Today started with waking at 4:30 am, thank-you jet lag! So I Skype’d home, handily 5 hrs ahead! I went to breakfast early and was walking the streets for 9:30am!
It has been a beautiful morning and I had a mission in mind. I wanted to go further and higher than yesterday, I wanted to see what lay beyond the immediate locale. So I set out, up the winding roads, tracing the path on my map. It was no surprise that there was an abundance of graffiti and street art waiting for me as there had been the day before.
Day two route in pink!
* a few not specifically related to graffiti observations.
1. Dogs. They are everywhere. Not behind fences but strays. The people look out for them with water, some even building kennels. But there are just so many! They appear to be such a part of Chilean culture in Valparaiso that they appear in all kinds of different street art.
2. Carrier bags hanging from trees. Mornings in Valparaiso equal the strange practise of hanging your rubbish in the tree outside your house. I later found this was for rubbish collection, which appears to occur daily. They are hung up to keep them out of the way of stray hungry dogs.
3. Power cables. All the electricity is overground, probably due to the way in which buildings are carved in to the hills. They frame every street image, even in the main city they can hang just above your head.
4. Car sharing. If there is someone on a street corner then they are probably waiting for a lift! I’m unsure how arranged his is, wether it is individuals or a fixed way in which the taxi system works, but it is good and popular!
Back to the street art.
This morning I encountered my fist artists painting. They didn’t speak any English but were happy through hand gestures to let me take pictures. Telling me to come back to see the finished thing.
I climbed up further, the view breathtaking and the scenery colourful. The one thing that pictures do not capture is the sights, sounds, smells and tastes. Valparaiso is a city for the senses. Cooking smells, Latin music, dancing, laughter, arguments, passion. It is impossible for a novice like me to capture in a photograph.
I passed many schools and colleges en route. None of which had been painted, nor the official buildings, the only exception was churches, however this work seen by the piano steps seems to be a celebration of the church and in partnership with it rather than in protest of religion.
The further I strayed from the central business district, the more elaborate pieces became. With some amazing photo realism pieces and slightly more traditional pieces with high attention to detail.
At about 11am I was snapping some shots of a boulevard (steep pedestrian walkway, wider than stairs). When I herd some little squeaky voices shout ‘señora, señora..’ It was a group of about 8 pre school children age 3-4, the same year group as my youngest son Finnlea. They wanted me to take their picture, so with a nod from the teacher I did. I then kneeled down and showed them pictures of my family and dog, short videos of the kids playing on the trampoline and pictures I had taken in Valparaiso. They wanted me to take more pictures of me with them so this was the result!
I sat with the kids for about an hour In the end. Reminded a great lesson by these lovely, energetic, confident Chilean children. Communication is more than language, it is the common things we share and the common ways in which we make sense of the world that allow us to communicate, regardless of the spoken word.
Shortly after my time with the children I realised I had used my first set of batteries, so returned to the hotel, changed them and called home. Eager to see my own children’s faces before they went to bed.