Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Los trópicos aman las fantasías alpinas

Celeste Olalquiaga, scoperta dal post precedente, è una ricercatrice/storica indipendente della cultura moderna. Credo sia venezuelana, bello e illuminato è il suo tributo in cartoline alla città di Caracas, dove conto di dirigermi appena possibile: Small Tribute To A Dying City

Caracas has a heavy-duty car culture. Until 1983, automotive transportation was the only way to get from one place to another, a situation greatly hindered by the city's labyrinthine layout and irregular topography. This resulted in endless traffic jams during which drivers would turn off their engines and begin talking to one another. As a child, I remember obsessively making up math games with license plate numbers, attempting to escape the boredom of remaining for hours in the back seat of my parents' car.

One valiant attempt at controlling traffic and pollution was the "día de parada" (stop your car for a day) policy, which prevented alternating plate digits from transiting during weekdays. This plan backfired bigtime; most families either bought an extra car or got hold of forged plates to use on the forbidden days. What is detested by some can be a blessing for others, however: many slum dwellers make a living selling potato chips, newspapers, and even the occasional car ornament on the city's congested highways.


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