Arica – A glimpse of Chile

Playing with infinite blocks

Some weeks ago I mentioned to go to Arica in the Chilean North. I didn’t go, I felt so tired, like a mountain in my eyes so I opted to slept… I believe that we don’t have to force things, everything is going to come in its time, although also is good to put always an amount of effort, but my instinct said me that it wasn’t the best of the moments.

Nevertheless I created an expectative in my kind readers so, although it isn’t the same and certainly when I shot these photographs I barely knew how to use a camera, even the little compact camera of that moment, I hope to show a glimpse of this little city.

Greens and the Morro Solar

Arica is in the North frontier of Chile limiting with Peru. But not always… it was Peruvian until a war in the XIX century with the English support to Chile ended with lot of territory lost, but reviewing objectively the History I conclude that the fact that we’re a country with several nations separated by enmity and the high corruption of the politics of that age make us lose the war. Said that to me is a meaningless detail, we cannot own ground, trees, seas, skies… those are artificial limits and we cannot lost what we never had; and usually our governments play that fake patriotic card to distract the public opinion when economy doesn’t march well or there are news about corruption. I don’t like to classify people by nationality and certainly I consider childish to believe the country where causality made us born can be superior to the others. In fact I consider the Arica people very polite and kind.

The Plaza in the second photograph is in a special place because the hill, called “the Morro Solar,” was the scenery of an important battle between our nations. Beyond that I guess it just exists to inflate the ego.

Children of the Morro seeing the horizon

It’s in front of the Pacific Ocean. But it’s so different to our coastal cities in Peru, it’s so Europe, in fact Chile is the closest country in the continent to be a first world nation. There was a taxi driver that said us to me and my father, among other things, that he was a Mapuche native. Certainly that was clear in his race but not in his culture: he was completely westerner. I don’t write it as something negative, simply to show my surprise that the culture there was so European.

Once upon a time a crazy wall

 I read the report of two different travelers. They said that crossing from Peru to Chile gave them relieve because Peru is so chaotic and Chile in comparison was tranquil and more civilized. I think they’re right, I was observing the young “rebels” and in my country they would be considerer peaceful hobbyists, even more I saw this graffiti, I guess the owner see it as a vandalism (and technically it’s because it’s private property) but in my country it would be almost a work of art in a country where our walls just express without imagination loves and football sympathies.

But precisely that was something I didn’t like about Arica, the travelers I mentioned came from USA or Europe, instead I’m Peruvian and to me so much calm in a city is something like a dead body, I couldn’t understand why the business in Arica would open so late and close to go to eat, why in a little city even the markets were empty of crowds. Why everybody, although polite and kind at the same time seemed so uniformed, like a regular army. That was a reason why I was not so much enthusiastic about visiting again the city. Am I a kind of savage for think in that way? perhaps… Or perhaps the different civilization there is beyond my comprehension.

Soft light for a white building

This was one of my favorites buildings there. It’s a public building for the management of waters. It clearly has influence of Frank Lloyd Wright, specifically his Fallingwater house or Kaufmann residence. But it was a very kind building in a city with so much formality.

The kiss

And to the end this monument. It seems to be a military one, but I cannot avoid to think instead in abstracted lovers about to kiss. I would like to go in another chance to get better views, I think Arica has to have more interesting places, perhaps in the desert or walking around the sea. But I remember my stronger impression was to find a place so different just crossing a few kilometers outside the border.

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10 thoughts on “Arica – A glimpse of Chile

  1. yes very interesting, I like the Morro Solar & the crazy wall :) I don’t think you are a savage for not liking the calmness, just more used to a hustle and bustle kind of town. :)

    1. Thanks kind lady, now a moment, I have to eat my portion of human meat, lol. But I have the same feeling when I see your photographs in the cities of your country, everything seems with much more order, and everybody looks so calm. Even in Guy Ritchie’s movies the gangsters seems gentlemen :D But also is truth that I lived a bit in the most dangerous neighborhood of Peru, a place where part of my neighbors died, and in my childhood the country was in war against terrorists. Probably any country could seem more peaceful.

      1. Maybe, I can see how the veneer of civilisation can appear to be a calm demeanour, but I think underneath all that there still beats the heart of a savage breast. We are all human. 😊

  2. These are some really interesting observations, especially since Arica isn’t too far from Tacna. I agree with the other writers that Peru is quite chaotic, but that’s coming from my experience of growing up in a place with strongly enforced rules and structure.
    Most of the travel writers I can think of come from developed nations, but your perspective has really opened my eyes to how limited our point of view can be. I’m kind of geeking out about it :P
    Great day to you, Francis!

    1. You’re coming from a country that works like a country. And that’s good. Also I’m learning about your experiences, although you’re a different traveler, usually people comes as backpackers to pass the time or tourists (in the sense to purchase tours) but you’re traveling for another personal need or reason.
      Great day Melissa :-)

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