Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Road tatoo

When the road penetrates your skin, your soul does not belong you anymore...
Model: Nicolás, from Buenos Aires. Five years traveling South America.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

On the dry, hot and thirsty roads of La Rioja

On the way from Jachal, San Juan to the hitch-hiker`s meeting in Cerro Colorado, Córdoba, we had to cross deserted La Rioja Province… In the beginning we thought we had made a bad move when accepting a ride to Talampaya NP...
Not so many cars on the road, as you can see. We even had time to invent possible "Quilmes" adds targeting hitch-hikers...

Tipic landscape in Argentinean Norhwest.

Thumbing shadows...

... but then we got on the wave. hitch-hiking is like surfing, you have to catch the wave...Let´s call it "roadsurfing" on the pic, the truck that took us to Chamical, La Rioja.

Near Talampaya National Park, La Rioja.

Camping under a bridge in Cruz del Eje, already in Córdoba Province.

Time to clean the backpack!

A neccesary laundry session for "La Maga", my backpack. La Maga is named after a character of Julio Cortázar´s novel "Hopscocht".

Mogna, stoic and isolated...

It is clear to me that towns in San Juan province, Argentina, should be independent kingdoms. Each is proud of its kind and lineage, and without thinking too much of itself would prefer not be included under confusing and labels… Mogna is an example of it…
On the way to Jachal we had been shocked at the sight of a road sign pointing 6o km inside the desert to a town called Mogna. Once in Jachal we got to know that the town was celebrating its 255 anniversary and managed to get a ride in a pick up from the town hall. I offered to set up a Photo exhibition of Afghanistan as contribution to the event.

The idea, show pictures of Afghanistan to the people of Mogna, and take pictures of them to show elsewhere. Doña Raquel Carrizo (70 years old) was very happy to be photographed while preparing mate. She carefully adds yerba and ajenjo, a local plant. She always sits under the same tree, that was already an old tree when she settled there 50 years ago. Her family lives from livestock herding, specially goats.

Hands at work... Doña Raquel knows how to prepare the best mates...

More than a hundred people had "goat" barbacue on the anniversary lunch. Even the governor was there talking all sorts of bullshit. He arrived in helicopter to a town with no paved roads.

I got permission to set up the Photo exhibition in a classroom at the primary school. I am intending, from now on, to set up photo exhibitions in each town I drop by on my way from Argentina to Alaska (starting Feb 2009). An interesting fact is that you receive very different feedbacks depending in each place you go. And these feedbacks become raw material for analysis themselves. People in Mogna regarded the landscapes of Afghanistan shown in my pictures as familiar to them! Also, some people at Mogna, were happy to buy my book.

Sunset on the way back to Jachal.

Weath nostalgia

The Molino Sardinia is guarded by his last carer, Don Chicho, who is 80 years old and talks soflty about the times in which the nearby road was full of trucks waiting to load the essential grain.

Houses around Pampa del Chañar, San Juan, Argentina.

There was a time when Jachal was a prosperous wealth producing region. Evidences from this period are not immediately obvious nowadays. Driving in the direction of Pampas del Chañar, houses that look suspectufuly large and sturdy start to emerge in the dusty landscape. Before the Pampas region positioned as the main exporting region, Jachal sent its loads of grains to Chile and Bolivia. In the 1900s, when the railway connected the Pampas to rest of the country, the region became logistically isolated and decline. Still, the mills used to process wealth can be seen.

After 50 years working....still there. i think I couldn´t possibly work in the same place for more than five months, and would definetly not stay for fun in my workplace for ten or twenty years, I guess he is making some overtime...

All the machinery inside the mill had been imported from Germany.

Children´s day in Tres Esquinas, San Juan, Argentina.

Radio Antena 1 from San Juan city sponsored a party for the children at Tres Esquinas, a rural district near Jachal, San Juan, Argentina. There was chocolate for everyone and of course many games. Differently from expected, the organizers suggested old traditional games, as trying to bit a hanging apple with your hands tied....!

Car dumpsites: waiting hall for the karma.

Where some people only see old cars rusting away I see a request, a humble patience of old parts to reincarnate. At some point, somebody will enter Pedro’s place and ask for parts for restoration…

In this picture you can see Steven struggling to unscrew a part of a 1960s Bergantin. Somebody had just walked in and asked for the speedometer as well.

1960s Auto Union

Inside the Auto Union.

1960s F-100 Ford pick up.

1940 Ford pick up and a constellation of tyres.