Hong Kong has a perfect storm of huge concrete walls, secluded back alleys, and social freedom that allows street art to flourish. Wander around the downtown area and you’ll stumble on small stencils and tags on walls and sidewalks. Turn a corner and find yourself facing a mural, creeping up the walls of a building or a flight of stairs. Even the trees join in to decorate the city’s spaces, engulfing them with a complex network of roots and vines. Welcome to the concrete jungle.
We left Arica last night on an overnight bus and though we have our bus routine down by now, we never get a fully restful sleep. When we arrive in Calama at 9 am, we stumble off the bus dazed. We’ve got only six hours before a flight from Calama to Santiago–an unfortunately already-booked holdover from when we originally planned to visit San Pedro de Atacama.
For most people, Calama is a stop along the way to the famed San Pedro de Atacama, so there isn’t much tourism infrastructure here. The town’s primary industry is copper mining and the metal appears everywhere, from embellishments in the sidewalk to souvenirs available in the shops. As a complement to copper’s reds, the sun’s rays here cast an intense orange hue over the desert town.
Here are the photos from our scarce six hours in Calama:
The shoreline of Arica is lined with tetrapods, and not the of the dinosaur kind. These massive concrete beasts line the shore, a manmade garrison defending the city’s coast from erosion. And while they make playing on the beach impossible and may seem unsightly, they’ve also found a second purpose: serving as canvas for street artists, both local and visiting. From original to pop-cultural, here are some of their works.
If you’re in Arica and want to see the street art for yourself, walk the coast south of the port below the city’s iconic cliff.