Author Archives: The Emu

About The Emu

Australian guy , ex 20 years Australian Army , Vietnam Veteran Married to Ana my Chilean wife Poet and writer of Love and Romance Keen adventurer and traveller Interested in Aboriginal history and culture and all forms of Flora and Fauna Amateur photographer and Cook Love reading autobiographies and historical works Appreciate the classics and arts Sex loving ridgee didge fair dinkum Aussie guy Drinks like a fish and smokes like a train


Leaving the high city of Alto Hospicio that overlooks the Pacific ocean at 2,000 feet, we headed inland into the Atacama Desert. Our destination was the old Salt Petre mining ghost town of Humberstone. A town slowly dissolving into the sands and history of the Atacama desert. This town is now deserted, left to the ravages of time, a town that once flourished with life, and yet remains a remarkable piece of Chilean history, a history touched with development and commerce, but sadly a part of an atrocity that still remains a stain on Chile’s past. A little bit of history on this old deserted town indicates it was established in 1872 and finally closed its doors as a mining town in 1960. At this time in history when the town was established as a Salt Petre mine, there were a number of other mines operating in the Atacama extracting Salt Petre.

Salt Petre was in high demand in this era, primarily for the use for Gun Powder. What makes this town so unique, is its organization by the corporation that established the mine. The corporation established a complete community with every amenity available at that time, Town Hall, School, a Church, Hospital, Dentistry, a Theatre, Tennis Court, Football field and a Swimming Pool, it had Shops and a Cantina. The Miners accommodation was on site, houses that were designed to house the Miners and their families, houses were built side by side, no intervening spaces, Streets were laid out in formal arrangement. I walked the Town of Humberstone for over two hours, at times it felt like the ghosts from the towns past accompanied me, the streets, eerily silent, the Church a silent remnant from out past prayers, the Theatre holding the echoes of the Caruso the Tenor. The buildings were a history book without words, corrugated iron rusting, walls both internal and external crumbling, all evidence of the Salt within the soil, that accompanied with the harsh Sun and Sands of the Atacama, displayed a Town that once was alive, served a purpose but was doomed to die when commerce and finance constraints took over. Two interesting facts on this Town, one was it had its own self sustaining currency, the other, the Swimming Pool, this was made entirely of corrugated iron spot welded together, The Pool was not open for viewing when I was there, I have added a video clip of the overview of Humberstone at the end, which depicts the pool. I end this story of Humberstone as seen through my eyes, the attached pictures will show you the Town as it is today, I hope you agree with the pictures that on seeing them you actually can see into it’s history, The Fading Memory of Once a Community welded together for Prosperity.





Posted by on November 19, 2017 in Uncategorized


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Alto Hospicio— A Portal to the Chilean Atacama Desert

Leaving Iquique and continuing our Chilean adventure, our destination was an old Mining town that was fast becoming a part of the dusts of the Atacama Desert, Humberstone Township. However to paint the picture and bring the imagery to life, I need to give you a little more information on Iquique, it is a coastal Chilean port as I previously described, bordered on one side by the Pacific Ocean, and bordered on the other, by the great Rock, Stone Mountain range which forms the backdrop to Iquique. This city holds a secret that you will only discover if you visit there, or someone gives you a research link.

To reach the top of the mountain behind the city, there is a two way road, precipitous and slow moving, from Iquique to the top is a distance of ten kilometers, cars, trucks and buses travel in slow formation, winding their way to the top in a slow convoy. Arriving at the top, the magic of Chile appears before your eyes, another City, a City above a City, not quite as big as the one you just left, but still a huge thriving metropolis called Alto Hospicio. I was amazed, taking photographs on the way up, I realized how high we were climbing, 2,000 thousand feet above sea level. From this city you could view the whole of Iquique, the city below, from the complete north to the south of the coastline, the layout of the City below grew small, twenty and thirty floor buildings in all detail could still be seen, but the panorama was breathtaking, the complete City below was exposed. I didn’t expect this revelation or surprise, Alto Hospicio was only mentioned in passing comments so I didn’t take much interest in its existence.

Our destination at that time was another hundred kilometers into the Atacama desert, and for reasons I can’t recall, we didn’t stop for photographs, however I was later given the chance to visit Alto Hospicio at night, and view the City of Iquique way down below, words cannot describe the panoramic view of Iquique from one end to the other, completely ablaze in lights with the Pacific ocean hugging its shore, the waters shimmering under the bright Moons rays, sparkling and dancing across the oceans waves, mesmerizing. My camera and I refuse to cooperate when it comes to night time photography, I was desperate and tried every setting on my camera, hoping upon hope that some at least would turn out, it wasn’t to be. What amazed me most about these two cities, is the fact that you cannot see Alto Hospicio from Iquique, yet you can view Iquique from Alto Hospicio, an interesting phenomena.

