Tuesday, 10 December 2013


One of the repeating features of our travels are political elections. Both national and local. Given that some campaigns can last three quarters of a year, as in our Paraguayan experience, it's of little surprise that we find them. Given that every available wall space is, with the exception of churches, fair game for political painting, slogans last until the sun fades them and the posture paint is reapplied all over again. Small insights and minor vignettes crop up in unlikely places.

Tonight's vignette comes from the presidential contest, Chilean style. I'm returning along the pedestrian precinct, two rows of plastic chairs and one long continuous ribbon of tables are set out, the length taking up two complete blocks. Something must be about to happen. Only there's nobody about. Now I'm a sucker for a brass band, especially the South American version. When I hear that reverberating drum thump, that staccato from the snares, that practiced perfection of timing, it's generally time to find out what's happening. Sometimes it's the police off to lay a wreath at the cemetery, or it's the spectacle of an Aymara procession, or, as in this instance, it's Michelle dining her prospective faithful, or at least it's her proxy, her door steping canvassers. Banners, flags and taxis totting tannoys, blasting out her anthem. The lyrics that are dominated by the word; "Chile". As with the lady President across the hill, so Christian names suffice. Ex-President Blanchet is on the stump.