Palmerston Island

Palmerston Island


PALMERSTON is an island paradise that will adopt you.  On this fascinating South Pacific island, all 62 residents are related, everyone shares the same surname ——– MARSTERS ——- and can trace their lineage to one British man ——— WILLIAM MARSTERS.

Located between the better-known South Pacific sailing ports of Bora Bora and Niue, Palmerston is the only Cook Island that the prolific explored actually set foot upon, although the clump of fifteen islands are named for him.  Cook dubbed the then-uninhabited atoll PALMERSTON.

Today, it is a postcard -perfect paradise with no bank, store or road.  Islanders have to travel 800km south to the largest island, RAROTONGA,  to find these modern day conveniences.  The island has the largest number of freezers per capita in the southern hemisphere.

Marsters landed on Palmerston in 1883 to set up a COPRA (dried coconut) trade with other Polynesian Islands.  He brought two Polynesian wives from neighbouring PENRHYN, and later married a third lady from the same island, producing an impressive 23 children and 134 grandchildren.  Before he died in 1899, Marsters divided the 2 sq.km atoll into thirds to give each of the three wives and their descendants a share.  The residents still govern themselves based on these hypothetical lines, and cluster their families on their respective chunk of the atoll.  Marriage within a family branch is prohibited.


Palmerston Island beach


White sand  frames the island.  Wind, rain and waves have slowly eroded the atoll, leaving most of it just barely submerged.  The highest point on the entire island is only 6ft high ———- a man-made mound called REFUGE HILL, where the residents cluster during summer cyclones.  Boats are still the only mode of transport to and fro.  A cargo ship from RANGIROA, the largest city in the Cook islands, stops by just three times a year to drop off supplies, loading back up with crates full of flash-frozen parrotfish, Palmerston’s only export.

Palmerston’s residents sometimes hop aboard the cargo ship, squeezing in alongside the freezers, to visit neighbouring islands to catch a flight to New Zealand.  The only other option for leaving the island is to hitchhike on a passing sailboat.  But the window for thumbing a ride is narrow : Yachts only travel through this part of the South Pacific from May through September to avoid cyclones and maximize the trade winds.


Palmerston Island people


Palmerston Island has a tradition of welcoming cruising yachts . When you arrive, you are met by a member of your host family, who will show you where to anchor and give you a lift to the island.  They say they want to think you are part of the family, but it feels more like you are an honoured guest.

There are some shared facilities on Main Street that are for the community.  Then, there is the famous driftwood Church that was damaged in the last hurricane, and it has been replaced with an attractive modern Church.  Marsters’ driftwood house is still behind the church, and gives a feel of the early structures which were built from the timbers of early shipwrecks.  The water catchment is an open community area with two large tanks that collect rainwater from the roof  for the community during droughts.  Most homes have their own water catchments, but after several months they run dry and the community system is used.


Palmerston Island homes


Palmerston is surprisingly civilized for such a remote island.  All homes have electricity from 6 to 12 in the morning and evening, provided by a community generator supplied by the government.  The island pays maintenance and fuel through a charge based on electric meters on each house.  Many houses have TVs and VCRs and movies are a big hit with the locals.  Almost every house has a freezer, though few have refrigerators and some have automatic washing machines.

The freezers are important, because the cash crop of Palmerston  Island is the parrotfish, which is plentiful and safe to eat.  They sell the frozen parrotfish fillets to Rarotonga for $14 NZ a kilo, which is a little over $3US.  It is a lucrative catch, but they have a big problem getting the supply ships to call regularly, thus they have a hard time getting their product to market.

It is a good idea to bring things for the people on the island  ———- clothes, staple foods like rice and flour, VHS movies and educational tapes and toys for the children.  Do not bring alcohol, firearms or ammunition, bud DO BRING fishing tackle and line.

Palmerston is one of the most beautiful and unspoiled places on earth.

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History’s mysteries

Here are listed some of the interesting ones :
Tutankhamun tomb(1) Archaeologist Nicholas Reeves of the University of Arizona said this week that the Egyptian PHAROAH TUTANKHAMUN’S  tomb in the Valley of the Kings may be part of a larger complex that also houses a secret tomb containing the remains of his mother, QUEEN NAFERTITI, and her riches.  He made this announcement after studying high-resolution scans of the walls of the burial chamber, which revealed cracks suggesting the presence of two passages that were blocked and plastered to conceal their existence.
(2) SECRET CITY OF PATITI :  The story of EL DORADO, a city full of gold hidden in the South American rainforests, is one of the world’s most enduring legends.  It refers to the lost Incan city of PATITI, which emerged after a 40-year-war between the Spanish and the Incas of Peru.  The war ended in the 1570s.  The Spanish won, but when they entered the city, the Incans had disappeared with their vast reserves of gold.  The hunt for the treasure is still on.

