The Other America
Things look different in Latin America, colours are more vivid, yellow is everywhere and has never looked better. Orange and purple cohabit with turquoise and tope without a skirmish. The sky oscillates between pure blue and charcoal grey smeared with white. Sound all around echos on new frequencies, from the deafening rumble of an earthquake tremor in Lima to the rapturous cacophony of the street markets in Caracas.
I turned on the TV one afternoon to catch up on the news outside of our tour bubble, but was soon distracted and found myself transfixed by an Argentine soap opera, the Spanish language seems able to express a new layer of passion. It's like living in an Almodovar movie, everywhere you look, every corner you turn reveals another surprise, there is an impossible sense of style, that somehow flows effortlessly amidst the scenery.
In Lima modern buildings cradle ancient Inca ruins. In Buenos Aires, elegant new architecture has infiltrated the streets, glistening and gleaming beside majestic historic buildings. The vast sprawling megalopolis of Santiago can be viewed from the hills above, framed by a surreal backdrop of the snow capped Andes. As I descended on a cable car, hovering above the Jacaranda trees, I started to contemplate the vast cultural differences and the idiosyncrasies that identify our nations. The pressing philosophical question which came to mind was; how can a hat become synonymous with a country? The Chullo in Peru, the Gaitero in Columbia and of course, the Panama hat in Panama...Could it be possible that the spirit of all nations be identified by this simple international code? Does that make America a baseball cap and Britain a bowler hat?