Valparaiso and Vina Del Mar

Trip Start Sep 09, 2005
Trip End Feb 20, 2006

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Friday, January 20, 2006

Two Nights in Santiago was more than enough to get a good enough opinion of the city and realize we didn´t want to be there. Even the nightlife sucked!

We fled to the coast, to a place called Valparaiso, which is the central port for basically the whole of Chile, supplying Santiago and the surrounds. It is surrounded by 7 ´Cerros´ or Hills, covered in colourful houses, similar to ´La Boca´ in Buenos Aires and Just as dangerous.

There are a number of Finiculars (small railways) that take you to the tops of these hills. Its either that or a hell of a lot of stairs, so for the lazy Chileans, the Finiculars are a good option. There are a few streets that are safe enough to walk in, but stray from the main road and your in trouble.... big trouble. One area is called ´Museo Cielo Abierto´or ´Open Air Museum´ Basically its just the houses, painted extremely bright colours. We wandered around here for an hour or so, getting some great shots, but straying a little too far off the safer streets and running back to safety. In 2 days here, 2 travellers from the hostel robbed, one at knifepoint.

Murray and I decided to walk up one of the hills. Well actually Murray decided to and I complaining about walking all day whinged like a little school girl. Anyway about twenty minutes into our voyage we realized that we were in a pretty dangerous area. When the locals are laughing at you and looking at you in amazement as to why your actually there, its time to get out! We quickly legged it out, but others weren´t so lucky and lost cameras, money and passports.

Valparaiso is the home of Chiles Naval Fleet, where 6 vessels are docked (Soon to be upgraded) and is also the crime epicentre of the world! We took a 1000 Chilean peso boat tour in basically a small circle outside the docks. It sucked pretty bad and the highlight of the tour was pulling faces in the group photo at the start. The photo cost 3 times the amount to bye than the tour, so we passed.

Valparaiso was visited many times by the notorious Pirate Sir Frances Drake, who was the first Englishman to circumnavigate the world. Back in the day Valraraiso was a popular port and hangout for Pirates and Sea scum, most of whom still live in the hills and valleys here. Valparaiso was also visited by Russel Crow in the movie ´Master and Commander´ they come here to repair their ship.

Saturday night has been designated as party and drinking night in an effort not repeat the Mendoza binge. So we hit a gothic pub and head banged for a while before going to a club called ´Huevo´or EGG (named in my honor, I think). Murray got amongst the salsa lessons again whilst I had a couple of checky JD and Redbulls (6000 pesos later). The Egg closed way too early at 5am just as we were bringing out the big moves on the dance floor. After a quick wrestle in the main plaza (sounds gay but, its not!), I saw some police pull up and we took off to the hostel ending the night.

We headed off today to Vina Del Mar, the next town and mega beach resort. The day was pretty overcast however I still managed to get very nicely burnt on the face and once again have Panda Eyes. We walked a fairly decent amount to the next beach as well called La Renaca. A camera crew strolled up to us whilst we were sitting on a bench and procceded to publicly humiliate us infront of the locals. Two fairly hot girls put bibs and baby hats on us and started rubbing in some baby sun screen into us - not too bad. Then we were fed, had a nap and then danced ring-a-ring-a-rose, before our 15 minutes of fame had expired and we were left to wonder what the hell had just happened.

Anyway tomorrow we are heading south to Pucon, so hopefully its nice down there.

Ps: All the actual useful information has been kindy provided by Murray, who I stole from his site. Cheers!!
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