QIN SHI HUANG tomb


(3) TREASURE TROVE OF KING JOHN “The Bad” :  A treasure trove of King John “The Bad” ———– who is said to have amassed a fortune in jewellery and gold through theft —– is rumoured to have been mislaid in 1216.  While travelling to Norfolk in UK, his soldiers got trapped in marshes and mud flats and died.  The King’s riches also disappeared.

(4) DECIPHERING COPPER SCROLL :  The Copper Scroll is a first century AD treasure inventory found in the caves of Qumran, Israel, in 1952.  Among 64 stashes are 65 bars of gold on the 3rd terrace in the cave of the old Washers House…… 70 talents of silver in wooden vessels in the cistern of a burial chamber in Matia’s courtyard.  The search continues.

oak island money pit(5) THE TOMB OF EMPEROR QIN SHI HUANG :  Emperor Huang (260-210 BC) was entombed in a vast underground city in China, surrounded by thousands of life-sized terracotta warriors that were discovered in 1974.  But, more than 40 years later, only a fraction of the site has been excavated.  Local legends say the tomb is surrounded by poisonous rivers of mercury.  Huge quantities of treasure —– and the Emperor’s body —– may be waiting to be discovered.

(6) OAK ISLAND MONEY PIT :  This 140-acre island in Nova Scotia, Canada, is among the most excavated sites in the world.  The legend dates back to 1795 when 16-year-old Daniel McGinnis noticed a circular mark on the island, as if a pit had been dug and filled in again.  Excited, he got digging, going down to 9.1metre.  But, he didn’t unearth any treasure.  Since than, excavations have reached 72metres ——- with US President Franklin D Roosevelt among many to dig there.
———NEWSICLE

Serbia’s dry bridge

Serbia dry bridge 1


Serbia’s Dry Bridge is a Bridge without a river.  The BEGA River runs for about 250km from the POIANA RUSCA Mountains in Romania and into Serbia, where it flows into the TISA River near TITEL.

In the city of ZRENJANIN, the river branches out into a secondary stream that strays away from the main watercourse, makes a short loop and then re-joins the BEGA, a little more than 200 metres downstream.  While doing so, the wandering watercourse forms a “moat-like” ring around a small section of the city called MALA AMERIKA (or Little America).
In 1962, the city built a suspension foot-bridge over this “moat”  to connect residents of the otherwise isolated section of the city with the rest of ZRENJANIN.  The bridge served its purpose well, until 1985, when the City Administrator came up with a better idea.  They filled several sections of the “loop” with earth, including directly underneath the bridge, thus rendering the bridge “obsolete”.

Serbia dry bridge


Today, the DRY BRIDGE stands on dry land between two lakes, the former bed of the secondary BEGA River, created when the river was filled.  Although still standing, the Bridge appears to be in a state of neglect.  The handrails have developed rust and every available surface is filled with graffiti.  City authorities wanted to demolish it, since it does not have any purpose, but many residents objected, claiming that the Bridge has become an “iconic symbol” of ZRENJANIN.

Besides, DRY BRIDGE is the only bridge in the world which does not bypass a physical obstacle, other than the smaller and older TRINITY BRIDGE in England.

