Valparaìso, 3 February 2020
On the fourth day of waiting, the motorbikes are being run in, and with each ignition, the noise of the engines stirs the spirits. The road is calling, and the desire to leave is intense, but the preparations, with the precise slowness they deserve, continue.
Valparaiso, a seaport city, coloured by the hilltop dwellings, the home of Pablo Neruda, recounted by Ernesto Guevara in The Motorcycle Diaries, welcomed us with its smells, its thousand expressions and the incessant hubbub of the streets.
Seemingly quiet, the city reveals itself by showing that side marked by the dissent of a weary people demanding justice, fairness, and respect. The vibrancy of everyday life is interspersed with scars, worn proudly by the walls of the buildings.
In Chile, an untenable welfare state ignites protests ‘gobierno asesino, te estamos mirando‘ can be read on sheets of paper pasted here and there. In the night the squares become a battleground. Improvised fighters fill them. The dust from the tear gas burns the nose and lines the still sleepy morning eyes. And yet life goes on. With their heads down, at a brisk pace, their faces covered by masks and makeshift protective gear.
But there always comes the Pacific wind to stir the air, incessant, unceasing.
And he still carries the scent of the sea with him.