last entries

Living and writing

I've been here in San Martin for more than 4 weeks now, but with my writing I've just about gotten to my arrival! Living and writing seem to be somewhat out of sync!

Well, that's no surprise, during the first couple of weeks there was simply too much living to do.

And sometimes I asked myself: where did I exactly arrive?

in springtime?
on a playground of climate change?
in the early seventies?

The spectrum of impressions was huge, obviously it took some time until I had managed to cope with them, to consolidate them into a first view of my place of residence south of the equator.
Sure, I "knew" the place. But through the eyes of a "permanent" resident it looked different than through the eyes of a visitor.

Springtime: the bloom was in full swing, lilac, dandylions, one or the other fruit tree and all kinds of local plants were pushing out their blossoms at full power. The temperature, however, didn't want to have nothing to do with it. Sure, every now and then, there was a day, which felt like early summer, when the sun cut through the UV-20 blocker in no time. But these were exceptions. Many a day, although not necessarily horribly wet or grey and overcast, was just cool, almost cold and the locals began to ask themselves if there was going to be a primavera at all.

primavera_SMA_6089_400 - - - Amancay_Chapelco_6104_400
- in el centro de San Martin - -and- - Suburbia, my present neighbourhood
But when the weather decided to be nice, it did so with an overwhelming intensity.
My second sunday here was such a marvelous day. Perfect timing, because that was also the last day of the skiing season up on Cerro Chapelco. Out of curiosity and a craving for altitude I drove up there.

Oh well! A season's very last downhill run, or summer-skiing in a T-shirt on some glacier never was my favorite. Skiing is wintersport for me, the more white stuff the better.
But here? It looked like a big "goggled and booted" crowd was desperately trying to shrug off obvious signs of global warming: the half-way committed dragged boots and skis or snowboards across a dry and dusty parking lot towards the Poma cable gondola. The totally committed appeared hours later suddenly on the last snowpatch about 300ft uphill of the of that very Poma lift. How they managed to "ski" down here from the more or less white slopes up there on the ridge remained a mystery.

snowpatch_lift_6174_400 - - - - chairshad_snwdirt_6189_400
on the slopes of Cerro Chapelco

Without skis, I was free and open for a different view of things -and had ample opportunity to try out my new lenses.

Chap_treestump_6194_400 - - - trees_Chap_Lanin_6169_400
- View from the slopes - over to- -Volcano Lanin-

On my way back I must have slid through a time tunnel. Suddenly, only small and smaller sized European cars of the late sixties and early seventies were on the roads. No, not the carefully and lovingly restored antiques of those times, only old clunkers which couldn't deceive anybody about their age. Mostly Renaults, from the venerable R4 all the way up to the R12, in all shapes, and states of decomposition, a few Peugeots and one or the other tiny Fiat. And. of course, that sweetheart of the in-crowd: the Ford Falcon (probably a Ford-Europe/Ford-USA hybrid, since I've never seen one in either the US or Europe) spiffed up with decals, monster exhaust pipes and outrageous paint schemes.

oldcar_blue_6477_400 - - - FordFalcon_6481_400
-back in the sixties?... - or - ...the seventies?....

All these were state of the art compared to that one..

... or the fifties ?

and it was for sale!

New options for my car search seemed to open up on each corner. And memories of weekends filled with fixing, tuning, modifying old cars popped up, when - to compensate for a tough week in lab and auditorium at the University - we'd get our hands dirty working on exactly the same models I saw here. Would I still be able to adjust the timing, tune the carburetor, change the alternator belt...?