Chained library

chained libraryA CHAINED LBRARY is a library where the books are attached to their bookcase by a chain, which is sufficiently long to allow the books to be taken from their shelves and read, but not removed from the library itself.
This would prevent theft of the library’s materials.  The practice was usual for REFERENCE LIBRARIES (that is the vast majority of libraries) from the Middle Ages to approximately the 18th century.  However, since the chaining process was also expensive, it was not used on all books.  Only the more valuable books in a collection were chained.  This included reference books and large books.
It is standard for “chained libraries” to have the chain fitted to the “corner” or “cover” of a book  This is because if the chain were to be placed o the “spine”, the book would suffer greater wear from the stress of moving it on or off the shelf.  Because of the location of the chain attached to the book (via a ringlet), the books are housed with their “spine” facing away from thereader with only the pages’ “fore-edges” visible. (that is, the “wrong” way round to people accustomed to contemporary libraries).  This is so that each book can be removed and opened without needing to be turned around, hence avoiding tangling its chain.  To remove the book from the chain, the librarian would use a key.
The earliest example in England of a library endowed for use outside an institution such as a school or college was the FRANCIS TRIGGE CHAINED LIBRARY in Grantham, Lincolnshire, established in 1598.  The library still exists and can justifiably claim to be the forerunner of later Public Library Systems.  
MARSH’S Library in Dublin, built in 1701, is another non-institutional library which is still housed in its original building.  Here, it was not the books that were chai, but rather, the readers were locked into cages to prevent rare volumes from “wandering”.  There is also an example of a Chained Library in the ROYAL GRAMMAR SCHOOL, Guildford, as well as at HEREFORD CATHEDRAL.  While chaining books was a popular practice throughout Europe, it was not used in all libraries.  The practice of chaining library books became less popular as printing increased and books became less expensive.
Chained libraryRecently , there has been increased interest in re-constructing “chained libraries”.  Worldwide, only 5 Chained Libraries have survived with their original furniture, chains and books.  This includes the library built in the Church of St. WALPURGA located in the small town of ZUTPHEN in the Netherlands.  This library was built in 1564.  The library is now a part of a museum that allows visitors to tour and view the library’s original books, furniture and chains.
Another Chained Library is the MALATESTIANA library in CESENA near Bologna in Italy, dating back to the Italian Renaissance. A lot of work has gone into  rebuilding and preserving these great libraries.  For example, many workers, over a decade and massive monetary donations  were spent to restore the MAPPA MUNDI and Chained Library museum located in Hereford, England.  Built over  900yrs ago, the library fell into disrepair and faced destruction.  The oldest chained book found in the library is the HEREFORD GOSPELS, written in the 8th century, it is one of 229 chained books located in this great library.  The Hereford Library is the largest surviving chained libraries with its chains and books intact.  The library is now open to the public as an attraction and museum.
The Chained Library in WIMBORNE MINSTER is the 2nd largest Chained Library in the UK.  The first donation came Chained librariesfrom Reverend William Stone.  These were theological books, used mainly by the clergy, and therefore were not chained.  When another local donor, Roger Gillingham, gave another 90 books in 1695, he insisted that the books be chained up, and that the Library should be opened, free, for the people of the town, provided they were “shop-keepers or the better class of people”.  There is also a Chained Library still surviving at WELLS CATHEDRAL in England.
Why were these books chained ?  During the Middle Ages and the early years of the Renaissance, books were generally kept in “book chests” known as ARMARIA or ALMERIES.  The chests were kept in a room that was usually locked and would likely have included other valuables belonging to the institution.  This room would not have been considered a library, as we understand the concept today, as it contained books, but did not allow free access to them and certainly wouldn’t have included space for reading the books.
On the contrary, most books would have been found, at any given time, in the hands of various scholars.  Loan systems were in place that allowed scholars to borrow books from the institution for a certain amount of time, often a single school year.  At the end of the year, the books would have to be returned, at which time they would be inspected both for signs of actual use to prove that the scholar hadn’t been  wasting the institution’s valuable resources and for the amount of care that was taken in their preservation.
In addition, there was often a “pledge system” in place that required the scholars to offer goods of equal value as a “guarantee” towards the safe return of the books.  While this may have seemed like an altogether satisfying arrangement, it was generally “ineffective” for 3 reasons.  First of all, books were extremely valuable, so the “pledges” for their safekeeping might have been prohibitively expensive.
Secondly, then as now, the books were susceptible to damage and loss.  Samuel Johnson, for example, was a “librarian’s nightmare”.  He borrowed books and used them as if they were his own —– writing notes in the margins and rarely returning them.  Finally, if a scholar was interested in looking at a book, he might have to wait at least a year to gain access to it.  In fact, if a student was not in favour with right people, he might not be able to gain access to certain books at all.

The dark side of nursery rhymes

Right at this moment, mothers of small children, around the world, are singing along to seemingly innocuous nursery rhymes that, if you dig a little deeper, reveal shockingly sinister backstories.
Medieval taxes, illness, religious persecution : these are not exactly the topics that you expect to be immersed in as a “new parent.”  Babies falling from trees ?  Heads being chopped off in Central London ?  Animals being cooked alive ?  Since when were these topics DEEMED APPROPRIATE TO PEDDLE TO TODDLERS ? — Since the 14th century, actually.  That’s when the earliest nursery rhymes seem to date from, although the GOLDEN AGE came later, in the 18th century, when the cannon of classics that we still hear today, emerged and flourished.  The 1st nursery rhyme collection to be printed was Tommy Thumb’s Song Book —- around 1744 ; a century later Edward Rimbault published a nursery rhymes collection, which was the 1st one printed to include “notated music” —— although a minor-key version of THREE BLIND MICE can be found in Thomas Ravenscroft’s folk-song compilation DEUTEROMELIA, dating from 1609.