We proceeded on from here to our destination of Humberstone Township, an old Salt Petre Mining town, completely deserted and crumbling into the dusts of time and mysteries of the Atacama Desert, this fascinating story is to be the subject of my next post, however I take the time to describe through my eyes, the road to Humberstone Mining Town. A modern road with numerous vehicle travelling in both directions, some to the coastal port of Iquique and some venturing into the Atacama Desert interior. The road on either side soon took on the appearance of a Desert as we know it dry, vast and a dusty landscape fading into the horizon. This was the scene as we continued onto the old Township of Humberstone. I did not get bored with the scenery, always expecting something else and hoping to see and learn something new, thus ends this post. I have posted some pictures to amplify the imagery of my words above.

Cheers and Kind regards.




Posted by on November 16, 2017 in Uncategorized


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Sasha Pintor– Iquique Street Artist Extraordinaire

I introduce you to a most remarkable Man by the name of Sasha Pintor. Sasha is one of Chile’s most renowned street artists, whose studio is The Plaza Arturo Prat in the old historical area of Iquique Chile. I came across Sasha on my first adventure into the Plaza after the day of arriving. One of the greatest joys of the streets of Chile, is that around every corner, is a Miracle of Mans artistry on display, and none more so than in the Iquique. Sasha was just such an example, his pictures were alive with emotion, alive with the Spiritual being of his Soul.

Ana and I were captivated with his passion, we watched as he worked to create a work of art that would grace any wall, Sasha didn’t paint, he created.

To do Sasha full credibility on his talents, I have to describe his artwork being done as seen through my eyes at the time.

Sasha starts his art with a simple thin piece of White plywood, or as some call Chipboard, he proceeds to impregnate a black border around the board, then sprays a brown lacquer over the whole board. His easel is prepared for a work of art, then the Master begins his creation, using a sharp instrument, and with rapid hand movements, Sasha carves away the the Brown lacquer, before your eyes a beautiful scene is created. This Artist creates in a fashion that is opposite to Painters, Painters paint what the scene are in their mind, or the scenes before them, they paint on the space before them, Sasha does the opposite, he extracts his art from the working space before him. His work is unique and has never been duplicated around the world. I am proud to own some originals off his work, his artwork and talents can only increase in value over the years.

In closing my story on Sasha I would like to say, that travelling around the world and enjoying the sights and culture, always take time to give attention to the street artists, in there you will find the true persona of the country.

For those on Facebook I leave you Sasha’s Facebook link



Sasha Pintore Artiste Extrordinaire Iquique

Sasha always displays the Moon in his art out of respect to his Mother, The Moon


Posted by on November 12, 2017 in Uncategorized


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The Celebration of Fiestas Patrias Iquique Chile—Part Two

I have to continue with my story of the Chilean celebrations the 18th and 19th of this year for a number of reasons, the first being that I consider it a shame that these beautiful pictures are hidden away in a file behind my computer, when they must be shared for others to enjoy. The pictures give a wonderful insight into the  country and culture of a land that many will never visit or get to know.

The other reason I want to share this post, is that the pictures depict one of the most moving dance routines and music that I have always loved and I was to see this performance in one magical coincidental moment close up. I had been standing at the back of the crowd enjoying the various dances and musical routines when I noticed a vacant seat in the front row, I was about eight deep behind the crowd, I watched this seat for a while, considering it vacant I edged my way through the crowd and motioned to the Lady sitting beside it as to it be vacant, she indicated that I was free to have the seat. I couldn’t believe my luck, I was seated directly in the front row, and central to the complete performances about three metres in front of me. My luck went into overdrive as the next performers prepared for their song and dance routine, it was my most cherished songs and dance from the culture of the natives of Rapa Nui culture.

A little bit of explanation before I proceed. Rapa Nui is isla de pascua, or Easter Island as we know it, it is classified as a part of Chile but is self governing as an autonomy in it’s own right, much like Catalania with the Spanish Government there. Now as to my luck going into overdrive, the Girls took centre stage and bagan the traditional Rapa Nui dance to the haunting music and song Rapa Nui Mi Amor, Easter Island my Love, absolutely spell binding, every eye around me was holding tears, mine included. I have posted at the bottom of blog a rendition of this beautiful song and dance, I think with my pictures you will enjoy this music and dance as much as I do, a very Native Spiritual song that illustrates their kinship and Spiritual heritage of the land of their Birth.




