On Friday night my friend Lisa from my program and I headed to Valparaíso and Viña del Mar, two cities on the coast of Chile. We hitched a ride from a friend of a friend that was headed to Viña. We were staying in Valpo and thought we would have to catch a bus over but luckily his Chilean navigator gave him wrong directions so we ended up getting dropped in Valpo. Even more conveniently, his navigator works in community education in Santiago so I got her contact information.
We opted to stay in Valparaíso because the Vina del Mar music festival was starting up and we thought it would be difficult to find a hostel there. We did go to the beach all day Saturday in Viña, but it was LLENO de gente, I had people about 4 inches away from me on all sides by the time the afternoon rolled around. It was an obstacle course of jumping over bodies just to reach the water.
To get to Viña from Valpo we just had to hop in a bus that took the turns of the rocky bottoms of the hills at extremely high speeds. As the bus drivers´ rum-colored liquid sloshed around inside his Sprite bottle, I couldn´t help but think ¨Jeez, I´d never try that in my car.¨ (Jerry Seinfeld anyone?)
On our walk back we ran into a huge pack of people screaming wildly as 2 actors from the telenovela Cuenta Conmigo signed autographs outside of a hotel. It was while recounting this story I was informed that telenovelas (soap operas) here only last 5 or 6 months. They end and then start a new story with practically the same actors. I feel like it´s practically the opposite in the United States: same story forever with new actors taking old actors places without any mention. The leading lady is suddenly 5 years younger and 30 pounds heavier (Read: All My Children, okay so I never followed that one, but I did follow Passions and the particular character to which I´m referring is Kay…CB?)
Anyways, I LOVED Valpo. It was covered in beautiful graffiti and wall art. I am going to start a ¨Wall Art of the Week¨ Section on my blog where I will post all of my fabulous finds. I got a lot of good shots in Valpo…but I have to wait til I can use my own comp to post them. We were supposed to get internet at my house yesterday, which means it should arrive by next Monday, fingers crossed.
Saturday night we wandered into this cute little cafe (Cafe Color, or Color Cafe in case Mimi is reading this). It was great because we got there an hour before their live music started and luckily our meal ended up taking 4 hours since there was one waiter for the entire restaurant. There was a guitarist and singer who sang bossa nova as well as Spanish favorites. Even though the cafe was listed in Lonely Planet I think we were the only foreigners in the room as everyone in the crowd joined in and sang along to practically all of the songs. The singer even invited a girl in the crowd up to the mic once!
The night was capped off at a dance club that we left for at 1 am (Chileans go out SO late). I was once again reminded why I hate dancing to euro techno (there is never a saving grace of ¨oh I don´t like this song, no worries it will last 3 minutes and then be over¨– no sirree, lucky for you they have taken this terrible song and looped it into a 40 minute track, so when your arm becomes numb from the standard techno arm thump dance [which mind you I generally opt out of– If you are over 40 ask your children what this looks like] you begin to ask, ¨Wait, wasn´t this song supposed to end 37 minutes ago?¨ It´s a trap!
It was interesting because the club was filled with foreigners. I couldn´t tell if it specifically marketed to foreigners or if it was just foreigner night (we just got lugged along with people from our hostel) but the DJ kept specifically giving shout outs to foreigners in the crowd, like ¨Can I hear all the Suizas in the house?!!?!?!¨ By the end of the night he seemed to be making specific appeals to everyone (including obscure Eastern European countries) in the crowd, but never once did he ask to hear from the Estadounidenses (people from the U.S.) in the crowd.
Anyways, we made it back to Santiago Sunday night in a bus along with what seemed like thousands of other Chileans returning from the coast and their vacations. Summer is beginning to wind down and I hear things will head back to normal in March.