South America Vacation, January 2006
NOTE: Translatons of Spanish words and phrases seen here are
not included in this Web page.
If you need help, ask an amigo / amiga.
Santiago de Chile (11-14 January 2006)
Santiago de Chile has a medium-high hill called Cerro San Cristobal.
In the 1920s they built a funicular railway to a point near
the top of the hill, then at some later time (the date is
unclear to me) they placed this statue of Mary at the top.
This was obviously an attempt to out-do the great Christo
Redentor statue atop Corcovado in Rio de Janeiro. Christo is awesome.
This statue is, well, cute by comparison.
Still, a trip to its steps gives a great view of the city.
Speaking of the funicular, the car in which I rode to the summit had
a plaque commemorating the fact that in 1987, Pope John Paul II
rode in the same car, on his way to pay his respects to the
statue. OK, so I was impressed.
Chile has a hero who helped to liberate his country from colonial
rule, so streets and parks are named after him.
This must be one of the most unusual names in the Hispanic
O'Higgins Metro (subway) station
The little village (shops, restaurants, &c.) in O'Higgins Park
Montevideo, Uruguay (day trip only, 17 January 2006)
Montevideo's main square gives the impression that it
is a great metropolis, like some of the other
capitals in South America.
It is a charming city, but most of it is not "big"
like it looks here.
Just to the side of the horse statue seen above,
boys enjoy the fountain.
Montevideo, like most major cities in Latin America,
is about political graffiti. This is on the side of
an abandoned building.
This sculpture is in the center of a "walking
street" -- a shopping area no longer open to
motor vehicles that leads up to the Cathedral square.
Montevideo, again like the other cities I visited,
has a great deal of civic (public) sculpture,
and very different and interesting it is, too.
Buenos Aires, Argentina (14-19 January 2006)
As noted above, political graffiti are seen everywhere.
First, a stencil likely placed by vegetarians.
Good luck trying to change the
eating habits of Argentina! England's Beefeaters have
nothing on these people!
This stencil seems to be innocuous and not political,
but I include it here for two reasons: 1) the added comment
"Kirchner 2007" (which has been modified, not by me!, to
read "Kirchner 2987" -- Kirchner is, I believe, the president
of Argentina), and 2) as a comparison to the Bush stencil
Americans are treated fine in Argentina -- at least I was --
but it is an understatement to say that the Bush Administration
If I had found any pro-Bush graffiti or posters, I would have taken
pictures of them to provide balance here. I saw none.
This poster appeared in many locations, and I took this picture
in the downtown area.
I only saw this stencil in one area, in a railway station a
few stops northeast of Retiro (the main, central railway station
at the north end of Buenos Aires' downtown area), but there I
saw it in several different places around the station.
Note that it seems to be
the same image as the photograph in the poster shown above,
except for the hair on fire.
Someone had added a "caption" to this one, which was on a wall
underneath the train information sign. Note the "Si viene, yo paro"
bumper-sticker on the yellow sign, which matches the picture and
slogan on the poster shown above.
Considering the time and attention this slogan must have taken
-- this is not drive-by, middle-of-the-night graffiti -- the
emotions must run high.
I realize words are somewhat run together. The "artist" learned
too late, apparently, that there was a tree and a
doorway on the right!. Let me help: the text reads,
"FUERA BUSH ASESINO [de] ARGENTINA --MTL".
The subject of this poster, seen here in a dark railway
station (sorry for the lack of focus), is an important and
serious message, indeed. Even though I noted at the top that
Spanish translations wouldn't be provided here, this one
deserves to be included: "Breast Cancer has a Cure".
Still, the acronym for the organization is, in my opinion, a bit
This was a cute little advertising poster
for a nearby nature park. When I say "little", I
mean "insignificant", not physically small, as
it was actually about 4 feet by 8 feet.
Like much advertisting around the world, it uses stereotypes
to make people feel comfortable about the product or service.
The use of stereotypes like this allows me to play one of my favorite
games: what if the shoe(s) were on the other foot?
Imagine if the father were thinking
of playing in the park, the mother about the snake, the girl about
the insects and the boy about the butterflies. That would change
the whole nature of this family, and would likely make for a very
different theme park adventure!
A highlight of Buenos Aires has to be the Recoleta Cemetery,
where Eva Duarte Peron -- Evita! -- is entombed.
This somewhat abused statue -- "L'Homme Parlant" -- is in
the Plaza Intendente Alvear in front of the Cemetery.
It was created by Léon-Ernest Drivier (1878-1951) in 1928.
It seems posters and graffiti have been added over the years, and
not cleaned up very well.
This close-up shows some particularly rude graffiti (but
funny, I think, nonetheless). My advice to Fredy M. is
to see his doctor soon!
Now inside the Recoleta Cemetery. Above, I noted that
Evita is "entombed" here, not "buried".
It seems that most of the resting
places are above ground, as you can see here, and many are
quite ornate and/or interesting for various reasons.
[Tomb of Coronel Federico de Brandsen (1785-1827).]
High-resolution JPEG of this photograph available: click
here (0.8 MB)
[Tomb of the Francisco Gómez family. The same angel sculpture can be
seen on the Dr Ventura Coll grave in this same cemetery.]
On the Diagonal Norte (a street that cuts across the otherwise
North-South grid pattern), this is part of a family group
out in front of a bank.
I think it shows a bit of artistic license. Yeah, sure,
a mother and son exchange flowers in the nude everyday!
The Torre Monumental, in the square at the North end of the
downtown area, just in front of the Retiro railway station.
The bells intend to sound the "Big Ben" chimes, but two of
them don't work, and one is only barely audible, a puny, weak
failure. One of the ones that doesn't work is the one that
tolls the hour (three for three-o'clock, &c.), so you
have to look at the clock anyway to know what time it is.
At least it's easy on the eyes -- a fine tower!
As you can see, I took this picture slightly after the bells
tried (in vain) to tell me it was 8:00 [p.m.].
We end our trip, as I did, in La Boca, a seaside neighborhood to
the south of the main city of Buenos Aires.
There's no question it's a tourist
trap, but so colorful that it shouldn't be missed.
Many of the signs are 1890s-stylized like this, reminiscent of
the Coca Cola ads of the early 20th Century, at least to me.