Hot & Delicious Rocks: The Planet! – photographic travel diary series.
Blind old guitarist. Pucón, Chile. Photo credit: Dan Wilkinson (Hot & Delicious Group). Chile Part I
Years back I jetted off from my Dubai base for a 2-3 week escape to South America… no internet, no phone, no plan… just me, my backpack, journal and an SLR. After almost 24 hours on aeroplanes, I landed into Santiago with no idea what I was going to see in Chile or where I was going to go. Daunting yes, but mannnn.. have you ever done it? So empowering! My dream is actually to rock-up to Melbourne International Airport armed with nothing but a passport, laptop, DSLR and carry-on luggage. The world’s your oyster!
Anyway, so after settling into a hostel (accom I may struggle with these days :p ), I contacted the half sister of a family friend of my family, Picque, and organized to meet her for a drink to tap into her thoughts. This blessed soul had never met me, but welcomed me into her family home, cooked me delicious meal and cracked open a fine bottle of Chilean red.
Now some may find this experience of catching up with someone you’ve never met a little strange, but who I am is completely open and passionate as a person and this openness has lead me to some wonderfully, amazing people, which the old me (shy introvert) would never have had done. This personal attitude has had a profound impact on my life and lead me to all the amazing career opportunities I’ve had so far. Sure, some people find this attitude to be a little intimidating and mistake my intensity for appearing needy, but invariably those quick-to-judge fall swiftly by the way-side and I’m left with beautiful new friends across the planet and experiences of a lifetime.
Anyway, after chatting with Picque at length about travelling north to the desert region of Arica versus south towards Patagonia, I settled on south as I was already living in the deserts of the Middle East. I thoroughly enjoyed my chats and the rest of my meal with Picque, then trotted back to the hostel to collapse in exhaustion.
Next day, I enjoyed a few vinos at world-renowned Concha Y Toro winery and explored Santiago, before prepping for the journey down south.
My train journey down south to Pucón, was broken up with a brief stop in Temuco for a traditional Chilean lunch with Picque’s sister who again, despite having never met or heard of me, picked me up from the local train station and took me back to the family home where her kids and myself enjoyed Chilean fare of whole artichokes individually plucked and then dipped in aioli. Delicious!
After the short ride on to Pucón, I checked into the hostel and strolled towards the supermarket alongs the streets of this tiny ski village situated at the base of active volcano, Villarrica. I was struck by the beauty of this desolate place and in awe of a town that could be so swiftly swept aside at any time with just one volcanic eruption. Whilst soaking up these emotions, I stumbled across this old, blind Chilean guitarist singing for his supper outside the local supermarket that I’d stopped by for supplies and captivated as if it were a pinnacle moment in time, I was compelled to capture it immediately.
This snapshot of my life and image have stuck in my mind for the past 13 years. I’ll write another piece about my trek up the volcano, the people I met and my experience of Chile as a whole, but have already gone longer than what I’d like in this piece. Want to keep the stories in this series short, sharp and digestible.
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