24 Photos From 2015 Never Published on Our Blog Before
You probably know this from your own travels: you take a lot of photos of all the exotic sights and beautiful landscapes, yet you forget to document the ordinary vistas. These things are not often eye-catching, but are part of the environment and experience in a foreign country. Sometimes I have to make myself get the camera out and capture “the ordinary”. These photos aren’t part of our other blog posts because they don’t fit any of the themes. So here are 24 photos, some of which are, in a way, more “typical South America” than tourist attractions. And others are simply peculiar.
A row of identical new houses, somewhere in Chile. You sometimes see developments of a hundred or more small houses, all built in the same style. In Chile these developments seem to be everywhere, but we have seen them in other countries too. Probably a rather economical way to provide affordable housing…
Rural life in Chile is far removed from the glitzy, hectic, technology-driven lifestyle of the large cities, particularly Santiago. We noticed these ox carts hauling timber somewhere along a gravel road in Mapuche country in the south of Chile. But don’t be fooled: there is probably more poverty in the cities than in the countryside; life in the countryside just has a different pace to it.
A small YPF fuel station powered by alternative energy. This makes complete sense in some remote parts of Argentina because small towns are often not connected to the electricity grid; they rely on generating their own power with a diesel generator. Alternative energy means that the generator can be turned off during daytime.
Somehow these flies got it all wrong – that’s not what our fly swat is meant for…
We have been somewhat surprised to see so many dome shaped buildings along the way. These domes in the Valle de Elqui , Chile, served as summer tourist accommodation.
All of Latin America is football obsessed! When an important game is on, everyone tries to watch it – even the police forget their duties. (football = soccer for some)
This old truck might still dream of a future in a museum. Spotted in a side street in Toconao, Atacama Desert near San Pedro.
Old flattened 44-Gallon oil drums make for a colourful fence. Seen in Peine (Atacama Desert) and several other places.
Bricks for the building, and tables and benches for outside – all honed from slabs of salt. Photographed at Salinas Grandes, coming across Paso de Jama into Argentina.
A creatively crafted petrol station, mostly built from natural rock. It stands in the same town as the Pachamama Museum . We are actually so fascinated by the use of natural rock, often for very contemporary structures, that we are planning to publish a blog gallery featuring more ‘Rock Architecture’.
A shop the size of a shop window. In large cities a surprising number of retail outlets are hidden away in passages, or arcades. The shops are usually occupied by very specialised retailers. They are tiny, not more than 5-6 square metres, and offer products that you can’t find in department stores. The low rents mean that these specialists are generally much cheaper too.
Space in Valparaiso comes at a premium, particularly a level parking place. I photographed this solution through a small hole in a garage door. The two blocks with the low brick walls at the end are where the front wheels of the parked car sit. They jut out into midair from a retaining wall, the ground floor of the building is a full storey below. Would you want to park your car on this precarious looking structure? Imagine you miss one day…
Towns in Europe now decorate some streets with colourful umbrellas suspended on wires across shopping malls. In Valparaiso I saw this humorous and cheap decoration, made from empty plastic drinking cups.
Chile recycles! Not everywhere, but recycling stations like this are a common sight in most large towns. You usually find them on parking lots of supermarkets or large hardware stores. In some , like Jumbo and Sodimac, people receive credit vouchers they can redeem in the shops.
We are surprised how frequently we have seen vertical gardens! Many COPEC petrol stations in Chile have them, as have some inner city shopping centres. We love them because they add some green and texture to otherwise plain concrete walls.
This was a sight I had to stop for: boy Gauchos, as young as maybe 7, showing off their horse skills. They were actually really serious and competitive about it. Spotted next to the road as we drove into Villa Carlos Paz, Cordoba Province. Only a few days later we were fortunate to witness the Gaucho parade in Alta Gracia .
The man driving this oldtimer replica was quite proud of his work. The body is supposed to look like an old American car; the chassis underneath is from a simple French Citroën Deux Chevaux. Spotted in Colon, Entre Rios, Argentina.
Argentina has a large and thriving auto industry. A wide variety of car models have been produced and sold here for years beyond their appearance in any western showroom. Occasionally there is evidence of some “modernisation” of old faithful models – at times with dubious results. Like this Citroën 3CV (an upgraded 2CV), which lost all of its cuteness with the locally designed square headlights, cheap plastic grill and mirrors, and the “modernised” bumper bar.
Junk yards like this are a common sight in Uruguay. Don’t get the wrong idea: these are usually neatly ordered sales yards, not trash heaps. Actually old cars, as seen in this photo, are still a fairly common sight in Uruguay’s traffic. Sadly, they seem to be slowly disappearing, replaced by cheap, imported cars from China.
Somehow we found advertising in Brazil as attention-seeking and ‘loud’ as we came to know it in the USA. No big surprise then, that this textile outlet store placed a huge Statue of Liberty replica right next to the highway.
Some people ‘overland’ in the strangest vehicles! We met this group of Belgians on the way into the Esteros del Iberá , which wasn’t the easiest road to drive. Sadly the Citroën in the front didn’t make it and had to be towed back.
We are so fascinated by the translucent pebbles along Rio Uruguay that photographing alone wasn’t enough! We collected a few small specimens to take with us. They are everywhere, in colours ranging from pale yellow to amber to dark rust-brown. Actually, they are so common that road surfaces and things poured from concrete contain plenty of them. Wouldn’t they make a beautiful base aggregate for a polished concrete floor?
Why not go on a sightseeing tour in an unusual style? This company in Buenos Aires built stretched Citroën Deux Chevaux limousines to take tourists for a ride around town. We would have loved to do this, but for only the two of us it felt a little ‘over the top’…
The San Telmo market in Buenos Aires, held every Sunday, certainly offers some unusual things. We loved these little wall-hanging dioramas one stallholder created in loving detail. We found this image of a typical newspaper kiosk both beautiful and comical in its intricacy.
Some of these photos were published on Social Media last year, but not all of you are following us on Facebook or Instagram – see what you’re missing. ;)