Thursday, March 26, 2009

String Theory

Turns out finding time to blog while in Chile was a challenge. What a shock, sitting and typing at my computer just couldn’t compete with the tug of adventure. So I took a few quick notes and decided to gather them up on the plane ride home. Welcome, then, to my “Patagonia Playback.” (Okay, it's more than Patagonia, but I liked the alliteration.) I'll be dribbling these posts out over the next week or more, so just pretend I'm still there and giving you the play-by-play.

As our meetings with various environmental and government organizations didn’t begin until Monday, we had Sunday to explore Santiago. The weather was perfect so it was off to the Pre-Columbian Art Musuem just off the central plaza. Inside it was cool and provided a comfortable environment to enjoy the excellent exhibits. Maps and cultural period timelines gave context to the descriptions (Spanish and English) for each display. The museums' website might give you a feel for the quality of presentation. I was surprised to learn just how far back these civilians rose (5,000 BC by some estimates). The detailed craftsmanship of the some of the pieces was remarkable.

My favorite display was that of a Quipu, an artifact of the Incan civilization used to capture accounting, events, and even stories and poetry. Only problem is no one has been able to translate the meaning of the knots into something we can understand. We lack, in other words, the "Rosetta String."