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(Good) Friday, Wild Horses

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Since the National Park requires that we take a guide with us each day, and our guide's preference was to spend the Easter weekend with his family, both Friday and Saturday are all about checking the samples we've collected, cataloguing them and getting ready for next week.

I'll take a moment today to write briefly about a couple of the things that surprised me when I arrived here. First, there are a lot of horses. Horses (along with cats, dogs and chickens) are everywhere. They often turn up right in the center of town grazing any scrap of grass, whether it be tiny or the playing fields. Many people, especially younger males, ride horses for transportation. I'm told many of the wild horses were originally placed here to provide a horse breeding ground for the Chilean military. Since the horses are wild, some are not so energetic. The horses in today's picture decided that the middle of main street might be a great place for a nap in the afternoon sun.

This brings me to a second surprising fact. There are a lot of cars, motor scooters and traffic. A native anthropologist, Sergio Rapu, told me today that there is a car for every 1.8 people now. Many are rental cars for tourists. Motorbikes of various sorts are also very popular with locals and tourists alike. As a result of a recent fatal accident, helmets have been required as of April 1. We've been seeing the police all around town enforcing the new law.


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Troy Baisden

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