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Published: December 11th 2010
This weeks is the final week of my SIT program. I left Valparaíso on Tuesday to return to the home base in Arica once again. Our ISP projects were due on the 9th and with luck and some surprisingly efficient Chilean girls, I had it printed and bound within a matter of minutes before it was due. For me, this was a real surprise because it seems that many times when you walk into a heladeria and ask for a helado, the usual response is "No hay helado." And this is just a basic example. Places that claim to be able to print things don't have paper, or restaurants that advertise pasta don't even have spaghetti on the menu. That's Chile for you. I will probably miss the surprises when I am gone. Maybe.
I was particularly sad to be leaving Valparaíso, and coming back to Arica only emphasizes for me how much I would rather be with the Porteños, as people from Valparaíso are called. The last couple of days were largely spent frantically typing my ISP, but I also visited the lovely paseo de 21 de Mayo and took the ascensor up to watch the sunset. It was
a surprise that the ascensor was working, as many of them are being shut down due to age- they are almost 100 years old- and the cost of upkeep. It usually costs under 400 pesos to take an ascensor up a cerro, and it is an experience. I also rode a trolley one day last week. The Porteños love their trolleys, even though there are only 3 or 4 routes and they all run past Avenida Argentina.
I also had some of the best ice cream in Plaza Anibal Pinto, at the restaurante next to La Cafe de la Poeta. They have some unusual flavors, and incredible chocolate. The thing about food in Valparaíso is that it is hard to judge what the meal will be like. Typical Chilean food can be a bit bland, and is very much all about the Carne. Cazuelas and pastel de choclo are really tasty, but they usually involve large pieces of meat. Often lunch is a bit of a salad, a pile of rice or mashed potatoes and a slab of beef. In Valparaíso, fish is fresh and really tasty, but usually is only served with rice or papas fritas. If you
are in Cerro concepción or Cerro Alegre you can find some great Italian food. Near Plaza Anibal Pinto, just a half block up the cerro, is a great It alian restaurant that is pretty slow but has delicious fresh sauces and cheap wine, very important. There are also some great bars for Terremotos-- a mix of white wine, cognac, and pineapple ice cream-- in this area. Delicious.
My apologies for rambling about Chile, my brain is fried after 26 pages of research and analysis in Spanish. Also, I just spent 3 days listening to 24 other presentations over many interesting subjects in Public Health. It was really neat to see what everyone else came up with, but I am so glad that is over. No we have Talleres de Re-entry, about reverse culture shock. Hopefully I can postpone it for a week while I travel to Arequipa and Puno in Peru! Pictures coming next week!!
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