that pontificate its glory.

Huasos, buried under furry chaps, fuzzy jackets, and funny berets, trot. Chimneys, slightly cocked on rusty roofs, smoke. Trees, clinging to reddenning leaves, rustle. Frost, garnishing foliage in sun-deprived basins, chills. Mist, risen from liquids, wisps. Horses, thought to have lept off embossed belt buckles, graze. Pigs, mistaken for hovering Zepplins, wallow. Bulls, tired of munching, stare. Duck, duck. Goose.