the dark side of nursery rhymes


The roots probably go back even further.  There is no human culture that has not invented some form of “rhyming ditties” for its children.  The distinctive sing-song metre, tonality and rhythm that characterises “MOTHERESE” has a proven evolutionary value and is reflected in the very nature of nursery rhymes.  According to child development experts Sue Palmer & Ros Bayley, nursery rhymes with music significantly aid a child’s “mental development” and “spatial reasoning”.  Seth Lerer, Dean of Arts and Humanities at the University California, San Diego, has also emphasised the ability of nursery rhymes to foster “emotional connection” & “cultivate language”.  “It is a way of completing the world through rhyme,” he said in an interview on the website of NBC’s Today Show .  “When we sing [them], we’re participating in something that bonds parent and child.”
So, when modern parents expose their children to “vintage” nursery rhymes, they’re engaging with a centuries-old tradition that, on the surface at least, is not only harmless, but potentially beneficial.  But, what about those “twisted lyrics” & “dark backstories” ?  To unpick the meanings behind the rhymes is to be thrust into a world not of sweet princesses and cute animals, but of messy clerical, political, religious violence, sex, illness, murder, spies, traitors and the supernatural.
Take a look at some of the nursery rhymes :
(1) BAA, BAA BLACK SHEEP : is about medieval “wool tax”, imposed in the 13th century by King Edward–1.  Under the new rule, one-third of the cost of a sack of wool went to him, another went to the Church and the last to the farmer (in the original version, nothing was therefore left for the little shepherd boy who lives down the lane).  Black sheep were also considered “bad luck”, because their fleeces, unable to be dyed, were less lucrative for the farmer.
(2) RING a RING o ROSES or RING AROUND THE ROSIE : may be about the 1665 Great Plague of London : the “rosie” being the rash that developed on the skin of plague sufferers, the stench of which then needed concealing with a “pocket full of posies”.

Nursery rhymes

(3)   ROCK-A-BYE-BABY: refers to events preceding the Glorious Revolution, The baby, in question, is supposed to be the son of King James –2 of England, but was another man’s child smuggled into the birthing-room to ensure a Roman Catholic heir.  The rhyme is laced with “connotation” : the “wind” may be the Protestant forces blowing in from the Netherlands; the doomed “cradle” the Royal House of Stuart.  The earliest recorded version of the words, in print, contained the ominous footnote : This may serve as a warning to the Proud & Ambitious, who climb so high that they generally fall at last”.
(4) MARY, MARY QUITE CONTRARY : may be about Bloody Mary, daughter of King Henry —VIII and concerns the torture and murder of Protestants.  Queen Mary was a staunch Catholic and her “garden” here is an allusion to the graveyards which were filled with Protestant martyrs.  The “silver bells” were “thumbscrews” while “cockleshells” were “instruments of torture”.
(5) GOOSEY, GOOSEY GANDER : is another tale of religious persecution, but from the other side : it reflects a time when Catholic Priests would have to say their forbidden Latin-based prayers in secret —- even in the privacy of their own homes.
(6) HERE WE GO ROUND THE MULBERRY BUSH : originate at Wakefield Prison in England, where female inmates had to exercise around a mulberry tree in the prison yard.
(7) ORANGES & LEMONS : follows a condemned man en route to his execution —– “Here comes a chopper / To chop off your head” ——- past a slew of famous London Churches —- St. Clemens, St. Martins, Old Bailey, Bow, Stepney and Shoreditch.
(8) POP GOES THE WEASEL : is an apparently nonsensical rhyme that, upon subsequent inspection, reveals itself to in fact be about poverty, pawn-broking, the minimum wage and hitting the Eagle Tavern on London’s City Road.
In our own sanitised times, the idea of presenting these gritty themes, specifically to an infant audience seems bizarre.  It outraged Victorians, too, who founded the British Society for Nursery Rhyme Reform, and took great pains to clean up the cannon.  As late as 1941, the Society was condemning 100 of the most common nursery rhymes including HUMPTY DUMPTY and THREE BLIND MICE for “harbouring unsavoury elements”.  The long list of sins included —– 21 cases of death (notably choking, decapitation, hanging, drowning, shrivelling and squeezing), 12 cases of torment to animals and 1 case each of consuming human flesh, body-snatching and the desire to have one’s limb severed”.
A lot of children’s literature has a very dark origin.  Nursery rhymes are part of long-standing traditions of parody and a popular political resistance to high culture and royalty.  Indeed, at a time when to caricature royalty and politicians was punishable by death, nursery rhymes proved a potent way to smuggle in “coded or thinly-veiled messages” in the guise of children’s entertainment.  In largely illiterate societies, the catchy sing-song melodies helped people remember the stories and, crucially, pass them on to the next generation.  Whatever else they may be, nursery rhymes are a “triumph of the power of oral history”.  Some of the shorter rhymes, particularly those with nonsense or repetitive words attract small children even without the tunes.  They like the sound and rhythm of the words, of course the tune enhances that attraction.  The result can be more than the sum of the parts.
Clemency Burton-Hill (BBC)