Posted by on November 11, 2017 in Uncategorized


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The Celebration of Fiestas Patrias Iquique Chile—Part One

The Republic of Chile celebrates its Fiestas Patrias. The two-day festivity begins annually on September 18 to commemorate the proclamation of the First Governing Body of 1810, and the beginning of the Chilean independence process.

It is capped with the “Day of the Glories of the Army” (Día de las Glorias del Ejército) on September 19, which marks the anniversary of the first-ever military parade in the history of Chile. Army Day was formally established in 1915.

These two days are celebrated jointly with parades and street parties which incorporate Chilean traditions such as dancing the Cueca and the Chilean Rodeo, rounded off by a huge military parade on the 19th in the Parque O’Higgins.

I have been fortunate enough to be in Chile for these celebrations twice, the first time in 2009 when I witnessed the four hour parade in the Capital Santiago, the second was a month or so ago in Iquique, both times I have participated and joined in the revelry and gaiety with much enthusiasm, a little too much gaiety at times according to my wife. Sleeping in is not an option for me in Chile, everyday is an adventure and today was no exception. Chile celebrates these two days with mucho gusto, if the celebration dates happen to fall on days before or after a weekend, then the celebrations can last for a week, from the north of Chile to the south there are barbecues, partying, dancing and revelry all over the country. Following a light breakfast I rounded the corner following the sounds of much music and gaiety into the Plaza to be met with a sea of color, children and teenagers in all modes of dress, young children colorfully dressed in national costumes clutching  handkerchiefs as part of the traditional dance, the Cueca. Warriors in traditional attire, beautiful Girls representing the Chilean Island of Rapa Nui, or Easter Island as we know it.

For two hours I was entranced with the display of dancing and musical culture, as one set of performers finished another started, I photographed as much as I could without losing the enjoyment of watching. I share with you these pictures of a memorable moment in my life, a video of the event would not do justice to the occasion, it would be over in a matter of minutes, whereas these pictures hold more color and vibrancy, enjoy my pictures and adventures and thank you for reading.


To be Continued 


To Be Continued



Posted by on November 9, 2017 in Uncategorized


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Architecture of Plaza Arturo Prat Chile

Continuing on with the story of our adventures in Iquique North Chile two months ago, I will give a little background on the history of this beautiful Chilean coastal port. Iquique’s history goes back many centuries, it was in the 1800’s that the township had its beginnings with the mining and export of Salt Petre from the Atacama Desert regions. There are two sides to this city, the modern day metropolis and the old Historical 1800’s area, that is home to the original buildings and architecture of that time, this is the area I wish to share with you, Research will give more details however this is my story as seen through my eyes.

We were fortunate to find accommodation for five days in the area of The Plaza Arturo Prat, the main street of this old historical part of Iquique, a fantastic choice as we were surrounded with the hypnotizing ambience of this ancient city. The Plaza was alive with restaurants, street artists, musicians, and the resonance of the Spanish language, a veritable orchestra of music that completed the portrait of a vibrant and exciting world.

When sightseeing as a tourist, I do take as many pictures as possible of street scenes and all its inhabitants and gaiety. For people or scenes with groups I obtain permission. Certain scenes which may be frowned upon like certain Government buildings I steer clear of, also anything that depicts the country in a bad light such as beggars or civil unrest are also avoided.

Having done the Tourist pictures, I then move on to another area of capturing the overall experience of my surroundings, and that being the Architecture of the buildings I pass by. I believe that an appreciation of the various Architectures of the buildings will give you a lot more history than any research can exhibit, the visual effect is like a painting from a bygone era coming to life. I submit for your enjoyment these intriguing pictures of the old historical area of Iquique, in particular The Plaza Arturo Prat.

In these pictures you will see a variety of Doors, Window frames, Balconies, Balustrades and the frontage of old buildings, also old rusted Electricity meters beside doors, that ironically still in operation today, even the numbers of the individual buildings have been artistically crafted. For well over a hundred years these buildings have stood the tests of time, experiencing a number of earthquakes which render some of the buildings uninhabitable. All these buildings once upon a time were brightly colored as is most of the buildings in Chile, vibrant colors ranging through Pink, Green, Yellow and every other color of the Rainbow, these structures have an added attraction due to the ravages of time.  The years have now eroded the paintwork, exposing beneath the beautiful grain of the timber beneath, also bringing to life the craftsmanship in stylistic variants, to my eye they have more of an attraction than in painted form.

