The E-Bike Diaries

Five Pictures

/ Chile

Wood on wheels. Two landscape-defining constants never abandon you while travelling trough southern Chile. The Eucalyptus and pine tree plantations make the landscape, so much so that they seem to displace agriculture. The other constant, the thousands of trucks loaded with the wood trunks speeding to one of the many pulpwood-processing plants, most of the wood is used for paper making apparently.
Bahía Las Cañas. People fishing and a pulpwood processing factory in the background.
From Alaska to Argentina. We met 25 year old Riley Engemoen with a flat tier on the highway between Los Angeles (where Che Guevara and Alberto Granado sleep at the Firefighter station and save a cat from a burning building) and Mulchén. Riley from Wimberley Texas is a film maker and has started traveling with four friends in Alaska almost two years ago. Asked if they had run into trouble during their travels, he mentioned that he was robbed in Colombia and that one of them was shot at in Peru on the costal highway. His travel blog is
Roadside cemetery. When someone dies in a road accident, they often get a roadside chapel with a cross and a remembrance plaque. It’s obviously a common accepted practice. Sometimes it seems entire families have been wiped out by an accident as groups of crosses stand beside one another. I wonder what happens if one day a government decides to widen a road? How will they deal with all the remembrance chapels? Will they move them destroy them? Will there be a commission dealing with the problem?
The past a strange country. I have tried to engage a few Chileans in discussions about their recent past about the time when democracy was interrupted. Most people steered away from a discussion; a few mentioned that during the Pinochet regime the country had a lower crime rate. Being a Chilean I’d probably steer away myself from a passing foreigner asking questions about the past. I knew this reaction from previous trips to Chile, but I made another halfhearted attempt with friendly Eliana, a cook that bakes delicious empanadas. Asked about why people in Chile seem reluctant to talk about the past, she said that people like her from the countryside are shy. But then it got more personal. Eliana said that she was only going to tell me one thing about her past in the hope that I would understand. She mentioned that her wedding party in 1977 was crashed by the police accusing her husband a socialist of being a communist, and that throughout the Pinochet regime they had to get used to being harassed for having a different opinion. That should be enough for me to understand why in her case she didn’t like to talk about the past.