It is said that before his arrival in power, Michelle Bachelet, the new President of the Chile, had wished to rename the name of his compatriot Pablo Neruda Santiago airport. It did not. The bureaucracy was not assigned. The airport of the capital is always the name of an obscure called Commander of the Chilean aviation, Arturo Merino Benitez. It is so. In Santiago of the Chile, there is no statue or avenue dedicated to the Chilean poet, Nobel Prize in literature 1971, lost less than two weeks after the coup of September 11, 1973. And yet, of the Atacama desert, in the North, to Valparaiso, the "Valley of paradise," which the historical centre was declared heritage of humanity by Unesco in 2003 up to the extreme south of the archipelago of the Fuego, shadow of the greatest Hispanic poet plane on this vast strip of land along the Andean Cordillera.
The ballet of the trolleys
"If we go all the stairs to Valparaiso, we will have made around the world," said Pablo Neruda for this port that resembles a "injured whale." This is true. He already fleet an impression of end of the world, a premonition of large crossings, a perfume of Easter Island, Patagonia, docks in Valparaiso, third port of Latin America, after Santos to the Brazil and Buenos Aires, Argentina. There is only one hour by car (and 113 kilometres) between Santiago and Valparaiso. But there is a distance indefinable between the capital Chilean, trapped in snowy mountains, and its neighbour, open on the Pacific that it dominates across, the city being in height. "The port is a debate between the sea and the elusive nature of the Cordilleras," said the friend of Garcia Lorca and Picasso in "I confess that I have lived" (1). It lost willingly in its stairways, its hills after names: Coteau-butterfly, Coteau-Polanco, of the corner, and wrens, penitentiary... On the Argentina avenue, where throne Stalinist building of the Parliament, transferred to Valparaiso by Pinochet in 1990, the ballet of the yellow and green trolleys full swing.
For a little, it would almost miss the entrance to Bar InglÃ©s, as it is discreet. This is to give visit cap-horniers before sailors were hollow Panama canal. Of this famous tripot walls yellowed by the smoke from the pipes, where the varnish tables is worn by the palms of card players, generations of sailors left to hunt whales of the Pacific or the conquest of California gold. On a wood table remained posted times of departure and arrival of the ships and Hall is again decorated with sepia photos of the British Royal family. After all, don't call "the English of Latin America" Chileans to their inordinate taste tea and lawn cut the cord In the bathroom of the gentlemen, a subtle game of magnified mirror to adjust shooting if cooked too severe.
The sanctuary of the poet
Later, music lovers will undoubtedly make a stop to the Piedra Feliz, strange cabaret baroque, called by the name of the mythical rock where desperate lovers had custom throw to Las Torpederas, on a nearby beach of Valparaiso. Tango, jazz, salsa... it is all "live" music to the Piedra Feliz, where girls are renowned for their temperament. Need to borrow a "lift" there are about 50 of these black and Red funiculars climb the hills to stroll in the narrow streets of Valparaiso. Preferably at nightfall of the day or in the morning. It is at this time that is best appreciated the Kaleidoscope of colors of the houses where amaranth the dispute to yellow or cobalt in the Carmine... The more one goes up, is poor. "That high on the cliffs, misery flowers in large frenetic broths of tar and cheerfulness." Downstairs, cranes, terminals, the work of the human cover the belt of the coast of a mask painted by the fleeting happiness. "The atmosphere of the streets of Valparaiso has changed since this year 1973 where the House of Neruda, the"Sebastiana", built on the heights of the city was ransacked and the books of the poet thrown into the flames by the Pinochet secret police. Of the "Sebastiana", it enjoys views of the Bay of Valparaiso and his incessant ballet of equipments for the South Pacific, Patagonia or Easter Island. Today, it intersects again some harnessed police patrols, nicknamed "Ninja", who casually control cannabis smokers. But exotic vegetarian restaurants and trendy cafÃ©s now rich in the neighbourhood of Cerro Alegre. As in Venice, it runs in a world of BD where the actual characters resemble stylized figures.
