Monday, May 26, 2014

Quick Update

I had a post written up for the transition from Santiago to Lima, but it does not look like there is enough wifi for me to send it from my tablet, sooooo here is a brief update on where I am in life.

The bus from Santiago to Arica was 33 hours approximately, almost all along the Chilean coast. The landscape was quite impressive and it gave me a lot of time to read and speak some spanish. When I got to Arica I tried to arrange a bus to Cusco where I was planning on WWOOFing, but apparently nobody travels from Arica, but rather Tacna which is just across the Chilean border in Peru. So I stayed a night in Arica which is a pretty neat coastal city. Really any place in Chile is cool. I will not go into the details but after arriving in Tacna and a bit of a fiasco I got boarded a bus to Lima which was another 24 hours the next day. The last couple days sleep has been rather limited and I am excited to finally have made it to a destination. I should also mention that the bus from Tacna to Lima was quite a different experience than from Santiago to Arica. It was serously like everyone on the bus were old friends, joking and laughing the whole way. Even crying. We watched 12 years a slave and a lot of people where crying. I also learned how much desert there is between Santiago and Lima. A lot. A buttload. So much desert. Sandy dry desert. And there are little tiny houses that appeared to me just in the center of it. I do not know how those people survive in a tiny one room house in the middle of nowhere. Seriously, nobody could explain it to me.

Right now I am waiting to get picked up to head to a farm. After the fiasco in Tacna I was put under a lot of pressure to come home early, which may happen. So that is where I am at right now. There is a whole lot more I could say, but at the moment I lack the time.

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.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014


So I meant to post this only a couple hours after arriving in Chile, but it has been a couple days:
As I write this I am traveling on a bus from Mendoza to Santiago de Chile. Over 800 bodegas encircle the flat outskirts of the city, stretching miles into the foothills of the Andes mountain range. Some are big, some small. For the most part Argentina feels like quite a flat country, so it is quite exciting to have the horizon filled with jagged and snowy peaks.

My stay in Mendoza was rather brief considering the wide range of possibilities it offers. Most of te activities outside of the city require a car or a tour company, and I am someone that likes to do it myself. The city has some very neat places, such as the Parque San Martín. The park has hundreds of native plants from the Andes plains, an enormous statue commemorating the army San Martín and the unified Argentine/Chilean army he raised here, and a hill from which one can see the expansive mountain range on one side, the city of Mendoza on the other, and the hundreds of vineyards in between.

As we begin to weave a path into the mountains I feel quite a mix. It has come down to the last couple hours in Argentina. It is difficult to find the right words to describe my time here. The best and worst moments of my life have occurred within these borders. Some in Buenos Aires, some in Jujuy. I feel very fortunate to have been able ro travel so much of the country, and to have met so many amazing people. I can’t help but think that my memories of Argentina will be complicated.


I am on my way to Viña del Mar where I will spend the next week or so with Ivan. I don’t have other plans in Chile other than seeing Valparaiso.