Monday, February 25, 2008

Best of Chile....or what I could find that I liked

As you dedicated followers of my blog know, I didn´t do too much in Chile. I hung out in an awful capital city and didn´t particularly care for it. I was unmotivated to make a decision, jump on another long bus ride and so I preferred the bed bugs to the rest of Chile.
I didn´t drink wine, which is disgraceful, but I figured out why I was in a funk. February is a difficult time of year for me. In Chile, I discovered that I couldn´t outrun my grief, it lingers and attacks in different ways--bed bugs, fellow travelers stealing ipods, etc. In Denver, it is like a full frontal attack, constantly overwhelming me with memories and events that led up to what happened. In Chile or any other city it would be different. It doesn´t matter where I am, February will always be difficult for me.
I made the best of my trip here, but know that I should return to discover more outside of the beach and the capital. I suppose, for me, the best thing about Chile was that it had Starbuck´s. I loved the coffee factor. It reminded me of home and it was comforting. Each day, I would walk around and find a new one and felt accomplished when I walked by 7. Plus, there is one in the airport...I cannot wait for tomorrow.
The Lider supermarkets are amazing as well. They have peanut butter and a whole slew of American goods. I felt comfortable there and they too, are everywhere. I felt like a kid in the candy store.
The food was simple, substansial and I liked the blandness of it. Porotos grandolas are awesome and I lived on that particular item for days. It is a bean soup with pumpkin and corn. They serve it with the standard chilean salad which is diced up tomatoes, onions and parsley. On the tables when you sit down, they have bread and a rough chopped salsa as opposed to butter. They also have oil and vinegar as typical condiments. Of course, being on the coast, the fish is spectacular. I loved the mercado in Valparaiso and the fact that it was above a whole floor of fruits, vegetables, fish and cheese.
I preferred Valpo over Santiago. Granted, it is a dirty port, but the energy is fantastic. Plus, the hills kick your ass and it is colorful. I went to the Pablo Neruda house and loved the mosaics, maps and still lifes which covered the walls.
In terms of hostels...I despised the owner of Hostal Sammy. He was a prick and that is where I was inundated with bed bugs. He did have 5 computers available for use, but on the whole, the house wasn´t clean and he was a jerk. If my things had been stolen there, he wouldn´t have been nice about it. Tim, the owner at Hostel Yo Yo in Valpo, was pleasant and felt really bad that my bag had been broken into. He, too, was American and young, but had a good energy and his hostel showed it. It was comfortable there, too comfortable in some ways.
The bed and breakfast has been a nice treat. The owners are nice and I have my own room. I love it.
In terms of Chile, there are so many pregnant women here. They have lines at all of the supermarkets for expectant mothers.
Chileans do not walk fast, they stroll. They make me crazy. I hate walking slow. And, I know that you are asking yourself--she´s on vacation, why is she in a hurry? Because I enjoy walking fast. I like being in control and being stuck behind Chileans in a crowd creates bottlenecking and the perfect opportunity for some dipshit to steal a bag, a bracelet, what have you.
Chileans eat ice cream. There are so many helado shops and pastry shops here. I swear, they are constantly eating. This morning, I talked to an american couple and a canadian couple staying at the hostel. The American couple pointed out that they felt most people here were fit and the canadians and I said--WHAT? There are a lot of obese people in Chile. Then, the Americans pointed out the smoking issue, which I have seen a lot of, but the Canadians hadn´t noticed that yet.
It is interesting here and I would like to come back to have wine and check out the Lake District.
Chileans speak fast and many do not speak english. I found that I really liked Argentina. Chile is different, completely and has a cosmopolitan air about it, but it doesn´t fulfill it.
I cannot wait to meet Shari in Costa Rica tomorrow. The coffee is good and the people are pleasant. In Chile, people don´t smile or they catcall me. I am over being the object of their fascination. it wasn´t like that in Argentina. It reminds me of the summer I spent in Mexico in 98 for school. It is so machismo!!!

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