Monday, June 25, 2012

Vina Del Mar & Valparaiso, Chile

Traveling: I took a bus over from Mendoza, Argentina to this beach town area.  It was certainly the most miserable travelling experience I've had.  The bus for some reason played music videos really loud almost the whole time, from about 8pm until the morning or so.  I took this bus to sleep over night by the way.  When we hit the border, instead of the usual bus driver getting off to get our stuff stamped, we were woken up, had to wait at customs for an hour.  Then they took out all our luggage and put them up on a table for dogs to sniff.  Then they went through scanners.  After this, I got back on the bus, and passed out for a few hours.  By the time I arrived, I was not in a good mood, but you can't be mad for long if you want to enjoy life.  I met up with a few people on the bus, Yanna and Rick, when we got off the bus, it took us another miserable hour or two to find a hostel to stay at since we did not book ahead of time and this was a spur of the moment trip before Santiago.  I took some deep breaths afterwards and was ready to see the city.

My pathetic dessert on the way there

Culture/Stuff about there: This is a beach area of Chile.  I was pleasantly surprised, the night life seemed pretty solid, and it is one of the graffiti capitals of South America.  Everywhere we went, there was amazing graffiti around.  I will focus mainly on that for this blog entry as I don't have many other intriguing stories.  We went to an Alejandro Sans concert, where all the young girls were going nuts for him.  I would compare to the crowd to that of a Justin Bieber concert in North America, although I've never actually been to one.  I still enjoyed it though.

Language: Spanish, besides Brazil and some of the French owned countries up North, everywhere in South America speaks Spanish. It does change from location to location, just like how people speak differently in California than New York.  In Chile, it was the most difficult for sure, people joke that you need to speak Chileano.  The pace of their speaking here is a much quicker and more difficult to understand Spanish.  It was nice to be able to try and recall some Spanish from high school, and attempt to start learning again. I did a little Rosetta Stone here, but knowing the key verbs is crucial to get points across, even if they are not used correctly.

Safety: Again, I felt completely safe, the only concern were people trying to scalp false tickets for the Alejandro Sans concert.  The cops were also going after scalpers, luckily we did not get scammed here.

Transportation: Car is the main means of transportation here, with some bikes and such. It is much like a US city with cars and the subway, and taxis.

Population: ~300,000 people

Currency: Chilean Peso, currently 1USD = 506 CLP

Place Stayed at: It has honestly been so long that I do not remember the hostel, we searched and found a random one, which was very nice and family oriented

My boy Liran and I as I caught him randomly on the way to the hostel

The first and only hostel write up I've done to this day

Food: Nothing special stood out to me as far as food went, not the worst, not the best, and about 1/2-1/3 of the US prices I am used to spending, but not as good of quality.

Beers/Drinks: None of the beers seemed like nationally popular beers, and the main drink was pisco, which was a grape berry pisco, lemon, and sugar.  It was not my cup of tea so I didn't have too much of it, but had to try it.  I enjoyed it, but too sweet for me.

Entertainment: The nightlife was okay here, I do not recall the areas.  The main attraction is to get to the beach and see all of the great graffiti work that is around town.  A photographer would have a great time here for a few days.

Internet: It was similar here as elsewhere, I just had a random hostel wireless connection that was mediocre and slow.  I cannot compare it to a set up connection that is inevitably better.

Sites to see/Things to do: The amazing graffiti art, the beaches.

Ma boy

Insanely realistic

My favorite piece


Two people having sex?  Both female?  No idea here

People at work, they are told to do graffiti and get to work on the streets

Same spot, different person

Some more really cool graffiti

Recommendation: Don't spend much time here, but as with Mendoza, if you have some extra time stop by for a few days to see all the amazing graffiti around the city.

Other Pics:
Views of the city

Statue of some dude I don't know

Cool steps

Building on the cliff looked like it was about to topple over

Rating: 7/10, the nightlife was okay, the beaches were decent, and the graffiti was amazing.  I would not live here, but enjoyed my visit.


1 comment:

  1. I spent a JanTerm with a host family in Vina del Mar and we took Spanish classes in Valparaiso. Chilean Spanish is very rapid. The hardest part about picking it up is that they drop the "r" from the middle of a lot of words.

    I thought pisco tasted like tequila but the locals didn't like it when I said that and told me, "No, no. Es mas suave, mas suave."

    I didn't see as much graffiti as you did. But we did hit the casino a few times and had lots of beach time. Truthfully, the beach was HUGE reason that I chose that study abroad trip! We also went to this GIANT sand dune that you slid down in a plastic thing kind of like a trashcan lid, similar to what you people from Jersey probably call a toboggan. :) And one night we got a TON of free drinks at a karaoke bar because we were a table full of American girls!

    I have lots of stories and lots of pictures from back before everyone had a digital camera!