Lasqueti Island

LASQUETI Island

LASQUETI is a secret Canadian island where the vast majority of residents are “completely off-grid.”  The island was named in 1791 by Spanish Naval Officer — Jose Maria Narvaez, commander of the SANTA SATURNINA.  The land area is about 73.57sq.kms.  It is a small island between Vancouver and Vancouver Island, 12 miles long and 3 miles wide.  It is home to a little-known community of “off-gridders”, who take pride in their “isolation” from both “mainstream culture” and “mainland Canada.”
Lasqueti Island is neither “tourist-friendly” nor “tourist-hostile”.  The island community is an enclave of Canadian “counter-culture”.  Its roads are mostly unpaved.  Solar, wind, micro-hydro and fossil-fuelled generators power the island.  With very little industry and economy, most of the residents live simply, taking what they need from the land, and having next-to-no carbon footprint (and little need for money).  The 2011 census recorded 426 people living in Lasqueti (although a more up-to-date website states there are 350 “permanent residents”) including 70 children.  According to the community blog, Lasqueti is “an island of individuals, with poets, artists, physicists, fishermen, loggers, tree planters, designers, professional musicians, published authors, some small scale manufacturers, some commercial agricultural as well as professional consultants in education, engineering, forestry and alternate energy.”

LASQUETI island sunset


While some residents use solar panels, wood-burning stoves, wind turbines and water mills, others choose to lie “without electricity”, period.  For the average person, that might not sound like fun.  But few can argue that the depletion of fossil fuels (and other aspects of modern living) are clearly unsustainable.  Lasqueti’s residents share the opinion that “living in harmony with Nature” is not only ethical, it is “how we were supposed to live.”
Personally, I have been fascinated with Lasqueti since 2010, when I was lucky enough to host one of its residents while he was travelling and “couch-surfing” in Spain.  Robert was living on Lasqueti in an “old converted school bus” (which he ran on vegetable oil), and he was one of the most interesting and intelligent people I’ve ever had the pleasure to meet.  Skilled in building yurts, canoes, wooden boats and other “ecological structures”, he was also a nomadic free spirit who spoke 6 languages and was knowledgeable about pretty much anything and everything you could possibly think of.  According to Lasqueti’s website, Robert was by no means an exception : the island’s population “is the most highly educated community in British Columbia”, according to Statistics Canada.

LASQUETI island studio


In addition to the Island’s one bar and one café, Lasqueti also has a “free store”, where people can leave or collect items without any monetary exchange.  Just one hour by boat from Vancouver Island, Lasqueti doesn’t have a tourist industry, booming economy or any industry to speak of, but those who stay there say that they enjoy the “sense of timelessness, community and freedom that their home provides.”
There is no grocery store, so people tend to keep chickens and grow their own organic produce as well as foraging for wild food in the forest covering the rocky island.  Most people use “composting toilets”, and one resident even wrote a book entitled, “How to SHYTE on Lasqueti”, for those not familiar with the concept of how this works in practice.  There is a hotel and a restaurant in False Bay, where the ferry arrives and departs.  The cookie stand operates on an “honour system” and is always worth checking out.  A local pizza parlour is also open at “odd hours.”  There are at least two B&Bs on the island, but business is seasonal.
Transportation on the island is limited.  Should you desire to visit the island, it is recommended that you be somewhat self-sufficient.  Potable water may be scarce at times in different places on the island.  If you decide to come and whatever you are hoping to find, please keep this in mind : LASQUETI is not some Utopian Paradise, it is not an “intentional community”, and it is probably not whatever you think it is——–it is just a relatively remote island, populated by a small, tight-knit community of independent-minded people, with its own unique culture and identity.  Come with an open mind, a willingness to discover something a little different and without rigid expectations.  Resist the urge to project upon us your vision of what this place “should be.”  It is what it is, and we like it this way ——— WARTS & ALL.  If you can get with that, you too may find a place here.

