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Big Small Journey Off on the adventure of my lifetime: 5 glorious months of sun and snow in South America, then the UK for further fun and frolicking.

Valparaiso - day trip packed with danger and action

CHILE | Saturday, 19 April 2008 | Views [1653] | Comments [1]

Hi folks. More and more I feel like I´m taloking to a silent audience, I don´t mind it, but sorry if it´s weird that I address you etc. It kinda reminds me of that famous guy in psychology (Jung?) with a theory on stages of development, and one characteristic of being an adolescent was believing there is an imaginery audience to all their actions. Anyways, I digress.

So, Thursday, I went to Valparaiso. Lorena´s Dad, and Erika, both warned me many times about being careful in Valparaiso. And so I was. I carried all my things in a daggy old bag, dressed my worst, didn´t wash, and wrapped my jumper around my waist like they did in the 80s to hide the bulge of my wallet (kidding about the washing part, I washed). On the bus there, met Rudy, a traveller from France, who was going to Valparaiso for a bit of a break from Santiago before going to French Polynesia. We arranged to meet at 2pm by this Market place, and I went to try to find Cerro Baron, a hill where there is apparently a good view of the city. On the way there, I went through this vegetable market, there was a lot of hussle and bussle and I took my camera out to take some photos.

Within about 2 minutes, a group of policemen converged on me and sternly told me to put my camera away. They imitated that otherwise thieves will come and cut the camera strap and run away with it. It seems that it is especially dangerous for me, female, and traveling alone. I took their good advice, put my camera away and got out of the area. I got a bit lost on the way and asked an old lady where Cerro Baron was, she told me not to go there because it was dangerous, and someone she knew got robbed just last week. Okay, so I left the area quickly and decided to bus into the city center. Unfortunately, I got off too late and ended up at the other side of the center, there was an asensor (carriage car taking you up the hill for 250 pesos) to Cerro Wheelwright, and from the top I had a lovely view of the city.

Valparaiso is nestled between numerous hills, and has a busy port (I was told to stay away from there because of thieves). The houses on the hills are all about the same size, and in a variety of colours. Very pretty. At the top of Cerro Wheelwright there was a group of Chinese tourists. I followed them for a while out of curiosity. It was strange hearing mandarin so far from home.

I went to the market where I was to meet Rudy, thinking it best not to walk around the city alone. I was early, so went looking for a place to have lunch. There were lots of vendors on the street selling seafood. Oh it was so lovely seeing seafood. I saw fish, crabs and a massive slab of fish which I found out was shark. Here, another incident occured. I was talking to a restaurant tout, and heard lots of shouting on the other side of the road. There was a bunch of school kids fighting with some street kids, and from what I could gather, a street kid had tried to steal something from one of the school kids, but it didn´t quite work out. I decided to get out of the area quick.

Rudy later told me that on his way to the markets, he was almost robbed. Apparently there were 2 men walking behind him, very close, another pedestrian signaled to him to look behind, he did, and the 2 men scattered very quickly.

That aside, I had a nich lunch with shelfish soup, and battered Merluda fish (??) with salad and rice. Rudy walked past the restaurant I was at, I hailed him down, and went to Cerro Concepcion, where apparently lots of artists and students hang out. We visited Casa de Lukas, home of a famous caricaturist from Valparaiso, walked around the bohemian streets, then, running short of time, went to the bus station.

Survived another day in a dangerous world, again I was very lucky, nothing happened to me.




Cheers for the post, we're getting ready to tour south america, gonna be hard to get used to constant threat of pickpockets/muggers...

still, will be worth it :)

  George Sep 16, 2009 7:40 AM

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