Travel Reference
In-Depth Information
Iknownothingmoreuncomfortable thanarriving inoneofthese villages after alongjour-
ney, covered with dust and sand and dripping with perspiration. There is no chance of having
hut or police station with all the imaginable and unimaginable insects worrying one through-
out the night.
In some of the dungeons I have seen conditions that defy the pen, and when later I was
given the privilege of visiting modern American prisons I could not help remembering the
unfortunate beings who positively rot away in certain South American calabozos . The prison
yard usually made asafe corral formyhorses, andvery often Islept inthe place inorder tobe
near them. Thus I had the opportunity of speaking with many prisoners to pass away the time,
and many are the stories I heard from them.
Prisoners are supposed to receive ten cents per day, but as often as not the comisario keeps
this. For food they depend entirely on their friends or families, and every day one or two con-
victs leave the prison with an armed guard to go begging for food for those who have nobody
to feed them. More than once I have seen the soldiers who loaf around the prison go through
the bucket to see if there was anything special in it, and pick out the morsels that most ap-
pealed to them, sending the rest in to the hungry prisoners.
A law called ley vial was passed, forcing every man to work for one or two weeks per year
without remuneration, chiefly at road building. In spite of the necessity, I could not help con-
sidering this law exceedingly hard on the poor class, especially on Indians, and an offence to
personal freedom.
In some villages there seem to be more Chinese than whites, and the majority are mer-
chants. A Chinese newspaper has quite a large circulation, and often I saw notices stuck up
in the streets written in this Eastern language. The Chinese merchant owes his success to his
thrift, and the native cannot compete with him. He is his own cook, gardener, washerwoman,
bootmaker, etc., and every penny he makes is saved. As far as I could see, the only pleasure
he seems to indulge in is to play Chinese music on old-fashioned gramophones.
Saturdays are called dia del pueblo (day of the people) and beggars are allowed to go from
that on Saturdays regular processions of them worry and molest one.
In many villages water is sold in American petrol tins, and when one sees huts, roofs,
fences, etc., made with them one cannot help but wonder what people would do without these
tin cans. Water is brought from some stream and is carried by burros or in Chinese fashion, a
skeletons, and are so used to being clubbed that they hardly take any notice of the blows they
receive all day long. Quite a number have their ears cut off, and when I enquired the reason
for this I was told that it is done to improve their looks and to prevent ticks from settling in
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