Santiago, Chile

No one really raves about Santiago, so I thought it would be one of those ‘meh’ non-descript ones. Turns out its great. Kind of hard to peg, but pleasant. As I’m liking the sweet metaphors at the moment, this place is a Quality Street Hazelnut swirl. It’s gorgeously autumn here; even the infamous smog adds a nice romantic mist to everything. In fact, if there’s one surprising thing I’ve liked about South America it’s the climate change. Not boo- hiss climate change obvs, but you know what I mean – the 4 seasons in one day thing. Yes, even snow; we are surrounded by the Andes.

Santiag-ians get involved. I’ve seen huge (peaceful) student protests the last few days that put ours to shame. We’re all singing from the same hymn sheet however, boo to Education cuts and all that. It’s also Chile v’s Uruguay in the Copa America Cup tonight (read: big deal across SA) so everyone’s dusted off their vuvuzalas and are getting on it. I was cheering for Colombia a week ago, but have now obvs switched my allegiance. So fickle.

About an hour on the Metro is the famous Concha y Toro winery, in the Maipo valley. Check your Tesco labels; they are the big mama’s of the wine world. A group of us spent a lovely time guzzling Chilean reds in the sunshine in a serenely picturesque vineyard. This counts as culture right? A little sozzled I then popped to the arty ghetto that is Bellavista, to Pablo Neruda’s second house; Las Chascona. Told you I heart this guy. My own tipsiness added brilliantly to the trippyness that is his decor. He was so obsessed with ships he had the floor of his library built at an angle, as if at sea.  Gotta love his GSOH.

As per, I ended the night on a debourcherously messy one with my French boys Mark II; Octave and Charles, off of Valparaiso. We went to the very cool ‘Clinic’ bar in Belle Artes. Lethal pisco sours.

Appendix…(One day later – aka my last in South America…)

This will teach me to blog too early…I should know by now that an opportunity to be led astray is always around the corner. So I posted the above about 6pm (or 2.13  according to wordpress – I don’t think we’re in the same tie zone) My flight was at midnight. Silly me only went and met some scoucer boys, enough said, who dropped this little enticer into conversation.  They’d spent the previous night watching the football in this famous Chilean bar drinking Terremoto, & they could really murder another one… Red rag to a bull really. It translates to ‘Earthquake’ – drink 1 and it’s great, drink 2 it’s an earthquake, drink 3 it’s a Tsunami, i.e. you are wiped out. I’ll tell you for why. A) Pint glass b) Wine c) Pisco d) Pineapple Ice Cream.  I’ll give you a few seconds to take that all in.

We of course had two each. In normal circs fun, perhaps not the brightest when about to board an International flight. Two hours later, we’d said goodbye all our new local friends and half of Santiago’s Bella Artes district, and this is where you would think I caught my plane. Wrong. We found ourselves in some blacked out window Spearmint Rhino establishment – apparently called ‘Coffee with Legs.’ It’s more innocent than it sounds. Kind of. The waitresses are in bikinis, but weirdly there’s no music and the only thing they serve is coffee. No dancing, no alcohol, nothing.  Just a load of old Chilean men playing chess? Plus us three.  So when I should have been stood in Arrivals at SCL, I was having a lovely conversation with a waitress in swimwear about hair extensions. I think I was the only girl to ever go in there. She loved me. Then we came up with the great (at the time) idea, that she should take my ticket! She desperately wanted to go to New Zealand, in my tipsy state I desperately wanted to stay there. (South America, not literally start a career in the X rated Starbucks.) I think we all realised it was probably time to leave at this point, and a very blurry Metro & Bus across town later, I made it to the gate with 10 mins to go. God I’m gonna miss SA.

Valparaiso, Chile

 

 

 

 

An absolute oxymoron if ever there was one. ‘Valpo’ is intriguing bohemian beauty and/or utter shithole. Either, both.  It’s the Barcelona of South America, a merchant port town, from it’s heyday at the turn of the 20th century.You would recognise from it’s iconic postcard image of ‘funiculars’ (elevators) that tilt-shift up the mountainside.

In reality it’s London blitz, meets absinth, meets the in inside of Amy Winehouse’s head (I imagine). Shattered by an earthquake in 1906, or last week you would be forgiven for thinking, the streets wind round like psychedelic rabbit warrens. The sepia camera settings are definitely off, it’s like being inside a bag of skittles there is so much colour, every house is pastel, every inch graffiti clad.

Everyone is a filmmaker, architect, artist, photographers. Fashion wise, think Greenpeace campaigner come junkie.

It has that desolate sadness of all seaside towns out of season, which indeed it is in July (winter). It’s chilly in Chile. Packs of wolf dogs roam the streets like coyotes. Yet it’s full of chic sushi bars, artist’s workshops, hippy cafes. The place is a head f*ck.

Either way, I am grateful to Valparaiso for introducing me to La Sebastina, filled with a lifetime of beautifully eclectic things from Chilean poet and noble prize winner, Pablo Neruda.  I am a huuuge fan.

“In which language does rain fall
over tormented cities?” (From the book of Questions.)

An.an.tas.in : The Anantasin is the name of a shipwreck just of the coast of the Sensi Parasise, Mae Haad Bay, Koh Tao, Thailand. It’s one of my many favorite places.

Lit.tle: Just because it’s cute.

Blasts From The Past…

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