5 richter earthquake, Chile, collective graffiti, Equinoccio de Otoño, rapper, stray dogs, unkolordistinto, Valparaiso
A short update:
On Tuesday I arrived to Valparaiso from Santiago airport, settled in my apartment – which is the same as last time I was here, only now there is wifi (yeppee!) and a new panorama window fitted in the bedroom wall with a lovely view towards Viñas and a lot of light coming in – and went shopping for food. Then I went to bed. That was Tuesday. On Wednesday I still felt exhausted (yes, I’m getting on), so I stayed in, organised my stuff, did some email and some social media – and then went to bed. Sometime after one o’clock at night I woke up to loud rumbling and the house trembling, which lasted maybe ten seconds. I admit I was a bit shaken, but luckily this first earthquake I have ever experienced was only of magnitude 5 on the Richter scale. Here in Chile such a moderate quake is not even called earthquake (terremoto), just tremor (temblor).
On Thursday I finally dropped by my artist friends on one of the neighbouring hills, and we had a chat and some beer. I was pleased to hear that they were happy and doing really well; they made a living by doing what they loved to do, art, that is, and there was actually more work than they had time.
Shortly after a couple of their friends came for a visit. One of them was a hostal owner who wanted his wall painted by my friends. The other was a rapper. I asked if I could listen to his music on youtube. He said “No, but I can rap for you right here”. Then he started to recite one of his lyrics in Chilean Spanish, a long one with perfect rhymes. Effortlessly, albeit concentrating with his eyes closed, he rapped to hip hop rhythm but without melody or music. I understood very little of it all but enough to realize that he was a great poet, a real chip of the Neruda block. I felt deeply honoured.
A little bit later we went out and I was lead up some stairs to a narrow alley on the hillside where some other painters were waiting for my friends to start a mural. I had a chance to observe how three graffiteros started their new pieces over old ones that had been destroyed by messy tags.
Some other friends sat on the ground next to the opposite wall, keeping company, relaxing and exchanging a few rapid words now and again. Due to the Chilean habit of speaking faster than sound travels – maybe that’s why there are such great natural rappers in Chile – I could hardly understand a word, but I nevertheless enjoyed watching and listening to their relaxed expression.
I left the alley and the painters before the work was finished in order get back to my apartment while it was still light.
Yesterday, that is on Friday, I didn’t go out until after five in the afternoon. I climbed down the hill and walked to Avenida Pedro Montt to take some photos of the big mural Equinoccio de Otoño by Unkolordistinto.
Next I wanted to document the finished project from the day before. On my way up the hill street I did something silly (or not silly, depending how you look at it, of course): I saw a stray dog being hushed away from dangling around a little corner shop, and I exchanged looks with him (or her, I’m not sure). Thus, an immediate bond was apparently created between us, because from there on he followed me all the way up the street and the steps to the graffiti scene, sometimes behind me, sometimes in front, and every now and again turning to look at me as if to say “come along then”.
He hung around while I took the pictures, and after that followed me down the steps and along the street again. Such a sweet character he (or she) was, that I regretted not having anything more substantial in my bag than just nuts and apples, and my head filled up with all kinds of rescue ideas and other dog fantasies. I imagined that he would follow me all the way to my place, I would wash his dusty fur and comb his tangled fur so that I could then rub him and cuddle him (hopefully) without becoming infested with flees and whatnots myself.
Well, none of that happened, of course. As soon as we came to an alley narrow enough, guarded by another canine urchin who was already growling at my companion from a great distance, my new furry friend obviously decided that he’d be better off somewhere else, and he was gone. I carried on walking, but for some reason I found myself very interested in all the dogs I encountered during the rest of my walk.
Today is Saturday, and I am still thinking about that fluffy doggy. If we meet again next time I go to see my friends, will he still remember me?
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