Hitting the streets of Valpo and Viño

by CameronM Wed, March 22 2006 23:23

Today was the 'work' day of the trip to Viño and after breakfast we headed to the beach in pairs, armed with tracts and information booklets (all in Spanish of course). I had read through a few of the story booklets and tried to understand the contents of them, with titles like 'Pepe is Bad' and 'The Contract', I wanted to make sure I wasn't handing out complete rubbish.

Down on the beach, I teamed up with Spanish speaking Yerko and was relieved when he asked me to simply speak in English when we approached the people, so that it would get there attention and he could then speak to them about their beliefs.

We had quite a long talk to an elderly lady and then handed out a few more tracts before heading to the meeting place. From there, we were able to see one man reading the information Yerko gave him and after a time, Yerko went to speak to him. He turned out to be a Christian struggling with some issues, so it was great Yerko could talk to him and encourage him.

For lunch we headed into Valparaiso for a typical Chilean meal, which consisted of a layer a fries, a layer of onion and topped with a layer of diced beef. You could feel your arteries clogging just looking at it. It was everything you shouldn't eat, but actually tasted pretty nice, although I would have liked some ketchup to give it more flavour.

Back on the street and wanting to burn off some of the meal, we hit the hills of Valpo. We were lucky to see two massive cruise ships in the harbour, one of them the massive Queen Mary 2. From the hills, you were almost at eye level with the top of the ship, which I guessed was taller than the 8-10 storey buildings around the port.

Late in the afternoon we boarded our bus back to Santiago and a well deserved rest. We were all tired and a little sunburnt, but I think we all had a great time.

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Chile

Surfing Viño del Mar

by CameronM Tue, March 21 2006 23:20

Up with the sparrows today, as we headed off to Viño del Mar. The hour and a half bus ride, on a very nice tourist bus, flew by and we were soon in Viño, checking into our hotel before boarding a local bus to the nearby beach of Reñaca. We were booked in for surfing lessons at 11am and our leaders were concerned as the we were running about 15 minutes late. They should not have worried though, as the instructor was tyically latin, and was just starting to get things organised.

We were bundled into two cars for the 'interesting' drive to the beach. I say interesting because, not only did our driver spend most of the journey looking up numbers on a mobile phone and dialing them on another, but at the sign of any woman, both the driver and assistant would hang out the window or honk the horn. This, however is not a new thing, as the girls from the language school complained all the time about being yelled at from cars, having people try and grab their butts and a variety of other things.

Once in the water, the journey was forgotten, partly because even in a full wetsuit, the water was freezing and partly because we were having a ball. The guys had given us really big, stable boards so that I was even able to stand on the very first wave. I think everyone in the group was able to stand, at least briefly, by the end of the two hour class.

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Chile

Viño del Mar

by CameronM Sun, March 12 2006 22:49

This morning we walked around a local market looking at all the goodies. The market had everything from sox to fruit, but nothing really exciting to buy.

We caught a micro (bus) to nearby Viño del Mar, which is a beachside resort town. Although not exactly lifestyles of the rich and famous, it is a little upper-class and therefore more expensive than a few humble students wanted to pay.

Luckily we were only strolling along the boardwalk and having a bite to eat so it wasn't goinf to break the bank. Steven, my classmate and an avid gambler, dragged us into the local casino, where we joked about telling people at home that we played a hand of blackjack with a $7000 bet. Sadly, that only equates to about AU$15, so hardly a Kerry Packer bet!!

We headed back to Santiago, driving through some very hilly countryside and beautiful vinyards, which I had missed since I was sleeping on the trip out.

Back in smoggy Santiago and I was already missing the clean coastal air and wondering why anyone would build a city where the mountains trap all the smog! Oh well, I guess that can't be helped now, not unless they move the Andes.

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Chile