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.
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 made 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.
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 (in comparison to Peru) so European.
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.
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.
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.