The day of the coup, this 11 September (another!) 1973, where the military coup overthrew the Government of thefriend El Salvador Allende, Pablo Neruda was in his house of Isla Negra, the Black island, 40 kilometres south of Valparaiso. Suffering from cancer, he died two weeks later. It is said that grief to see his country humiliated by the dictatorship would have accelerated his passage of life the thinnest. The area of Isla Negra, built on the wild coast of golden sand and dark rock, was his favourite home, there where his body was transferred in 1992, to the Pacific, a few metres from the beach. It was his sanctuary, where he collected his "toys" throughout his life with "the scientific intent distraction". His haven of peace where he received his friends: the mime Marcel Marceau, the Guatemalan writer Miguel Angel Asturias, Vargas Llosa and his wife, Carlos Fuentes... With them and so many others, one who was consul in Rangoon, Java, or Singapore Chile... liked to take an aperitif on a small modest boat securely stowed on the terrace.
If (difficult) to sow Doris the dragon of governess straight out of a novel by Jane Austen which serves to guide , Isla Negra visit may be an astonishing Chilean poet's personal Museum exploration. "The child who does not is not a child, but the man who does plays not lost forever the child who lived in him and who will miss him much," he confessait to justify its guilty mania. Hundreds of bottles of glass, masks African or Asian, shells, models... but especially huge figures of bow, inherited shipwreck: is found at the home of Isla Negra. At first glance, this somewhat tarabiscotÃ©e stone house, its terraces staircase with its red locomotive in the garden, there is nothing exceptional. Apart from its bird's-eye view of the waves of the Pacific Ocean. But each piece contains a treasure of poetry. There is not that its miniature sailboats, bought in Antwerp or Marseille and strung in their marine bottles. Neruda also loved the angels, the beetles, banjos, the statues of Easter Island... One day, faced the ocean with its long view, he said to his wife: "I have a new Office that happens!" A beautiful ship cargo door polished by the sea which it will be his favorite writing.
The crying of Marie-Celeste
But his favorite creatures, its leading figures, these "effigies of the ocean lost" that it has collected with a masterful flair. "Goddesses demi-nues or capped Republican matrons of the Phrygian cap...". "The smallest is called Marie-CÃ©leste and El Salvador Allende has often tried to extort the. Every year natural effect of condensation and moisture that penetrates the porosity of wood , Pablo Neruda claimed to see its eyes of faience cry precious tears come winter. With Matilde Urrutia, his third and last wife, he had placed the largest in its garden, facing the sea. But he had to withdraw it when he discovered that a few bigotes corner took the great solemn statue for a reincarnation of Gabriela Mistral, the Great Chilean poet, Nobel Prize in literature in 1945.
"In reality, Pablo Neruda (of whose real name was Neftali Ricardo Reyes Basoalto) collected everything, even shoes!" "When he was Ambassador of the Chile in Paris, Pompidou had offered a DS", says one of its made which is still today visit "The EbouriffÃ©e" (the Chascona), his home in Santiago. The more modest it also made bag by the military after the coup of State but the most poignant, with the portrait of Matilde by Fernand LÃ©ger and its amazing collection of objects of the Italian designer Piero Fornasetti, specialist of the Sham and rare objects in black and white. In his library in the Chascona, can embrace gaze of its 48 books of poetry editions published in half a century: since the "twenty love poems and a desperate song", first published in the age of twenty, in 1924, to the "Memorial in the Black island", partly written in Capri, and its superb autobiography, "I confess that I have lived".begun two years before his death. The poet was also a big fan of Simenon which he has devoutly kept the first books. With his cap to the Jacques PrÃ©vert and his pipe with a beak, Pablo Neruda was not an Adonis. But he fancied to women. "It was a pleasant personality and a lot of charm." It was not a heinous and inaccessible type. He was cheerful and communicative. They further literature sometimes produces erotic effect ", explained his friend and biographer, Volodia Teitelboim (2).
It is said that when AndrÃ© Breton landed for the first time in Valparaiso to visit Pablo Neruda, he exclaimed: "Pablo, this is surrealism!", "this is realism from the (Southern), which is different", he replied his Chilean friend.