Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Valpo, Viña, and Videla

After crossing the Andes mountains and avoiding a 200 dollar fine for smuggling a banana into the country I found myself in the house of an old friend Ivan Antivilo Videla. The Videla family graciously invited me into their home where I have been staying for the last week or so. They also made the mistake of saying I could eat whatever I wanted in the kitchen. Actually I am not even sure that they said that, but regardless I have been eating a lot. And sleeping a lot. I did not realize how tired I had been from BA and from travelling Mendoza, during the first couple days in Chile, about half the time was spent in bed.

So, what is Chile like? How is it different from Argentina? Similar? Well, one week by no means makes me an expert but there are certain marked differences. The language, for example, has some distinctions. In leau of boludo they use huevon, and the expression concha de tu madre is also heard a lot. The pronounciations of calle, and playa are also different. People also speak with their hands. Even that is different, although it is more difficult to explain. The people also seem a bit more open, but that may just be the contrast of big city to town. Chile is also more expensive. However, and I am sorry for the betrayal, Argentna, the empanadas are better. Big more flavorful. I even tasted SPICYNESS for the first time in months, a flavor consistently lacking in the Argentine palate.

Viña del Mar is the fourth largest city in Chile with a population similar to Milwaukee. It is about two hours from Santiago de Chile and about 20 minutes from Valparaiso. The long stretches of beach attract many people, but at this time of the year it is not so populated. The water is bone chillingly cold. It could be refreshing if autumn was not already well settled in. It is also known as the Ciudad Jardin or Garden City for the many well tended parks and gardens.

Valparaiso, a short busride from Viña is a busy port city in a bay area. Hills encircle the bay lifting up up and away from sea level. The area of immediately surrounding the port is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. On these large and numerous hills things get colorful. Literally. I have never seen a city as colorful as Valparaiso. Thousands of enormous street art works fill the walls. Houses and apartment walls fill all ends of the rainbow. That combined with miles of narrow stairwells and cobbled streets make it a good place to spend hours walking.

During the week I have quite a bit of time to explore. The Videla family is understandably busy with work and study, so that leaves me to do exactly what I please and when. I will eat lunch at 4 pm, thank you very much! I more hours reading but fewer writing. I found that writing kind of worked against me in a lot of ways, especially in the cramped cell of my room in BA. The pages and pages that I wrote were almost entirely free writing with no filter, or punctuation. I finished over half of my journal in just the final month. I just began a new one as I was leaving Argentina, and this time, when I put pen to paper, there will be a little more calculation involved. Looking back at some of those earlier journals from only a couple weeks ago I sound like a raving madman. Anyways, it is good to be out of that room. It is good to be with Ivan and good to be in Viña. Chile is a great place, and while I dearly miss my friends and family back home, I know I am in a good place physically and mentally.

A change is once again coming. The journey north, to the final destination: Peru. The final goal: WWOOFing. My leisure days of school in BA are long past, as are the intense leisure of Chile. Friday I move from Santiago to Arica, which is still in Chile, but on the border. From there I will make it to Cusco, and from Cusco to the farm. By Monday I should be settled in. It is time to get the hands dirty, and remind myself what hard work is. It is time to clear the head even more, and live without some of the things I percieve as necesities (internet, electricity, hot showers).

I will update as often as I can, so be sure to tune in. Peace and love to all corners of this beautiful world. Thank you so much Videla family, it has been an amazing few weeks.


  1. Drink lots of water in Cuzco...la ciudad esta en una altitud muy alta!

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