segunda-feira, 9 de outubro de 2017

Day 9: Discovering Chaco

"Oh, you're my first Portugals!", we hear as we purchase the admittance tickets. In twenty-five years working for the Chaco Historical Park, the lady who welcomes us has never met any Portuguese tourists hence her ignorance of the demonym. We know we are far as far can get.
The ruins of the Chacoan villages are a good five-minute drive away from the ticket office. We could trek to the sites but the stifling heat is enough to have us choosing the comforts of air-conditioning.
All visits are guided and we have to wait for our guide. All around us the desert and its scorching presence. The remoteness, the aridity and the solicitude of the place trigger thoughts of how a civilization was able to flourish here. Not much is known about the Chacoans. Who were they, why did their culture vanish are still open questions. We're wondering about all this when the guide arrives, a red-haired, pierced MA student doing research on Chacoan basket weaving. Tops!
For over an hour she tours us through the maze of buildings and passage ways that compose the Great House of Pueblo Bonito. We're a small group (no wonder, given Chaco's remoteness) and I find it consoling that the reason why I'm finding it awesome to be here is the lack of crowds and the silence which allow for the site to keep its soul and its integrity.
There's something Andean in these buildings, something inextricably American, as in of the whole of the Americas. The mystery is alluring. Chaco does not give out its secrets and it gladdens me that, in the midst of this want to know it all society of over-information, there are things that are still left to our imagination.
The weather is changing. The south road is already submerged and closed. Here the skies are still blue but we have to go before the storm hits us. I anticipate the dangerous road leading us back to civilization and the modern times and I bid farewell to Chaco where I leave a piece of my soul. What a great experience and so worth the literal getting out of the beaten track. Chaco has a place in my memory.

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