Sept 24, 2009
We made a phone call to LAN airlines and got the good news that Justin’s luggage finally arrived! Yay! That meant that we would have deodorant and Justin can finally change out of his smelly clothes. So, we got up early because A) we had to go all the way back to the airport to pick up Justin’s luggage and B) we wanted to make the most out of the day in Viña del Mar.
We took a bus (much much cheaper than cabbing) to the airport and got lost trying to find the LAN airlines office. I’m pretty sure we went on all 3 floors, and everyone who tried to help us sent us back in the other direction. But we eventually found the office and got his stuff back! Although it looked like the bag got tampered with (lock was taken off, and the pack inside was unbuckled), nothing to our knowledge was taken so we were pretty happy. Now we were off to Viña del Mar.
Viña del Mar was a beach town 2 hours away from Santiago. We went there with Tur Bus and got the best seats up in the front. On our
way there we saw tons of beautiful landscape and vineyards.
Upon our arrival, we were greeted/recruited by hustlers who lured us into their tourist office by saying that they had a free map. I made sure to sound interested when they said that they had a tour of the city but Justin and I prefer exploring everything ourselves so I knew we wouldn’t follow through with it. I just wanted that free map.
However, we weren’t sure of the location of our hotel and since it was apparently far, we decided to take up on their offer of transporting us to our hotel for a cheap price. Once we got there, we were welcomed by a very nice person, name Hector, who also had the same free map and recommended places to see and where to walk. I guess the free map at the bus terminal wasn’t worth it after all. Ah well, all was good and after digging through our luggage to get what we needed for the day, we walked towards the Reloj de Flores.
Reloj de Flores aka Clock of Flowers was literally a giant clock on a hill decorated with flowers. It was super pretty and
we got a nice Chilean/Colombian couple to take pictures of us in front of it. Following the route that Hector recommended us to walk along, we walked along the sea side and saw beaches, seagulls, and PELICANS! I’ve never in my entire life seen pelicans before, so it was quite exciting for me. As for Justin, he said they had them all over North Carolina but the ones we saw were much larger.
Along our walk, we also saw a very fairy tale-looking scenic view with a castle on the edge of the water. We’d like to have said we knew much about all of the castles and their significance, but we didn’t. However, we did see a sign with the name of all the castles with their pictures on it so that’s better than nothing. We, once again, saw the Chilean/Colombian couple who took another picture for us but had completely blocked out the castle in the background. Nice couple, not the best at photography.
Eventually, we were on San Martin Avenue and were hungry. We were told that restaurants on San Martin were much more expensive than on Valpraíso Avenue but we thought we would luck out and
find a cheap place to eat. When we realized that it wasn’t possible, we headed towards the main area of Valpraíso Avenue. Justin and I were still working on our “miscommunications”. One example was when I had mentioned that we should go to Valpraíso Avenue for dinner, Justin thought I meant that we should go to Valpraíso the town (20 minutes away from Vina del Mar on the metro) just for dinner. Mystery solved when we figured out that we were talking about different Valpraísos.
For dinner we had burgers and the most delicious peach juice where we watched an episode of The Simpsons in Spanish. After that we finally found an electronics place to buy a 3 prong Chilean adapter to charge up our computers, ipod and camera chargers. Yay! We felt better because all 4 batteries for our camera (running low on battery life) were charged and ready to be used. We decided to go to bed early since we wanted to go for a run around Viña del Mar the next day and spend the day in Valpraíso (the town) before heading back to Santiago.
Sept 25, 2009
We woke up at 7:00am and got ready for
We decided to go for a run in Vina del Mar before heading to Valpraiso. We encountered lots of dogs!
our run. The weather was looking a little gloomy so I opted to wear my lulus and sweatshirt whereas Justin ran in his shorts and T-shirt. We got stared at when we ran, probably because A) there weren’t many others going for a run, B) everyone on the streets were bundled up in their raincoats and scarves while Justin’s in his shorts and C) I’m asian. I’m pretty sure I was the only asian in Viña del Mar. Not a bad thing, just a funny observation. With the exception of a Japanese traveler at our hostel in Santiago, and some little 6 year old asians with pigtails, I haven’t seen any other asian tourist. Where were they hiding? We have yet to find out.
