Which cover do you like for my new book, soon to be released, “I Live In Chile“? I have 3 covers, all three are spectacular.
Each offers the heart and soul of this country I love, Chile. First and foremost about my Chile is her history, her culture her traditions, and her rugged, resilient and lovable people.
Nothing embodies this aspect of Chile more than her national dance, La Cueca. Yet within this tradition, there is an even larger sentiment, “La Patria”, love of country. The picture on the top right carries this enduring symbolism, “Amor por La Patria”, Love of Country, that all Chileans feel for her.
With its melody and meter determined by the text or the lyrics, the cueca is a song most often interpreted by two voices and accompanied by a guitar, harp, piano, accordion and tambourine.
Any of these instruments may be absent, except the guitar, which is essential, just as the public’s clapping, which stimulates the couples who dance in the ramadas during the Independence Day celebrations, or in the folk peñas, gathering places for singing, dancing and traditional foods.
“La Cueca” has been Chile’s national dance since 1979 and is expressed in various ways in different areas of the country. There is the northern cueca, the cueca chilota, the fierce cueca or the cueca chora, the urban cueca and the traditional cueca, danced in the central zone. In the latter, a cowboy, or huaso, and a peasant woman, or china, are dance partners.
The choreography is a representation of the romantic flirtation and conquest. It is said that cueca comes from the word clueca, meaning a hen that about to lay eggs, which would mean that the dance is symbolic of the mating ritual between rooster and hen.
The lyrics tell an anecdote about a fight in a bar or at a rodeo, the typical celebration with mounted huasos rounding up a steer in the rodeo ring.
“I Live In Chile” is coming out very soon, within the next 3 – 4 weeks, but it needs a cover. Which one do you like?
A: Left & B: Center C: Right
There are those who say that Chile’s most beautiful feature is the midnight landscape over the majestic twin mountain peaks of Torres del Paine. Indeed, it has everything to capture the mind, the spirit and the imagination of any traveler to see something that quite simply, “takes your breath away”:
1. Scale – “…2,422 square kilometres (935 square miles) and a highest peak that stands at 2,884 metres (9,462 feet). Torres del Paine’s mountains actually look even bigger than they are, since they rear unexpectedly out of the otherwise rolling yellow Patagonian plains.”
2. Beauty – “In Torres del Paine National Park there’s more than one kind of beauty on show. Alongside the craggy mountain peaks lie fractured blue glaciers dissolving into tumbling waterfalls and vast lakes, milky with sediment. Colossal starry nights break to make way for pink and yellow sunrises whilst wild winds blow double rainbows across your path. This is beauty of a higher order.”
3. Mystery – “Romance, mystery, a certain, je ne sais quoi… call it what you want, but a World Wonder has to have it. Patagonia is perhaps one of the most romanticised regions around, with a tight grip on the global imagination. Writers and thinkers have long made the pilgrimage to this distant frontier-land in an attempt to distil exactly what it is that makes Patagonia so special. From Lady Florence Dixie to Antoine de Saint-Exupéry to Bruce Chatwin, endless pages have been spent try to capture Patagonia’s essence. And still the only way to understand it is to visit for yourself.”
4. Endurance – “The Paine Massif that forms the centerpiece of the park was formed at some point during the Cretaceous period, some 145 to 66 million years ago. To put that in perspective, that’s when dinosaurs were still casually roaming the Earth!”
5. Wow Factor – “Seeing it for the first time should feel a little bit spiritual and a little bit unreal. Even though you may have seen lots of photos of it before your trip, seeing it in real life should still be better than you imagined. Ideally, your first sight of the potential Wonder should come with an audible gasp. That’s what seeing the Torres del Paine Massif for the first time feels like. After hours of flat steppeland the triple peaks of the famous Towers suddenly heave into view. It’s a moment you never forget.”
6. Uniqueness – “To be truly wonderous, a World Wonder should have something that can’t be found anywhere else on the planet. It should be unique, a one-off, unmatched. Torres del Paine National Park is exactly that, which is why it was designated as a World Biosphere Reserve in 1978, in recognition of the distinctive habitat it represents for the 24 species of mammals, 15 species of bird of prey and countless other animals as well as a wide range of flora, much of it endemic to this small corner of Chile.”
7. Remoteness – “When the original Wonders of the Ancient World were first compiled by the Greek poet Antipater of Sidon, travel to each sight took days or weeks, making the journey itself part of the adventure. Combined with the thrill of seeing the World Wonders was the excitement of the journey’s end. In our modern world of commercial air travel, there are few places that remain truly remote and require a true journey to reach them, but Torres del Paine National Park is one of them. A flight from Santiago in Chile or Buenos Aires in Argentina to the foot of the continent is followed by an overland journey that can take a whole day. This is one of the world’s last great adventures.”
8. Unmissability – “We judge this criterion based on how much you’d regret not visiting the potential Wonder if you happen to be in the area. In the case of Torres del Paine, the unmissability rating is sky-high since visiting the National Park is the main reason that lots of people go to Chilean Patagonia at all. Torres del Paine National Park is home to some of the world’s most iconic trekking routes like the Paine Circuit and the W Trek, so the park features on many an exclusive bucket list.
As you can see, Torres del Paine National Park scores big on all of these criteria, which is why we think it should be the 8th Wonder of the World! If you agree with us, you can vote once a day until the end of September 2013, when the winner will be announced.