February 2010

Drugs, Orgies and Witchcraft – Willard and Isla Mechuque

Willard was aggravated. A comical fellow in a Chilean cow boy hat had just strutted down the pier and announced that the ferry had been delayed by 9 hours. Apparently, a distant storm was preventing the boat from approaching and thus preventing him from reaching the Chilean island of Chiloe. He’d planned to arrive yesterday and here he was, still wet and still waiting, in this godforsaken town of Chaiten.

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The Volcano of Chaiten

I have some pretty heavy video footage of Chaiten and an interview with Senora Hostencia, an inn keeper and one of the handful of the 6000 inhabitants that have returned. My netbook is both very slow to edit the HD video and I don’t have a sufficient editor to cut the footage, but hopefully will get access to one soon. For now you can see all the pics and read notes below to give some context to the pictures.

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The Technomad and the Carretera Austral Highway

 

The winding road towards the Carrera Austral. (See all the pictures here…)

The Chinese maid knocked and entered my Hong Kong apartment in one fluid movement. And by apartment, I really mean a single room so compact that that if you stood in the kitchen you could reach the door, bed, shower or desk in one step. She looked at me and then her eyes drifted to the two glowing monitors, mess of cables and electronic devices spewing onto my desk. From there, her gaze traveled to my bed where a giant map was spread out and covered in red circles and writing. Then, with a look of surprise probably due to the fact that the tiny apartment resembled the den of some gweilo spy, she backed out without saying a word. It was 2005 and it was on my first Technomad journey.

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One Man, Over Land, No Man’s Land

The Fitz Roy Mountain Range, near El Chalten, Argentina (See all the pics…)

Somewhere after the second kilometer and third mangled desert hare I began to wonder if my minimally researched, impromptu hike into Chile was a good idea. I was in the No Man’s Land between the Argentine and Chilean border checkpoints, however this wasn’t the first No Man’s Land that I’ve had to trek across. In truth, it’s not even close to being the most intense either. Hands down, that prize goes to the five mile wasteland between the Kashgar and Kyrgyzstan checkpoints, traveled only by truckers and thoughtfully sandwiched on each side by border urchins waiting to con you in a myriad of deceptive ways. And I was in a tuxedo at the time.

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