LASQUETI Island 1


There are a few important things to note :  ** Pack-it-in / Pack-it out ——– no waste services here, please come prepared to take your garbage back with you.  ** There are no public transport or vehicle rentals and no way to bring a car.  Bring a bike, wear sturdy shoes, and / or use your thumb.  ** In summer :  FARMERS’ MARKET very Saturday ; ART’S PICNIC (for children) on Thursdays ; Festivals throughout the summer.  ** There are also opportunities for woofing (helping on farms in exchange for food and accommodation) —— Please support the local economy while you are here on LASQUETI ISLAND.
One should take food along, because the local markets operate at “odd hours”, depending on the season and demand.  There is an informal food co-operative available on the island also.
Lasqueti has a yearly Arts Festival on Canada Day weekend and other activities.  These different festivals and informal activities feature local painters, sculptors, poets, fiction-writers and historians.  Performing Arts, on the Canada Day long weekend, include THE BOLTING BRASSICAS (marching band), the LASQUIRKUS (circus) and other activities.  The island also has a reputation for sailing and sea-kayaking which is considered among some of the finest, but also among the most challenging in lower British Columbia.  Tides and currents may become foreboding without warning ——– the winter weather down the Strait of Georgia has been responsible for various mariners’ death.  There are, currently, no public camping facilities on the island, so visitors must make suitable arrangements for lodging.

LASQUETI


Aquaculture includes clams, geo-ducks, oysters, honey-mussels and prawns.  Agriculture includes seasonal vegetables, nuts and berries.  There are a few farms and their products range from blueberries, apple juice to maple syrup.  There is also a shellfish farm and a shellfish hatchery.  There are two world-class dog breeders on the island, breeding Belgian Malinois and Saint Bernards.
The island is generally divided between drier (native cacti, arbutus and succulent plants) and wetter (red cedar) micro-climates.  Some old growth forest still exists on this island and it gives it a unique flora and fauna coverage.
SPITTY BAY is Lasqueti’s only Provincial Park.  There is also the Lasqueti Island Ecological Reserve.  Camping or campfires are not allowed at any of the parts of Lasqueti Island.  JEDEDIAH ISLAND MARINE PROVINCIAL PARK and SABINE CHANNEL PROVINCIAL PARK are provincial parks that exist on nearby islands.  Camping is allowed at both of these provincial parks.  JEDEDIAH ISLAND provincial park is the site of a “heritage farm” of a former settler.
LASQUETI ISLAND is featured in an investigative news report by Global’s 16×9 called “OFF THE GRID”, which was aired on April 28, 2012.

Villa Epecuen

Villa Epecuen underwater

VILLA EPECUEN was a tourist village that was located in the south of Buenos Aires, Argentina, that spent a quarter of a century underwater.
Established in the 1920s, on the banks of a salt lake, it was home to over 5,000 residents and a holiday destination to 1000s more from the Argentinian Capital.  Now abandoned, its ruins are found on the eastern shore of the Laguna Epecuen, about 7km north of the city of Carhue.

Villa Epecuen


Developed in the early 1920s, VILLA EPECUEN was accessible from Buenos Aires by train.  The FERROCARRIL SARMIENTO line served the ViILLA EPECUEN station, while the Midland railway and the Southern railway carried passengers to nearby Carhue station.  At its height, VILLA EPECUEN had the capacity to accommodate 5,000 visitors and nearly 300 businesses, while unofficial accommodation allowed for 2,000 more.
In 1985, a dam burst and buried the place in 33ft of saline water, rendering it a “modern-day Atlantis”.  Initially, people waited on their rooftops, hoping that the waters would recede.  Nothing happened and within 2 days the place was a “devastated ghost town”.

Villa_Epecuén


In 2009, the waters began to recede and what emerged resembles an “Apocalyptic World.”  Evenly-spaced dead trees still line what used to be streets, rusty bed frames poke out from concrete rubble and sign posts point to nowhere.

calles-villa-epecuen1


Amazingly, only one resident remained in that desolate place.  Pablo Novak was the only person not to leave his hometown when the waters swallowed it up in 1985.  He lives in a stone hut with a fridge and a basic cooker.  I GUESS THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME.