Vina Del Mar / Valparaiso, July 23 2009
Sat 25 Jul 2009 17 °C
Today I saw Chilean sea and for the first time the real sun warmed me up since I am hire – so much that most of the day I spent in a T-Shirt. This morning I caught the bus in Santiago and after an hour and a half I was in Vina Del Mar. The day was beautiful, the sun, the sea, and the beach atmosphere warmed me up quickly. City has around 300,000 inhabitants, it is quite fancy and expensive, for Chilean norms at least. Not by an accident has Chilean President chosen to have a residency here. Vina Del Mar is connected with Valparaiso, a city that interests me more and where I think I will spend more time during the next 3 days.
I spent the day sun-tanning and walking on the beach. The city is not quite by my taste, its quite bland and characterless but I am content that I saw more of Chile. I expect more from Valparaiso.
I got accommodated in a appealing little hotel, got a good deal due to the low season. I have some sort of a view to the ocean and sun in my room to wake me up in the morning. Again the problem is freezing room that only actually bothers me during the night. These people that they live in Caribbean so why would they need heating?
So most interesting thing that happened to me today was the night out. I met my other contact from Toronto here – Rodrigo that lives in Vina Del Mar. We met at 9, and after he suggested we join bunch of his friends / colleagues drinking in a bar nearby. Of course I accepted – these days I am my sociable myself again. Bar was awesome, somehow reminded me of teenage life in Sarajevo during the pre-war era, not much light, people drinking and smoking, nice music, couples kissing passionately. Rodrigo is a journalist, so all 6 of them were from the local publishing house. They were a happy alcohol intoxicated bunch, and tone of their laughs and screams made our table the loudest one in a bar. Of course as a newbie, I was a joke of the day at first. My nick name from my childhood – Gogo – that I planned on using in Chile instead of my English unfriendly real name, they found hilarious. Even though they hardly spoke any English, they very well heard of Go-go dancers. Took them 5 minutes to wear out the topic, when they started pulling my leg that a custom in Chile is that a extranero pays the bill. All that after they all ordered drinks and a bite to eat. Well I wasn’t born yesterday and swallowed all that being a good sport. In order to catch up with their sense of humour, I swallowed a couple of pisco-sours, their sweet, sour, and strong authentic cocktail – and their pride and joy. I relaxed completely after that, and my Spanish started flowing from my sleeve. Karaoke started after that, all local Celine’s and Mariah’s – they love their sobbing tears songs. Later on I started singing in Spanish as well. Anyhow bunch was a happy one and me with them as well, so first social adventure wich Chilenos was a compete success – another good sign. At the end of the night – of course they covered the bill.
Return ticket Santiago – Vina Del Mar (1,5 hours) US$12
Hotel Capric Vina Del Mar (2 beds with a bath and breakfast) US$19
Glass of a excellent white wine in a nice pub/restaurant US$1.50