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Old 01-14-2013, 08:42 PM   #11
porkandcorn OP
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Joined: Jan 2011
Location: Portland, Oregon
Oddometer: 296
vina del mar & valparaiso, chile

well, the apartment i found in vina del mar was a piece of shit. it looked great in the photos online. this seems to be how things go here. it was however a place to land in a new city. and that was it's most important function that no amount of structural neglect or misleading photography could take away.


edificio acapulco, vina del mar, chile by porkandcorn, on Flickr

bear and i were eager to check out the vibrant character of valparaiso itself (10 minute taxi ride to the south from vina del mar), so we found a hostel on hostelworld.com, and found a place. the neighborhood, cerro carcél (carcél hill) is a bit rough - lot's of stray dogs, not very clean streets. but the hostel - hostel verde limon - is very clean and there's a relaxed vibe and the travelers staying here from all over the world have been very friendly. the building is a crazy maze - like they combined 3 old buildings to make one. this tall gringo is doing a lot of ducking and stooping.

"valpo", as valparaiso is known, it a pretty interesting place. probably not for the faint of heart at times. it's disorderly, lots of odd streets curving around endlessly up the hills. the graffiti is amazing - it's everywhere and it's beautiful and surreal.


graffiti on ave. alemania, valparaiso, chile by porkandcorn, on Flickr


graffiti in cerro san juan de dios, valparaiso, chile by porkandcorn, on Flickr


graffiti near plaza sotomayor, valparaiso, chile by porkandcorn, on Flickr


graffiti near plaza sotomayor, valparaiso, chile by porkandcorn, on Flickr

bear and i met some chileans in santiago, and we met up with them out here on the coast. together we explored another hill next to ours, cerro concepcion. this hill is nicer, with restaurants, quaint little B&Bs, and a few more tourists. had a dinner there on a place overlooking the bay that was quite tasty.


view from cerro bellavista, museo a cielo abierto, valparaiso, chile by porkandcorn, on Flickr


stairway in cerro bellavista, valparaiso, chile by porkandcorn, on Flickr


Santiago, Vina Del Mar and Valparaiso by bspoon415, on Flickr


P1010092 by bspoon415, on Flickr

we also ended up hitching a ride from valpo, back through vina del mar, and finally arriving at playa renaca. there was a lot of traffic, like any beach community in the heart of summer. but the drive was nice to put the whole region in perspective. playa renaca was a bit more of a young, party-your-ass-off kind of vibe. my arms were completely fried from the intense sun here, so i was in no mood for partying. more in the mood for sleeping and aloe vera.

bear and i were speaking spanish with our guides from santiago the entire weekend, and both our brains are very tired with processing language. the spanish is coming along. i still try to start off any conversation with "desculpe, you estoy apprendiendo espanol - por favor, puede hablar lentamente." (sorry, i am learning spanish - please, can you speak slowly.) it works, as people tend to slow down, enunciate, and leave out all the slang or sayings that my brain can't yet understand.

today, monday, we spent the entire day at the customs office. the process was less than efficient, however, chile itself seems to work. much is lost in translation. the customs office is right at the port, and we saw the actual boat (pictured) with our container being unloaded. we compared the boat's number to the one on our bill of lading, the document used to show what we are shipping and prove that it is ours. the entire process of export/import was obscure to me when i started this process. now it is semi-opaque.


porto valparaiso with container ship in background by porkandcorn, on Flickr


P1010083 by bspoon415, on Flickr


container-mates on a lunch break during customs nightmare by porkandcorn, on Flickr

we are told that on wednesday, we will be assigned a meeting time with a chilean customs agent, who will go with us to our container, have the shipping company unlock it as we all watch, and do an inspection of our bikes on the spot and hopefully release them to us.

porkandcorn screwed with this post 01-14-2013 at 10:28 PM
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