Day 153 – Another one bites the dust

2009/02/03 § Leave a comment

Me in a salt pool, AtacamaThe dusty desert in Chiles north shows its pretty sides in the snow-white salt lakes, the deep blue lagoons and the flamencos sprinkled salt flats. I have met a German mountaineer who I have done some tours with. We have visited some salt lakes who where swimming is permitted and which allow you a swimming experience not unlike the dead-sea. We had fun floating like a cork in these pools. Being surrounded by the mountains and dry plains of the Atacama made the whole experience somewhat surreal.

The next day we visited several lagoons on more than 4500 meters above sea level. There were amazing views over blue lakes, rare birds and Lamas grazing on the scarce plant life of the high plains. Around the villages we met some of the view remaining aboriginal inhabitants of the region who are friendly and always happy to show of their culture. By now naturally it has mixed heavily with the culture the Spanish invaders enforced upon the view that survived the Spaniards´ killing sprees.

Laguna Ceja, San Pedro de AtacamaIt is a sad and dark fact of Spanish history who´s remains keep reminding you of all the blood the Spanish spilled in order to obtain goods and wealth for their mother land. It does startle me to see each and every Spanish company doing business here. And even more, they often seem to rule market segments, fish the seas empty and leave nothing much to the poor economies down here. But then again, also people I talked to in Argentina, Uruguay and Chile wonder what is up with their politicians to let this continued type of colonization by the Spanish take place.

What really bugs me though is the fact that many Spanish do not seem to even be aware of it, and if they are, they seem not to care. I guess facing it would mean admitting plenty of shameful facts connected to your country. It appears to me that a country like Spain, which is not having all that much to be proud of currently, might want to cling to a proud picture of a past that is heavily mystified. What would they be left with otherwise?

I am just wondering, anyhow, personally I think however you look at it, and no matter where you look for the blame, if is sad that so much of the cultural richness of the south-American regions was made to disappear…


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