not a pretty girl

a new person with each new experience

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

meeting the millitants

We left argentina through a main route between it and chile throught the andes. Not only did we spend close to 6 hours getting through the mountains, one of the hours was just getting down this winding road. We had the whole back on the bus to our selves and jumped back and forth to get the best view for pics of this crazy trip - knowing still that it was nothing like the bike ride in bolivia "the most dangerous road in the world".

We were met in satiago by a mate that pepe got us in contact with. we was in his thirties and wering a suit, we started to wonder if all chilian anarchists were just like pepe. As we walked down the road to his car, we noted a few punk types in the distance, to our surprise our host stopped and kissed them on the cheek, we were even more surprised when he left us with them with no common language between us. We were ushered onto a bus and told that we were about to learn spanish very quickly. It was like having checkov meeting you at the bus stop and then bumping into wheeler and jules and realising that with comrades you have unlikely friendships.

we ended up staying with the people we met on the streets for 5 nights and learnt how you can spend next to nothing in an expenisve country if you tried. We spent more one day away from them then we did in the week with them.

They were comrades, and has they liked to say millitants. If being in argentina showing revolt video films wasn´t enough to make us think that we don´t knwo a thing about struggle and repression. Spending time in satiago clarified it. The whole house was involved in OCL, a platformist group that is in a internation group with wsm. In the group they are all in fronts. The house was split up in what fronts they were in. Two of them were in popular education fronts. They taught students in the neighbourhood next to theres. The age group was 18-25 yearolds that went to schools that didn´t prepare them for the university exams. They taught history, politics etcs. to prepare the students for the entry exams for university. What was interesting is the area they were doing work in.

In the 1970´s there was this area of 20 families that were self sustainable. They took there politics from cuba and subsiquently named there area new havana. They educated there own children about politics and there situation. the prespective was theres not from the oppressors so they learnt about land lords from the perpective of someone that lives in the big house recieving the benifits of others work. We watched a film about it while staying at our hosts house. Just recently was the 36 aniversay of new havana, and even though now the land is no longer squated and self organized the memory of the area lives on. Our friends were part of doing a few murals for the memory of the area. I havn´t found anything good yet in english about it, but I will keep looking. Here is an account from the celebrations in spanish.

This was not to long ago but the activists involved in this revolutionary community was rounded up and killed. that was a common practice in the 70´s which could be why our frineds are very careful about there actions. Aparently its common practice to have police infiltrate groups. Its not uncommon for cops to do four years of university to get into the left wing groups.

The other group that a few of the people we met were part of was this housing group. There is this phenomena where people don´t have enough money to get there own house so many families like in cramped courters all together.
There group is someing like like tango luche. which would be roof struggle. Its a realitivly new campaign that has allot of support from the people who live in these conditions.

The work they were doing was both idiologically revoutionary and still in touch with what is happening. A few of them are ex anarcho punks, who they seem to have a huge dislike of. The squaters and the punks who build communites and places for themselves but are not involved in sturggle. Although one of our friends there has been in the scene for years he calls himself a new millitant since he has ony joined ocl a few years ago. He was proud to have a group that was spread around the country in four different regions.

Monday, November 20, 2006

wine tasting and mountain biking

After leaving BA, which I´m sure if I said nothing reddy would have stayed there the full two months, we heading to Mendoza. We were told it was sooo beautiful. I think these people need to check their vision checked. It was alright, kinda a plan boring town. On sundays like many small places the place shut down, but we did have the pleasure of witnessing a few scams in action. The first was when a bird shat on my bag (gross) but the moment it happened I was swarmed by people trying to take my bag to "clean" it. On one guy saying that the shit got on my back (which lucky it didn´t) and trying to grab my small bag in the distraction. Then while the hostels doors were open a bag went "missing". Then we say these three guys circling the park checking out the tourists. The surrounded us from a distance but I was on to them and they backed off. Then they went for this guy with a big camera. We went to warn the guy but he got away on his own. Then ten mins later I say one of the guys running down the road with a wallet.

After renting bikes and getting stuck in torential storms that had us walking through river like roads and stuck in bed for a day recovering we went on a bike and wine tour. Less pretencious then any wine tour I have heard of before, except they are trying with this really gourmet lunch that we opted out of and had a picnic on there tables with this german couple we had met. We eventually met this two irish girls who were a blast and giving out about the low levels of free drink just like us. It turned out that they were staying at our hostel so we drank wine all day and night and relaxed in the company of the a similar sence of humour.

The next day we headed to uspallata, this small town in a valley in the andes, it was where seven days in tibet was filmed. really beautiful with nothing to do. We had one great adventure day that made us realise how out of space we were. Here we are with city shoes and needed to take breaks all the time while th guide was never short of breath. We did a few hours of treking then rapelling and finished with mountain biking- deadly buzz all around. Its not that I lost my outdoorness, it just takes me a while to get into it. After the repell I was all gitty and wanted to go again. The next day we rented mountain bikes and biked around the dusty roads on our own, running out of breath and blaming it on the high altitude and dust.