Valpo pt 2

Trip Start Oct 17, 2012
Trip End Mar 27, 2013

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Flag of Chile  , Valparaiso Region,
Saturday, December 29, 2012

Everyone in Chile says that Valparaiso is the place to be for New Year's Eve. It is suppose to have a big fireworks show and thousands of people coming in to party in what seems to be the countries party city. With so many recommendations, and the fact that we both really liked Valparaiso, we decided to bus back from Mendoza after Christmas.
This time though, we opted for the day bus so that we could get some good sleep in a hostel instead of being woken up in the middle of the night to do the border crossing. As a bonus the ride is through the Andes and is a pretty scenic trip. The downside we found was that, about a mile or so out from the border, we ran into a completely haunted double line of cars waiting to get through. Literally people were outside of their cars with folding chairs and picnics just waiting for hours. Being on a bus, we got to pull past most of them and park up front, and then wait. This time the border crossing took FOUR hours!!!! The most inefficient crossing ever! They still don't really check you... There is no monitored line that goes from point A-B so people can just walk right through the border with all of their stuff and never have to get stamped or searched.
Anyway, we get to Valpo three hours late because of this and have to pay $200 pesos (about 50 cents) for 30 minutes of Internet so that we can find our couchsurfing host/ place to stay. Eventually we were able to meet up with Esteban at his candy shop and then walk down that hill and up another to his house where we would be staying. His house is called "La Grande Familia" and is a home for several people from different countries and their friends to stay at. We met six people while we were there and only two of them actually lived there and from what we could tell there were about six normal residents anyway... We spent the night drinking beer and watching YouTube and then crashed early because we were so tired from traveling.
The next day we set out to get some laundry done and find a bus north for 1/1/13. What we found was that everything was closed and there were no buses until 1/4/13 because some buses aren't running at the new year and there is so much extra traffic. Womp womp. So we spent the day wandering around the city, seeing more street art, trying more street empanadas, and street meat. All of the streets were lined with people selling literally the same hats, masks, plastic cups, silly string, and for some reason yellow underwear. Someone in China is making some serious money off of all of this cheap crap, and it seemed to cheapen the city experience for Kendra somewhat...
Then suddenly, we both realized that we don't like crowds, big Times Square-esque parties, or being social, and we decided to take the only bus available out tonight. We said goodbye to Esteban and headed to Iquique on a 24 hour bus that would get us there at 10pm on New Year's Eve...
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