Im surpised at how quickly five nights went by in Santiago considering we didn´t do very much...
Joel´s house was in Providencia, a really nice area of the city. The house itself was small but there was so much life in it. 5 guys lived there - there was a bedroom for each of them, a small kitchen, one bathroom, and a small living room that two couches and some chairs around a table where we would eat dinner. Joel, Pau, Mauricio, Alex, and Pepe are the ones that actually live there but there were usually at least one or two other friends over as well. All of them are originally from Spain except for Alex and Mauricio who are Chilean. They were all really nice and welcoming, the lifestyle was very communal - dinner was made for everyone and whenever we asked a question about using something like the computer or shower they would tell us not to ask stupid questions. The most frustrating thing is not being able to communicate as well as I would like to with them, so I´m trying to brush up on as much Spanish as possible before heading back there as I can.
The house was right off the main road which had a huge park that ran along a river. Whenever we went out there was always so much activity and so many people out - going to the subway, walking down the street, biking, couples canoodaling in the park, etc. Wednesday treated us to the nicest weather all week (unfortunately we didn´t know that when we planned to go to the viewpoint on Thursday...), which we enjoyed across the street at the park. Pau set up a slackline which only he could walk across, although michelle put up a valiant effort. It was nice just lying in the grass, and we got some free entertainment when this guy who was clearly tripping on something tried to make friends with us. He was attracted to the slackline and turned out to be pretty good at it, he was able to balance on it even after a running start and shoes still on, michelle was very bitter.
We feasted wednesday night on coho black bean casserole with homemade tortillas courtesy of pau, followed by a bbq, and two batches of cookies (ill give you one guess as to who was the driving force behind that one...). Everything was delicious, the cookies were a little sketchy because all the measurments were approximations but they turned out great despite the fact that we found out half of the ´butter´we used was actually animal fat (sorry maddy). Our food coma prevented us from making it to the club we were planning on going to in time to get in for free so we went somewhere else. Fun night of pisco colas and dancing.
Theme for Thursday was failure. Plan for the day was to go to a museum that had art which had been hidden underground during Pinochets dictatorship, but by the time we finished eating lunch we were past closing time. Plan for the night was to go see a movie, but we got there five minutes late and the security people insisted the box office was closed and wouldn´t let us in. I guess the taxi ride across town was worth it.... We went back to the house and had a movie night there, probably the most bizarre movie night I´ve ever had. We watched about 10 minutes of a wordless movie that was literally just still images before we couldn´t take it anymore and switched to a new one, which turned out to be in French with Spanish subtitles. Not sure which one I preferred... but I guess that´s irrelevant because I passed out pretty quickly.
Friday was somewhat of a nicer day and we managed to get out of the house by 1 which, pathetic as it may seem, was actually an accomplishment. We met up with Aaron and Tyler, two guys who are studying abroad in Santiago that we met through a mutual friend, and headed to a lookout point called Cerro de San Cristobal. It was a pretty decently steep trek, its been 3 days since and the soreness is finally subsiding. We got a mote con huesillo to refresh ourselves - a drink with rehydrated dehydrated peaches and corn/grain. We were skeptical but it turned out to be really good. After taking in the view we made plans to go across town to a restaurant called La Piojera to get a drink called a Terremoto (white wine, fernet, and ice cream) and fries covered in sausage/steak and a fried egg. Both were delicious, and the restaurant was crazy packed. It reminded me of Mzolis in Cape Town, everyone was there to drink eat and have a good time.
We had another long night at a club that was basically an auditorium with a bar in the back. We tried to keep the night going but nothing was really happening so we went back to Aaron and Tylers to play beer pong. Their apartment was pretty high up and had a really nice view of the sunrising of the city. Long night turned into another wasted day that we were going to use to go to Cajon del Maipo. Instead we had dinner at a Peruvian restaurant and drinks later at this place called Mr. Jack. Joel got the biggest burger I have ever seen - ´only´3 patties, but extra cheese avo egg, etc and was devoured it before I would have gotten 5 bites down. Another movie night at the house, this time it was taxi driver, which I also managed to sleep through.
All of Sunday was spent trying to leave Santiago. We left to get lunch, hoping to get Churripans from this street vendor that Tyler and Aaron showed us (sausage with delicious toppings), but it was closed so we settled for Mr. Jacks (clearly we are all about trying new things). Finally managed to resist the temptation of staying at the house and left for Valparaiso around 8pm to get there around 10pm (2 hours felt like it went by in a minute). Took a taxi to a hostel which we are still at now. Its pretty empty, apparently everyone went to Santiago? No complaints though, we have full access to the comp and tv - and lucky us breaking bad was on last night!
We got up today around 10, ate the hostel breakfast, then set off to roam around the city. We came here hoping for beach weather but instead got the opposite. It´s a beautiful city though, there is so much color. Houses are painted really brightly and there is street art everywhere. Its pretty hilly too, there are old elevators around the city that you can take instead of walking up hundreds of stairs. I guess a lot of the museums are closed on mondays (of course..) so we just walked around. The streets are kinda windy and narrow and a lot of them are cobblestone. The city has an old, somewhat abandoned feeling to it but when you get to the plazas its bustling with life. Ate some lunch and decided to head back to the hostel, which is where we are hunkered down for the night. We saw so many hostels when we were out but I didn´t notice that many travellers, but then again it isn´t high season.
I guess I should mention what/where Valpo is. It´s Northwest of Santiago and situated on the coast in a little bay that makes me feel like I´m at home. The view last night when we got here was beautiful, you could see the bay from our hostel (super hilly, everywhere has a nice view of the water/the rest of the city) and all the city lights. This morning felt even more like home as there was a blanket of fog across the bay. We didn´t make it to the beach today, apparently its about a 15 minute walk to get to the beach, the immediate area where ocean meets city is a massive port with a lot of ships and huge cargo boxes.
i´m going to start recording my budget to help me keep track of how much i´m spending.....
bus to valpo from santiago - 3900
hostel - 8000 x night (cheapest we could find)
lunch -2000 (made our own sandos)
dinner - 750 (bought pasta and veggies)
--> total so far for valpo trip is aboutttt 23,000 which is around 40 us dollars... not too shabby i´d say for 2 nights, 2 meals, and the bus ticket
we just looked up the weather and wednesday is going to be the nicest day, so i think we are going to rent bikes and head to Vina Del Mar (a more beachy expensive area) that day, and spend tomorrow exploring more of valpo, check out some museums and apparently a really windy street like the one in SF that is flat rather than down a hill. Going to head back to Santiago Wednesday or Thursday to actually go camping at Cajon del Maipo with some of the guys from the house, should be fun.
Hopefully I will have something more exciting to report next time, I know reading me talk is boring.............. i tried to upload pics but this comp isn´t reading my camera, sorryyyyyyy