Monday, 13 December 2010

Moments in Chaco Time: MAMBA Conclusion

The Chaco and it’s antonym, Los Cordillera Andes are two parts to the same Argentine equation. For myself they are of equal status, only one requires a little more delving, a little more enquiry to be able to find a subtle interest, a deeper character, an inner beauty. The other is the super model. All is on the surface, open for instant inspection, flaunting her wares, grabbing the catwalk of a touristic trail.

Yet we too are voyeurs as we pass through the Chaco. How can I with a northern Anglo-Saxon experience and mindset come to understand the world of a family trying to survive on a patch of dry salty land with a herd of goats, a couple of pigs and a few hens. Living in a wooden slatted hut where the dust and grit blow in through the chinks, where neither the temperature nor the humidity can be controlled by chiller or fan. Then having to watch the daily procession of transfrontera car transporters hauling the latest imported model of chrome and steel past his front gate.

As an exercise in utter futility, I try to put myself into his shoes, maybe I would just ignore those loco gringos expending all that energy, all that pedalling effort, and for what? All that rushing around, slaving a life for the latest model to come off a BMW production line. No, I’m not able to even start to think in another person’s mind, to comprehend what living is truly like out here.
I console my conscience, by justifying that at least we put some cash back into the local economy. We have to buy food every day, we have to pay for accommodation every evening, which in this age of a globalised economy is at least locally owned.

So I might as well make the effort to look, to observe, to try to understand. That’s when you start to realise that this is not, and no countryside can ever be, MAMBA.