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Published: February 1st 2018
Motorcyclists are allowed a day off. Photographers are not. The wonderful organizers of my trip (Ride Adventures LLC from Oregon) had decreed January 31 as a rest day. So I slept in, ate a good breakfast and worked on the blog. I decided to walk the mile and a half to Puerto Guadal, the closest town, for lunch. I aimed for the restaurant run by the mother of an employee of my hotel. I then visited the local supermarket for snacks and water, and started to wander back. It struck me as I walked around that this village was special, squeezed between the lake and the mountains. It had a small one of everything -- butcher, baker, hardware store, hostel and a gazebo on the main square. There was a lot of pride in the way people kept their houses and sidewalks, flew their flags and generally celebrated their dwelling space. I started to take photos, and I couldn't stop.
An hour later, over by the primary school, I was photographing a house surrounded by children's toys with huge paintings on the outside wall. The owner came running across the road, and invited me in. Why not? An hour later,
he was still enthusiastically explaining the contents of his house/studio. He had spent 6 years on a remote island West of Aysen (in Chilean Patagonia) learning and creating cultural artefacts and crafts from indigenous Chilean cultures of the South -- from totem poles to paintings. Ten months ago he had moved to Puerto Guadal, established his studio and filled it with his work. Now he was engaged in bringing people in to see it -- maybe even to buy some of it (but that seemed a very secondary objective). He told me the folklore and story behind each piece. He had the pieces clustered by region in Southern Chile. After a while I started taking pictures of the pieces I liked the best. Back at the hotel, I did my best to get the administrator to send his tourists to town to visit his studio. He seemed receptive. Maybe something will happen, but it won't be because of me...
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