Valparaiso and Away

Trip Start Sep 15, 2007
Trip End Dec 13, 2007

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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Spent the last couple of days relaxing and wandering and enjoying the streets and sights of Valparaiso and Viņa del Mar. I still have the problem of entering stores and cafes, asking for what I want in spanish and then getting an answer that I completely don't understand--not even a word!  Last night at dinner, I tried so hard but finally in frustration said 'whatever'.  One thing though, I refuse to resort to, 'to hable ingles?'.  Actually, itīs surprising how often you encounter people who donīt anyway, and Iīm cool with that.  And just when you start to think you are getting a little bit better... 

Yesterday, during my hour long quest for a post card, I stumbled Plaza Sotomar and came upon some kind of ceremony involving the crew from a Canadian battleship, the HMCS Regina. Our beloved flag was placed at the foot of the monument.  I thought that I must get a pic of myself with this thing and asked one of the many chilean sailors surrounding the thing if he could snap one for me. 'Soy canadiense' I said.  When he took the pic, the rest of the guys had a pretty good laugh.  Didnīt actually see any Canadian sailors.  I did see the ship during my harbour tour.  

The clouds rolled in late yesterday so it must be time to go!  My bus leaves for Calama, near San Pedro de Atacama, at 17:00.  I'm definitely ready to get a move on.  Valparaiso has been the perfect place to chill for a bit before hitting the road for what promises to be a very interesting and hectic few weeks.  Iīve been here for almost a week and itīs relaxed pace, yet very chilean vibe has be ideal for easing into things. 

The hostel was fantastic, a bargain at only $12 a night.  Last nightīs dinner at Cafe Vinoli, pork chop with a chilean salsa, risotto, steamed green beans and a glass of camenere (sp?) all for only $12 was outstanding.  Photos of J (borne and raised in Viņa and Valpo, but sepnt nine years in Manhattan) and Chris (german) are included. 

Anyway, now itīs to prepare for the 22 hour bus trip, which by the way includes two snacks and breakfast and costs only $50. 
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