A trip to Chile, exploring its history and present, from Pinochet and the Chicago Boys to O-18 and Covid-19. Notes on political unrest, streets coming to life and creating a new social pact. Interventions by Neruda and references to Bolaño may shine light on the rebellion, or simply provide solace.
After some help from strangers near the peak of their crossing, Neruda says, This I remember well, that when we sought to give the mountain dwellers a few coins in gratitude for their songs, for the food, for the thermal waters, for giving us lodging and beds, I would say for the unexpected refuge that came to us on our journey, our offering was rejected out of hand.
The streets were quiet, and somehow the Andes looked happy, even without their snow. Soon after the coronavirus lockdown, the air around them was clear and clean—they seemed to reach a little higher
My wife, Sonia, could never get used to living in Ohio. She said it was the weather, but it was more than that. She’s Chilean, and she needs Santiago: the inclination of the Andes, an easy drive to the sea, the world’s driest desert up north, the fiords and glaciers (or what’s left of them) down south.