As suggested yesterday here are some images from a "gringo" of an interesting time in our lives, engaged to a Chilean Australian.
Picture from top left clockwise 1. Various tickets by train from Santiago south to Chillan ("sheesharn"), and if memory serves bus to Temuco and Peurto Montt; 2. Volcano country inland of Peurto Montt; 3. Possibly Valparaiso (like our Canberra) with copper symbol of national wealth; 4. Lady boat guide at Peurto Montt at one point trailed by large pelican 6 foot off the surface and volcano in background; 5. Dockside Peurto Montt; 6. Car/bus Ferry to Chiloe Island; 7. View over Valparaiso from elevator car; 8. Clowns at the traffic lights in Santiago, literally. They are busking with juggling etc.
Picture above top left clockwise 1. Chilean side of the Andean border at around 8000 feet, heading to Mendoza 2. Bernardo OHiggins hero of the nation, in Chillan from memory; 3. Postcard pic of Santiago with rare clean air; 4. Chief and campaigners with CODEFF national green group; 5. Chiloe Island church; 6 Easter Island figure in Santaigo protectorate of Chile; 7. Llama postcard; 8. Workers snooze on way to work already tired at 7am; 9. Andean border; 10. Stilt houses on Chiloe Island on fjord/river; 11. Salmon market in pink room; 12. Birthday dinner in the pot; 13. Postcard of Valparaiso; 14. Wild rivers inland of Peurto Montt; 15. Good food at Mercado Vega Chica (a bit like Footscray Market) inner Santiago.
Most of the trip, including 3 weeks in Europe was fine but on 4 occasions dearest's bipolar kicked in
1. trying to pick an argument with military officers in downtown Santiago in a country with a murderous fascist history, not so long previous either;
2. letting me go alone down a murder street in poor suburb of Cerrillos late at night without any warning
3. Leaving me alone on Chiloe Island (I was doing email) until the bus almost left (with no Spanish to navigate back)
4. leading us toward a street the relatives specifically warned of muggers that target gringos.
There was no current rational explanation for these dangerous emotional blindsides. We reluctantly concluded the victims of a fascist coup under Pinochet are not just those killed and maimed by neo nazis but also those traumatised and uprooted to another country. Combine with childhood of neglect/abuse in a slum and life can indeed turn to custard. Even so not our problem. We are neither social worker nor therapist.
We repaid dearest the round the world ticket and broke it off after returning to Australia. Glad to be home safely in one piece including from friendly fire. Sadly her father's advice was correct. It certainly was an education about another culture but also personally.
We remain in contact with 2 excellent environmentalists over there after the successful No Alumysa campaign drawn into while on holiday complete with interpreter - ideas like set up an indymedia web service, employ 2 staff financed from Australia ($15K donated by this writer), publicise the issue here.
It was the least we could do after hearing the dulcet tones of martyr Victor Jara and reading a biography of his life by his widow Joan from the Victor Jara Trust.