Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Dead Cow in Chacala

This is the lot next to Chata and Isreal's and across the street from Casa Tortuga.
The lot overlooks the ocean on two sides,
and has been for sale for at least three and a half years.

People who visit Chacala often notice a beautiful tall white-barked tree located right where the paved road turns toward the Chacalilla gate. People like to take photos of that tree and another tree in the same area, one with smooth red bark. It looks like a madrone.
but who am I to say, not knowing much about the trees in Chacala.

Anyway, the white barked tree is located right next to a cattle holding pen which has a water trough in it. The trough is filled by a truck occasionally. The white tree often has 80, 90, a hundred, or even more vultures sitting high on it's branches. I always though they hung around there because of the water trough.

But today, when I was walking home from the Kindergarten graduation, I noticed there were even more birds up there than usual, and they flying around very actively. I was thinking they were probably thirsty because of the current drought-like conditions. And hoping they weren't plotting to have me for dinner.

But as I got closer I saw there was a dead cow lying next to the water trough. Legs sticking straight out, bloated, but not smelling. The vultures were taking turns dancing and hopping around on the cow's swollen belly, but it looked like they hadn't actually pecked into the body yet.

I was standing there, looking things over, when a pickup drove up. The driver said "Buenas tardes" to me, and pulled over and parked. Then he saw the dead body, and got really upset for a minute. Then he said something about dinner, "comida", and pulled out his cell phone and called someone.

I walked on home, but kept an eye on the cattle pen. In a few minutes two other trucks pulled up with some other men in them. With machetes, of course. Who would go anywhere without a machete. After awhile I wondered if they were hacking up the cow. Couldn't see what they were doing. And then they left. I don't know if they were really butchering it. And if they were, was the meat for human consumption ?

The vultures were very active and kept flying down to the ground after the trucks left. I am not inclined to walk over there and take a closer look. Maybe tomorrow.

Another time in Chacala were I have no idea what was going on, but I feel free to make up stories to fill in any gaps in actual fact. Like maybe someone is barbequeing a cow's worth of beef tonight. Or maybe the body is still lying there and the men were just checking it out.

Wish I had a photo of a dead cow, maybe tomorrow.

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