It's a little... Chile.

Trip Start Apr 05, 2008
Trip End Jul 19, 2008

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Flag of Chile  ,
Sunday, April 13, 2008

I'm not saying it was wrong. I mean, really, they can do what they like. I'm all for that. in fact - good luck to them. But as we stood before the magnificent, luminous statue of the Virgin Mary high on Cerro San Cristobal above the sprawling city of Santiago de Chile, I couldn't help but feel that the manky dogs copulating at her feet detracted somewhat from the atmosphere of the otherwise spectactular view. Indeed, manky dogs possess that ability - nay - talent: to divert one's attention from a wondrous, unique aspect of the world and have you, rather, focus on the fact that you forgot to get a rabies vaccination before leaving home. The presence of manky dogs in Chile is overwhelming. Killing me. Dominating me. In fact, I have undergone a 4 day psychological battle (of the death) to regain my ability to focus on matters other than manky dogs. I am now here on the other side, barely survived...

In the hangover of the manky dog battle of the devil of the death from hell, I have emerged as the most popular person in CHile. I attributre this to two factors:

a) the fact that I am a Chino. Chilenos fucking love it. Whisphers from school children, fascinated by the man from the far east, no doubt with the ability to lay smackdown upon any little, stocky Chilean that got in his way. Oh - the mystique of him...

b) the colo-colo shirt. I now have a colo-colo shirt. Since acquiring it, I have not removed it. In Chile, colo-colo is king. What's colo-colo you ask? Shame on you. Colo-colo is the king of football in Chile. Google it. Do it. And Chileans fucking love them.

And so, just as 2 + 2 = 4, chino + colo-colo shirt = most popular person in all Chile. Hugs in the street from toothless women; old man selling nuts in the stret with a big fat high 5; even the tattooed youth of the Santiago night kindly putting away his knife - this is what comes of being a Chinese colo-colo supporter. I recommend it to everyone...

The exposition to the opening movement of this trip has been sublime. Santiago, in all its polluted splendour, came with very low expectation, largely due to its past crapness. However, in the past few days, much like a big night the morning after, it has slowly revealed itself with humour and embarassment. The energetic, exciting Vega Markets volunteered itself first, propelling its photogenic delights upon us. But then Bellavista came and dominated - the vibrant facades of the artists' qurter, the distinctively cooler kids with cerveza on the sidewalk, the vibe. And then, finally, the wonderful Paula and bearded Jose, acquaintances from Perth, residents of Santiago and archetypal Chilean couple (miniature man + enormous woman) and the CHilean tourish meal of the devil of the death complete with mountain of carne, local booze, photos con cliche sombrero and ridiculous traditional dancing. Santiago, previously described in this silly blog as a hole in the ground, has been amended to a divot in the world. A good,. solid divot nonetheless...

Is there a better way to spend a birthday than in the Valley of Paradise. Perhaps. And I think I discovered it. Ok - think of Valley of Paradise, except better. How better? Well, but lugging a fuckload of groceries up the enormous inclindes of the Calley of Paradise. Clearly. In a moment of weakness, I found myself carrying an old woman's groceries up a 'fuck off' mountain, overlooking the valley of paradise. Perfection. Nothing better than being a packhorse in the Valley of Paradise.

They Valley of Paradise - Valparaiso in spanish - is near paradise itself. A city of 23 spectacular hills overlooking the pacific, Valparaiso layers its weatherboard houses upon each other, upon vibrant murals and street art like a spongecake of colour and brilliance. You wind and spin as Valparaiso guides you into a hypnotic trance, up, down, around until you are released at Chile's main port at the bottom - amazed, confused, fulfilled, having been bombarded by the historic beauty of this city. Is there a better way to spend a birthday than in Valparaiso. Perhaps...

So, to the Top 5. Indeed, it returns. The very same top 5 that the Sydney Morning Herald recently described as 'the most unfortunate exploitation of a countdown since Molly Meldrum's day. A complete and utter waste of internet resources.' A reasonably accurate description I think. Thes past few days in Chile have been exceptionally amusing at times. The canned food antipasto plate; Chilean boys taking photos of my hot girlfriend; everyone presuming that djana speaks spanish and her just smiling; us attempting Chilean traditional dance; me being a cHino. But one source of amusement has reigned supreme. Yes: manky dogs. The think about manky dogs is that they do things that normal domesticated dogs don't do. Brilliant. Here are the top 5 things that manky dogs like to do:

5. Lick themselves and other manky dogs. Not just anywhere. Yep. There...
4. Piss on other manky dogs. As if they weren't sufficiently manky...
3. Picking fights with cars. Ha. Standing face to face - eyes to headlights - the cars slow down attempting not to run over the dogs. The dogs, thinking that they have a fighting chance, are the antagonists, barking wildly at the oncoming car about to run them over. Ha.
2. Catch the metro...
1. Sex. Not just anywhere. In front of the virgin mary. Just to let her know what she's missing out on...

To Mendoza, Argentina. Do it...
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