Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Valparaiso and Vina del Mar

To cap off my vacation week, I went to Valparaiso and Vina del Mar for the day with my roommate (Adolfo), his girlfriend, and another friend.  He rented a car, so we all piled into it at 8:30 AM on Saturday morning, and took off for the beach.  They didn't tell me too much/anything about what we were going to do there, so I packed a bag with stuff like a towel, swimsuit, change of clothes, etc.  I think Adolfo thought it was food, so he was very excited to get it in the car.  However, once it became obvious that there was little else in there besides underpants and some sand-ready shorts, he told me I could put it in the trunk. 

The ride there was actually very pleasent.  It's only about an hour and a half, so we passed the time getting to know each other.  And by getting to know each other, I meant that I fielded questions from the 3 of them for the majority of the time in Spanish.  But it was actually great - they are all from Guatemala, and their dialect is crystal clear.  I was silently kicking myself for not moving to a crisper-dialect country after the car ride.  But then I remembered that any country with crystal-clear Spanish is like that because they are essentially still developing nations, and for what I'd gain in dialect, I'd lose in wi-fi, supermarkets, and indoor plumbing.  And just like that, the Chilean choice came back into a favorable light.

Alright, I know the majority of you are here for the pictures (accompanied by my razor-sharp witty commentary, of course), so I won't keep you in suspense any longer.  To the spoils of my camera!
It's really too bad that my camera can't capture the majesty of the landscape on the drive out there.  The entire terrain outside of the city is incredible.
 The boardwalk of the beach.  We ended up walking along here for a good 3 hours or so.  There were a ton of little shops and touristy activities to participate in/look at.  Also, the guy in the bottom of this picture is my roommate Adolfo.

Here's a shot out to sea from the boardwalk.  Vina del Mar is the entire city along the beach where you see.

I got Adolfo to take a picture of me out on the rocks.  The cloud formations in this picture were really interesting to me.

I quickly made a new feral friend out on those rocks.  I lost him almost as quickly once I stopped petting him, and he realized I wasn't out there because I had found food.

 Can't decide between the raw treats of the orient, and the carbo-loaded delights of the Mediterranean?  Also love vague allusions to the Hard Rock Cafe?  Welcome to heaven.

 Even in other countries, my name doesn't show up on these "custom" name trinkets.  Only here it's even more insulting, because they include names like "Erasmo", "Emiliano", and "Enzo".  How many "Enzo" name bands can they possibly go through?  Once my Spanish is strong enough I'm writing a VERY heated letter of complaint to the parent company of these peddlers.
Cool bottles, but I certainly hope they waited to fill them with soda until after they had been warped.

 After the beach, we visited a "fondo" in the middle of town.  This place had a ton of barbecue spots like this, as well as a little carnival and amusement park.  The carnival games were laughably rigged against the player, but still people continued to throw money away at them.  I got a great deal of enjoyment watching somebody try to win 20,000 on a ring toss that was clearly impossible.  We spent our cash on better affairs, such as "Anticucho" (shish-kabob with a medley of meats - more on this later)

The crew.  From left to right: Fernanda, Adolfo, Lillian, and yours truly.  This was just post-meal, as evidenced by our 8 year old cameraman not giving us a countdown, and thus Fernanda was still mid-bite.

This is the aforementioned Anticucho.  For your consideration: this includes chicken, hot dog, chorizo (like italian sausage, but better), steak tips, onion, green pepper, and a piece of Italian bread.  If I lived closer to here, I'd be 50 lbs heavier and at extreme risk for diverticulitis.

 These pictures aren't tiling for me, but it's a semi-panoramic shot of Vina del mar from the other side of the bay.  We drove over here after the fair, and rode a little trolley up to the top of this hill.  There were a ton of these barge containers as you can see.  I'll put the over/under at 10 for the number of them containing cocaine.
One more shot of the elusive custom name keychains.  Technically there are 2 spots open just in front of "Erika", so it's possible that they actually had my name on here before.  It makes sense, I'm sure if any other Eriks ran into this, they'd snap up the tags out of sheer principle.  If so, well played, other Eriks.
My ride home?  Stay tuned.


  1. you trusted an 8 y/o chilean with your camera? and how does lillian pronounce her name? that's a funny sound