Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Pomaire, Isla Negra, Viña, and Valpo

Hello, sorry it has been a bit since I have posted. Don't worry though, I have a lot to talk about.

First, I have finally gotten used to life in Santiago. Santiago has dirt paths for running and bike lanes all throughout the city, so I have been riding my bike to school, which is about 10km (6.25 miles) from my house and running throughout the city. I enjoy going through different parts of the city; everyday is its own little adventure. I also have been going on various hikes in the Andes, my goal is to hit all of the major Cerros close to Santiago. Here is a picture from the latest, Cerro Pochoco!

Second, we have gone to a couple places outside of Santiago, first was Pomaire, the ceramic capital of Chile. Everything there is made by hand, we watched them make a few pots and bowls. As interesting as clay making gets, it was great to see their tradition still alive and thriving. Almost every clay piece here in Chile is made in Pomaire. Including ET.

We also went to Isla Negra as well, played on the beach and climbed some rocks. It was nice to get outside the city and learn more about the non metropolitan life in Chile. Oh yeah, and there is this poet, Pablo Neruda, who has a house in Isla Negra. It's okay, basically if you have ever seen a nice house before that is what it looks like. I took a picture of his neighbors house. At least he has a nice view.

Finally, Viña del Mar and Valparaiso. Viña del Mar, literally translates to vineyard by the sea. A lot of people are on vacations now, so the beaches at Viña are pretty full, so we spent the day walking the boardwalk and visiting the muesum where they have one of the original Easter Island stone statues. These statues were created around 1100 and are still in excellent condition.

Valparaiso, is one the poorer sides of cities that I have seen so far. Stray dogs are very common as well as people on the streets. The city also smells like a bathroom depending on where you are at and I don't think they know what a garbage can is. There isn't a divide between the rich and the poor like in Santiago, in Valparaiso, its not terribly poor, but there are no signs of wealth like Santiago has. Despite all of this, the people there are wonderful, we rode the trolley, went to the top of the many Cerros to see the incredible architecture, and I got to play a couple rounds of chess with some old timers in the park. Also, I have never seen a city party so hard in my entire life. On Sunday morning there were still bars open at 8am. It seemed to me like when the sun went down, the city woke up. Nevertheless, I want to give Valparaiso another chance, it is a city with filled with great potential and great people.

PS. While there I met a French guy who had just graduated with a degree in Computer Science, he currently is traveling the world without money. Offering his service in exchange for food and travel. He's been out a year right now and is looking for a job on a freighter to Australia. What an adventure.

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