Back on topic, as we were running, we made tons of friends with a bunch of the stray dogs of Viña del Mar. They were somewhat friendly, but I got scared because I hadn’t realized that 1 dog in particular had been hot on my tail for a while and when I looked back, all I saw was this angry looking dog right behind me. I screamed like a little school girl and Justin continued to
laugh at me. Most of them followed us for a while and possibly got tired or bored so they disappeared, some were walking with other people but when they saw us running past them they ditched whoever they were with to run with us.
We ran along Los Heroes Avenue and Peru Avenue on the seaside. Eventually we made it to a stretch of beaches but the weather wasn’t so great so we didn’t stay too long. We headed back to our hotel where one of the dogs followed us all the way up to the entrance of the hotel. We were sad to say goodbye and leave him.
We got all of our stuff ready and took the metro to Valpraiso town. After a short ride, we headed to the marina port where there were a lot of souvenirs and beautiful buildings. All of the houses were packed on different hills with each house being a different bright colour. Absolutely magnificent. We also took the “elevator” (kind of like a ropeway but on tracks) up one of the hills (_____) and were able to see a gorgeous overview of the entire town. At the top of one of the
hills we there was a Chilean naval museum as well as some sort of naval headquarters with guards in front of it. On another note, the Chileans like to show a lot of PDA (public display of affection). Not that it’s a bad thing, but it can be a bit of a shocker at times. “They’re still here? How long have they been kissing for?”
On a sad note, we also discovered that our camera charger for our good camera (Canon G10) was not working. This was most tragic since all of our 4 batteries were still dead after thinking that we had charged them all the night before and our other little camera only has 5 megapixels (doesn’t take as epic pictures as “The G”, which has 14.7). On the bright side, at least we even had a spare camera. We were increasingly worried because we wanted to have at least some battery life for the next 3 days of our trip on Easter Island.
Instead of taking the elevator back down, we decided to walk down one of the streets where Justin took tons of artisitic photos. On our way down, we encountered a cute little restaurant where
Ive never seen Rumi run so fast!
we decided it was time for lunch. There was no menu but with our limited Spanish we tried to order beef and rice. What did we get instead? A full course lunch special, which consisted of delicious broth soup with egg whites, bread with salsa, some greens with cooked beets (unfortunately, Justin and I weren’t too fond of beets to begin with but still ate it). At this point we were wondering what ever happened to our beef and rice. And then came the main course, STEAK and rice. It was heaven. For the last portion of our meal, we had a choice between this delicious mango looking dessert that we saw others ate, or a choice between tea or coffee. Since we didn’t understand the first part of what our waitress had said, we said that we’d like some tea. A sad mistake but we thoroughly enjoyed our tea considering how cold it was outside.
We snapped some more pics and went back to Vina del Mar where we picked up our luggage and took a 2 hour bus ride back to Santiago. During our bus ride, we played monopoly on Justin’s ipod. Justin was the first one to
be bankrupt, and I tried with all my might to beat out the 2 other computer players but lost as well. It was super fun and probably the best $5 investment Justin’s ever made on a game.
We finally arrived kind of late in Santiago where we decided to go back to the hostel we stayed at before and to have a late dinner. Whenever we go to a restaurant, we often saw meals “completos” and “italianos”. We wanted to figure out what they were so we ordered them. And what did we get? A thing of bread and a hot dog loaded with ketchup, avocado, mayo, and more mayo. The Chileans love their avocados and mayo. I love mayo too, but not that much.
Later on we went to the street market to look at all of the souvenirs and bought a huge skewer of meat and sausages. It was so delicious and worth sitting out in the cold to eat it.
That night we packed up and got ready for Easter Island. We were pretty choked about our camera charger not working at all. Nothing was being charged and we had one battery that had just enough to
take a few pictures with. We always said that “we’ll figure it out” …will we?
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