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Llamas Gordas

Vamos al paraiso

CHILE | Wednesday, 17 October 2007 | Views [1429] | Comments [8]

No words necessary.  Just gorgeous.  And the city aint bad either!

No words necessary. Just gorgeous. And the city aint bad either!

Here we are, day number 6 in Chile.  We left the capital of Santiago several days ago and arrived in Valparaiso (literally ¨"go to paradise") on Monday afternoon.  This city is definitely a place everyone should see before they die.  The city is a port on the Pacific responsible for a lot of Chile´s imports and exports, and was a major stopover in the route around Cape Horn before the Panama Canal was built.  The city rises up from the bay at an alarming angle and is dotted with and ringed by huge hills.  The vista of the city as you walk up the hills is breathtaking, both at night and in the morning.  The houses in Valpo are all painted in bright colors - it reminds me of pictures of Greece that I have seen.  And, just like in Santiago, there are stray dogs everywhere - but more on that later.

After receiving a not-so-warm-welcome in Santiago, we were starting to consider whether or not the famously insular Chile was the best choice for a journey to South America.  Both of us wanted to take some time and stay in a place and get to know the people, and the reticent nature and crazy, choppy, lightning fast Spanish of the Chileans was frustrating that hope.

But Valpo has been much different thus far.  The highlight of our day yesterday was our trip to the market by the bay, where we met some very friendly vendors who gave us advice on not getting mugged, then suggested some cooking methods for the two most beautiful artichokes we could find, then split their lunch and coffee, and finally took us up on to the deserted roof of the building for a spectacular view of the city (all thanks to Melissa´s Spanish I might add - my "es muy bueno!" only gets us so far).

Today we planned on taking a bus to Quintay, a little deserted beach south of the city where you have to hike through a pine forest and neglect "Do Not Enter" signs to bathe in seculded pools and hang out with otters.  But on our way to the station, we had a run in with Vito.  He was about as tall as me standing, understood no English, and had a warm tongue.

OK - so Vito is one of the many street dogs that roam the streets of Valpo and protect their turf.  But there was something different about this guy - so much so that our conversation had chnaged from "The beach is going to be beautiful today" to "How much could we afford for rent per month" in a matter of 15 minutes.  Honestly, we both fell in love and, like so many gringo travellers, had decided to stay with our beloved in Valpo.  We made appointments with a realtor, checked out some houses, and found a vet.  All we had to do was get Vito on the leash (or rope as it were) and take him down to the vet.

This proved more difficult than we first imagined.  We encountered very little in the way of snags in the beginning - I even was the head of my own street dog pack for about a half hour (thank you Cesar Millan) - but Vito refused the leash and just would not follow us the mile across town to the vet.  So we went into a retaurant, and Vito waited for about 15 minutes, and then chased some dogs around the corner and vanished - maybe for good, maybe not.  But one thing is certain - that pup would rather be wild, stinky, and homeless than at the end of a leash.

We can relate!

Tags: Misadventures



Sounds like you two are having such wonderful and real experiences. I'm so jealous. Enjoy it as long as you can!!! Life is too short - - you'll remember this all of your lives.


  Michele Oct 18, 2007 10:06 AM


Hi Steve and Melissa, it all sounded lovely until the part about the stray dog. I'm glad that the dog had enough sense not to get tied up to you guys. Kristen is the animal person for the family, so please don't find any wounded birds. Anyway, I hope you do get to the beach. I wish I were there but actually I'm still swimming outdoors so I can't complain. Love, Aunt Barbara

  Aunt Barbara Oct 18, 2007 10:32 AM


Hi Stevie - Sorry i didn't get to see you before you left. Make sure to keep blogging, it reminds me that there is still a world of possibility as I sit in my corporate coffin..i mean office. Keep each other safe, and make sure to let me know where you guys are planning to be around Christmas....

  Melissa Oct 19, 2007 1:00 AM


Love You Guys! Got your cow card-thanks. Good luck with the pup. Pleasen Don't contract Chagas Disease.

Kristen aka Cardum aka Kalikimaka

  Kristen Oct 20, 2007 1:40 AM


Hi Stevie and Melissa, sounds like a really interesting trip so far and your description of the area sounds like it came from a travel journal. Thank you for sharing your experiences. Be safe and keep updating us on your adventures.

Love, Aunt Patti

  Aunt Patti Oct 21, 2007 12:53 PM


Hey guys- Keep the journal going and add to it so I can escape from my lame life for 5 minutes. Thanks!-K

  Kristen Oct 25, 2007 10:44 AM


What's the latest? You rent a place yet? I'm with Kristen, I could use an escape!

  Jim Oct 26, 2007 4:47 AM


Steve-O and Melissa,

I'm glad you guys are having a good time. Keep me posted with your travels. Be safe.


  Matt Schmid Oct 27, 2007 12:10 AM

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