In my next post I will be sharing pictures of Children of Iquique celebrating Chilean Commemoration week.




The Municipal Theatre of IquiqueThe Clock Tower is a National Historic Landmark located in Plaza Arturo Prat in Iquique, Chile. It was built in 1878, with the mechanism imported from England.The Croatian Club of IquiqueThe Spanish Club of Iquique


Posted by on November 6, 2017 in Uncategorized


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Iquique Chile—La Perla Del Pacifico

Following the dismal beginning to our expedition to Chile this year, we prepared for our next adventure up to the North of Chile, to the beautiful coastal city called Iquique, pronounced ( Eye Kee Kay ) The flight to Iquique is approximately two hours. The flight hugs the coastline, on one side the vast horizons of the ocean, on the other, the vast horizons of the snow capped Andes, that is until you near Iquique, the snow capped mountains becomes a mountain range of nothing but high desolate rock and sand, this being the gateway to the hinterland of the intriguing world of The Atacama desert, a world I was to come to know in greater detail later on. The touch down at Iquique airport was amazing; the runway hugged the coastline, no more than a thousand metres from the beach, ocean on one side and a huge mountain range of rock on the other side. The drive into the city took about an hour, the scenery never changing, at the last bend in the road the city appeared, a city built on the coast and high rise buildings dotting the horizon. This city is spectacular, a cross between the mid 1800’s and the modern world, our Niece had booked us accommodation for five nights in the old part of the city, which was to my liking, a single room with a shower and toilet, a frugal breakfast provided in the small patio in front. We were actually staying and enjoying the very heart of old Iquique.

The morning gave evidence of a warm day ahead, I, as always, was eager to start walking and exploring the streets and excitement of new discoveries, while waiting for Ana I had a quiet smoke in the street in front of our accommodation, a number of trees overhead were the temporary abode of quite a few Buzzards, I had never seen these birds before, except in old Western movies, they were definitely a predator bird and I had no doubt as to their ability with their beaks.

With Ana in hand we walked to the end of the street, on the way we came across a beautiful little Mapuchee Indian girl with her mother, with the Mothers permission we took her photograph, a delightful start to our day.Rounding the corner the main street of old Iquique opened up before us, completely bare except for the magnificent old buildings on both sides, some housing tourist offices and restaurants waiting to open, on the left was the Iquique museum and more beautiful old 1800’s buildings. Away in the distance could be seen the thriving hub of this ancient part of the city. The street had no access for vehicles, it was purely a pedestrian thoroughfare, the only exception being a set of tram lines running the length of the street, taking note of this in my mind for future reference, I heard the distinct sound of a bell ringing, it was then I noticed the most beautiful tram I had ever seen, slowly coming towards us, this tram was extraordinary, a double decker completely made of wood, I was walking faster than it was moving, a definite tourist attraction from a bygone era.

Moving into the very heart of the street, or to be more exact, the Mall, we were among the thriving part of the Mall, restaurants side by side, tourist shops and gift stores on the other, passing the restaurants we were encouraged to enter and dine, in Chile most restaurants have suitably dressed staff standing out front enticing passer bys with their menus on display. In the middle of the mall was a line of craftsmen and woman, all displaying their arts and crafts, I like to try and buy something from each craftsman, as one sale can be the days wage for some of these people. Well Ana and I dined and wined our way through the mall, bought goods and trinkets, took photographs and met many interesting people, some who will become part of later stories.

Staying five days in the local area, I visited this beautiful mall each day, I didn’t get the rush from the local restaurants or crafts people as the first day, they realized I was a tourist but not a day tripper, they didn’t rush to sell, instead they would wave or smile. In actual fact I went back each day to one of the outside bars and had two of the Chilean drinks called Pisco Sour, in the end I had no need to try and order as they recognized my choice of drinks, two Pisco Sours is enough I must advise, it is very strong, other drinks to be aware of are The Terremoto, meaning earthquake, extremely potent, and another I tried in a Peruvian restaurant is called Pisco Viagra, definitely not for the fainthearted, this drink awakens the dead, even those bodies that have had no life for over half a century.

Please enjoy the pictures of downtown old Iquique as much as I enjoyed taking the pictures and sharing my story.


The Gringo in the middle is not a Singer or Guitar player



Posted by on November 1, 2017 in Uncategorized


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