The capital of Chile is one of the largest cities in the Americas. Being a colony of Spain before, the city boasts monuments and architecture of Spanish influence, such as the Palacio de La Moneda, Biblioteca Nacional de Chile, the Metropolitan Cathedral, the Statue of the Virgin Mary at Cristobal Hill, and more. It's no secret that the city boasts plenty of parks to hang out and about, too! But with the ongoing pandemic, travels might be postponed for now. So let's have our compromise with film photographs. Our daring Lomographer cucoanalogo a.k.a. Macarena shares her views of Santiago, Perú before the pandemic.
The trip to Perú was in 2018, during a week of vacation. I traveled alone, it started with a trip from Santiago to Arica (a city in northern Chile) and crossed by train to Tacna. Then, I went to Arequipa, Puno, Cusco, Machu Picchu, and Lima. The idea of visiting Peú was not something planned, I had to take a vacation and it was November. I decided to go to Perú mainly because of my budget, everyone told me that the landscapes were beautiful, that I could stay and eat a lot for little money.
The images were taken before the pandemic.
The situation in South America and the Americas, in general, is complicated. The United States and Brazil lead the numbers of people infected worldwide, Perú occupies fifth place in the ranking of the nations most hit by the pandemic on a global scale, and then Chile and Mexico follow. In Chile, the COVID-19 propagation process began in the richest communes of Santiago and from there it was spread to the regions and communes with the greatest social threats. To date, 8,838 fatal victims are counted in Chile, the current crisis challenged all our conceptions of what health and social policies are.
In Santiago, common pots are made from donations, where you can share lunch in communes with the greatest social threat and with people living on the streets. Another thing I can rescue is the rigor with which some people have been quarantined and complying with curfews, trying to cope with the stress and psychological problems that come from being locked down for so long.
Finally, I want to mention that the pandemic not only represents a biological threat, but also counteracts and exposes profound socio-structural inequalities, such as poverty, the level of overcrowding of the population, lack of work, lack of basic goods, and inability to access health care due to lack of resources, among many other drawbacks.
On a "normal" day, I recommend visiting the Uros Floating Islands (Puno), the Colca Canyon and the Chacapi hot springs (Arequipa). Also the Cathedral of Arequipa, of course, Machu Picchu (Cusco), the main squares and historical centers that are very beautiful to photograph.
My favorite things in Perú are the architecture, its culture, the churches, the magic, and the connection that all the places offer you, the friendliness of the people, and the frozen cheese (which is typical ice cream).
A tip is to psych yourself up to walk a lot, because the cities are very big and, to tell you the truth, you’ll always want to travel and know everything, in Perú everything is worth taking a photograph of, everything. There are many landscape photographs, in many tourist places you can find women with baby alpacas for you to photograph them in exchange for a monetary reward. Another tip would be to bring a lens for portraits, and lastly, anticipate and buy plenty of photographic rolls for the trip.
I’m resting these days, the stress of teleworking caused me an eye injury, so I am recovering so I can continue taking photos after the confinement ends. If I could, this year I would travel to the city of Valparaíso, which is an hour and a half drive from Santiago. I feel that there are very beautiful landscapes in the port and its hills that I have not allowed myself to discover, I would love to stay a few weeks and be able to portray everything.
If international travel resumes and the COVID-19 disappears, I would travel to Venice, Italy, or Cuba next year, both of which are places of many colors, ideal for taking many photos.
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