South America Blog
About this blog
Wayne Bernhardson is the author of Moon Handbooks to Buenos Aires, Chile, Argentina, and Patagonia. Here he shares his vast knowledge of South America and its people.
- The Papal Cumbia
- The Uruguayan Sacraments: Tango & Mate
- Taxing the Tourist: Argentina's AFIP Aims Low
- Fortress Falklands: A Book Review
- Pope Argentinus I, The Musical: Ragtime Meets Tango
- Credit Where Credit Is Undue?
- ¿Adios Hugo?
- When "No" Is A Positive
- Chile and Its "Crazies"
- The Oscars: A Post Mortem, So to Speak
- Sacrificing the Atacama? A Chilean View of Dakar
- Chilean Oscar Faceoff? "No" v. "Kon-Tiki"
- Friday Digest: Southern Cone Nuggets
- Dancing in the Mud? The Andean Aftermath
- Floods & Mud: Summer Storms Hit the Andes
Dewiring Punta Arenas
Chile has only a handful of distinctive cities, most notably the heartland port of Valparaíso (a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its vernacular architecture), the Atacama desert port of Iquique (with its characteristic wooden Victorians), and the Patagonian port of Punta Arenas, the gateway to Torres del Paine (for air passengers) and the fjords of Tierra del Fuego (by sea). Even those cities often have plenty of eyesores including plastic signage and a proliferation of electric and telephone cables that clutter many streets.
That's why it was such a pleasure to read that Punta Arenas mayor Vladimiro Mimica has denounced visual pollution that limits the appreciation of 19th-century wool-boom monuments such as the Sociedad Menéndez-Behety (pictured here). It may be too expensive to underground all the wiring in the city’s historic core, around Plaza Muñoz Gamero, but when the phone and power companies rewire they usually don’t bother to remove old cables that are no longer in use. Just doing that would improve the visibility of details from the city’s architectural heritage.