. He told us five days. It didn’t even have a name yet. We did get our own room with a large bed, brand new sheets (the felt blanket had a big horse on it and the sheets, fresh from the Indian sweat shop, were purple with cursive "love" written all over them), 15 foot ceilings, and a satellite TV that anyone who knows us already knows we didn’t use. Anyway this dude that we were initially totally sketched out about turned out to be a really nice guy. Maybe we were sketched out by him because we sensed that he was also sketched out by us, being new to the job he was inevitably worried about bringing “just anyone from a bus station” home to his apartment. But time eventually allowed us to both let our guards down (and Jayson actually fixing the Internet connection certainly helped the bonding factor), and it became a really cool relationship. In the morning Jose Miguel took us for a tour of Valparaiso, stopping at the first Wall Street in South America, a behind the scenes tour of the first microbrewery in Valparaiso, and a tasting session at the best (open to opinion) restaurant in town. He pointed out all the famous buildings and landmarks on our way. After rounds of handshakes and hugs, we also determined that he knew nearly everyone in town. We left each other in the center of town; he went to his day job and we went to explore the charming hills and art of Valparaiso. Even on that foggy day we were entranced by the art on every building, every street corner, and even the trash receptacles. Some of the works were downright incredible and had to have taken many hours, if not days, to complete. The city even has a museum devoted to street art.
After a full day of exploring we met back at the hostel as we had agreed to go out that night. Jose Miguel took us for an evening tour of Vina del Mar and then back to Valpo to a… wait for it… karaoke bar
! Sooooo many ridiculously romantic, stab yourself sick, Latin love songs mixed with cry yourself silly renditions of familiar good ole songs from the USA. For example, Shock to the Heart (“Joo give love a bad name”). After a number of Escudos we finally gained the courage to do our own rendition of Bohemian Rhapsody. Wow, it was terrible. Of course nobody seemed to mind, especially because we sang it with such “authentic” American accents, but we were probably the least professional-like singers in the bar. There was some real talent there! Jose Miguel sang some mean Elvis. On the stumble home it was fun to give him tips that we’d picked up on from other hostels, and we can really see the potential for his place to become a super hopping spot (it just needs a whole lot more furniture, and a few other things, but it seems like their hearts are in the right places).
The next day got off to a slower start. After going to bed at 4am we decided we needed to walk it off. We successfully fixed Jayson’s already-broken US$6 watch for another US$0.94 (we plan on keeping a tally on how expensive this watch becomes) and then had a series of unsuccessful stops at clothing stores looking for jeans (yes, Connie Hughes, you win. Sara did not want to live without jeans for 4 months, although as it turns out she might have no choice). Several hours into the already-cloudy day, it became clear that the weather and our hangovers were not cooperating. We found a perfect solution: Comó Entrenar tú Dragón! En Español! (Sin 3-D.) We were learning and escaping the rain at the same time. Learning, from a children’s animation, that is. When the film let out we were so proud of ourselves. We had understood 99% of a kid’s movie (all except the once scene where the father and son have some kind of awkward heart-to-heart).
Valpo is a gross city, I don't why anyone would want to go to school near here. Just kidding, Samantha Brown Olivieri, we loved it! The climate seems to be about like San Diego, so it was pretty unfortunate that we were here on the two rainy days of the year. Yet we still found the charm of the city, and a lot of this had to do with the hostel owner we encountered at the bus station. His Texas accent definitely threw us for a loop, but full of skepticism we negotiated a lower rate on the premise that Jayson might be able to fix his internet connection. When we got to his apartment we were greeted by the smell of fresh, very green paint and a very small amount of furniture. This did not help the skepticism factor. We lowered our guard only when we saw two more travelers staying there, an Aussie and a Peruvian (a strange mish-mash of a couple that had been together since he found her while he was surfing on a beach in her country). We filled out the guest registry and saw that we were guests 6 and 7. We thought it might have been a new book, and we chuckled as we asked him how long the hostel had been open