Corrugated City

Sunday, 4 November 2007

El Campo

As i mentioned a few posts ago, Lore's dad bought a small plot of land where he's planting cherry trees. There'll be no production for another 5 years or so-about time for his early-ish retirement. The mini-farm (about 6 hectares) is in Ocoa, a small town right next door to Cerro La Campana, a beautiful hiking spot and national park famed for its huge quantity of Chilean Palms, a tree that used to flourish in much of the central region but was almost lost entirely due to it's sap being used for various purposes-the tree had to be felled to get at the sap, not bled like rubber trees.

We went there yesterday to see how things were getting on-the trees, almost 2m high a couple of weeks ago, have been cut back to the first sprouting so it now looks like a big field of bamboo sticks. Not the most attractive. In a year's time, though, when it's all green and the house is finished it's going to be a beautiful spot in which to spend time. And at some point, i'm going to hike up to the top of La Campana, and follow in the footsteps of Charles Darwin. Someday...maybe...




These are going to be over 1m high by late January



There's lots of wildlife to look at, especially small critters like scorpions and lizards. There was this colourful little thing on the deck of the temporary house that's been built. I'll try to take more photos of the surroundings next time i go...






Oh yeah, Chileno wants your help in becoming South America's favourite blog. He's in the running (obviously only there because i didn't know about the competition...) so feel free to support him should you wish to do so...

4 comments:

Chileno said...

I'm sure you would have been a finalist too, but this way it's better to hedge our bets and consolidate regional dominance through the noble prism of Chileno.

You have done your duty, God shall reward you because I sure as hell won't. Except to say...thanks buddy! Thanks :-)

Anonymous said...

Heya Matt!

Your suegro has bought in a really beautiful area. I don't know Ocoa but when in Chile I like to get up to Olmue and at one time, I had a second cousin who had a fundo at the base of Cerro Roble not far from Cerro la Campana - its just a very beautiful part of the Valle Central.

I have had the pleasure of climbing Campana on one occasion when I was much fitter however back then I did not know that Charles Darwin had done the same trek. It takes a whole day up and back but it is very much worth it. The end bit up is the most gruelling as the air starts to get a thinner and the loose stones and dirt can make it very slippery if you are not wearing proper hiking footwear (which I wasn't but did not find it that essential for the most part).

The views are quite spectular from memory. I read an account of CD's climb in a very old version of the Lonely Planet that from the summit you can see all the way out to Valparaiso and even see the ships in the harbour...I can't recall that but if you ever get there, let us know if you can!

The only thing that surprised and annoyed me when I got to the summit (totally rooted mind you) was the amount of spray painted graffiti on the rocks. I was surprised because we had only brought essentials such some food and water, which we found heavy enough to lug up the hill. I could not believe that it would occur to someone to pack a couple of cans of spray paint as well!

That is another thing that pisses me off about the mentality of some chilenos - the need to scrawl 'I WOZ 'ERE' at every notable location - Campana, the fort at Corral near Valdivia and the old Salitre Town of Humberstone were the worst places affected 'tourist graffiti' when I was there in 1994.

Speaking of graffiti (of the good type) I was reading the Melbourne newspaper The Age on the weekend and there was an article on Banksey whose a notorious graffiti / stencil artist operating in the London Councils of Hackney and Tower Hamlets. These Councils are now looking at cracking down on him and other graffiti artists to improve the image of these areas paving the way for their gentrification (well that's what the article was saying anyhow). No doubt you have heard of him and seen his work given your interest in these things. You might want to check out some of his stuff at The Age website www.theage.com.au. They have a gallery devoted to some of his work.

Hasta Pronto!

Patricio

Matt said...

no worries chileno, although i don't fancy your chances against the real cuba-that's currently giving everyone a serious beating...

Patricio-the pointless graffiti here is a problem that's out of control. there's no respect for anything at all. Murals tend to be the best deterrent but once one idiot spray paints something stupid, the others follow.

I really like good graffiti and murals and Valpo's got its fair share of great stuff. It's a shame it's not all good...

Banksy does some pretty cool stuff-the dead rat (raticus banksus i think he called it) nailed to the wall at the british museum was genius (it was admired for a few hours before someone realised it was a prank) and some of his murals are fantastic. It's interesting to hear that some london boroughs want to rid their walls of his work as the council in bristol recently commissioned him to graffiti a huge wall in the city. The idea is that if Banksy does graffiti, no one will paint over it as he's too well respected.

I really hope to climb la campana soon, although it's going to be too damn hot within a few weeks. Maybe i'll wait 'til March...

Anonymous said...

Yes. The article mentioned Raticus Banksus - That would have been quiet hilarious to see. I agree with you about the crappy non-artistic graffiti in Valpo and in most Chilean cities - it really is out of control.

However, the newpaper article gave me a new and interesting perspective on graffiti in urban settings. It stated that graffiti is a means of challenging the notion of private property and the general perception that the ownership of a building entitles you to dictate how it should present to the public realm. Interesting argument, to say the least. Still, I somehow wouldn't be happy having someone trash my place with tags (stencils? maybe).

I climbed Campana in summer and it wasn't too bad (OK, well...by Australian standards). I also found the extended daylight hours provide you with heaps more time to go up and back (I can't recall when Chile turns back its clocks - I know its some time in March). Surprisingly there are areas that are quite vegetated providing shade as you climb (watch out for the cows that suddenly come out at you from the scrub! - Hey, CONAF its a National Park!) but this begins to thin out by about mid way from memory (it was over 13 years ago now!). There's also a nice spring up there where you can cool down before continuing your ascent.

Patricio