24.10.2012 - 24.10.2012
It's currently Tuesday morning after the long weekend and I just did something really stupid... I woke up an hour early and now I'm at school at 8am...durrrrrrrrpy durp. So I figured I'd use this time to write.
I think I last left off on Friday, and since then I've been very busy... On Saturday morning at 10am I met a group at the school, which included my friend Nina, a Canadian guy Christian, a German Katarin, the Korean couple in my class Ava and Lorenzo, and two other Koreans that I don't know. We got picked up in a van and stopped to buy supplies, so I bought some yoghurt for breakfast. However once we arrived at the horse ranch they told us we were having the asado (BBQ) right away. Nina and I were pretty annoyed because we'd just eaten and thought the asado was afterwards, but it was pretty delicious - chorizo, carne, lechuga, arroz - so we just sucked it up and ate again!
Eventually by about 1pm we got on our horses. I was kind of sick of waiting around but very quickly got in a great mood, as the ride was so much fun. We went down through small rivers, through lots of bush, and had the most beautiful views of the Cordillera mountains, both snowy and green. Eventually we stopped off in some shade and went for a walk through to a small waterfall, which had a beautiful view as well. We then rode back and went through some wide fields and we could see below a rodeo competition - our instructors looked like cowboys, and it was pretty funny. When we got back to the ranch our driver gave everyone massages and dropped people home, but dropped Nina and I in Larrastaria so that we could get ice cream. Emporio La Rosa was packed - the sun had come out around midday which we hadn't expected from the grey, unpromising morning, and so the ice cream shop was full, but I eventually got Miel y Canela (Honey and Cinnamon) - neither of which were amazing. I don't really see what's so special about it to be honest, but everyone else seems to go gaga about it.
Eventually we headed home, I hung out with a few people at Casa Loca, and then went to bed early.
The next morning I was up bright and early as I had an 8am bus to Valparaiso. I had thought the bus station was at Universidad de Chile which is near Santa Lucia (a 40 minute walk), but soon realised that it was much further, at Universidad de Santiago (there are so many bloody universities in this city!). After walking for about 20 minutes I got in a taxi, which cost me $10, double the amount of my actual bus ticket to Valpo, but whatever! I then eventually got to the bus station, found my stop, read Harry Potter and waited.
The bus was a double decker and amazingly nice - the seats turned into pretty much full beds, and a movie played (though in Spanish). And my ticket was only $5! Hopefully I get a bus so nice to La Serena and Atacama.
After a nice nap on the bus we arrived at Valparaiso at 9.30. It was pretty early, and a Sunday, so not much was happening, but there were some flea markets being set up which was cute. I got a map from the bus station and walked up to Pablo Neruda's house, as I'd heard it had good views. On the way I met two other nomads, a girl from Singapore named Ann and a guy named Fabio (I think, I never quite heard it right) from Chile, who was an employee of Ann's husband. We walked around together, but didn't go into La Sebastiana (Pablo Neruda's house - he has three, others in Santiago and Isla Negra), cos none of us were really interested. We then walked down through the lanes, but at one point Ann stopped because she smelt tear gas. I didn't know what she was talking about, and kept walking until I felt it too, stinging my nose and mouth. There were police and a large van nearby so I assume there was a riot of some sort - there was a festival on that day, and there's lots of political graffiti (as well as great street art) in Valpo. We then got some lunch, and went up the acensor concepcion (like an inclinator) and just walked around for a while, listening to the beats of the festival below. Eventually we headed down to the harbour, and then I convinced them to join me in Viña del Mar for the afternoon and together we stopped a bus and got on.
Viña was about 10 minutes away by bus along the coast, but seems like a completely different state. It's basically just a city with a nice beach, but not a particularly special beach. We saw the 'flower clock', walked along the promenade and got some beers at a pretty fancy restaurant (which charged me $5 for a water! Haha). After lazing by the beautiful view for a while we went for a walk to find the park La Quinta Vergura, which is apparently very beautiful. Unfortunately we arrived at 6.25 and we found out (at the gate) that it closed at 6!
We walked back to the beach and Ann and Fabio went back to Valpo, and I sat by the beach with an ice cream waiting for the sunset and reading Harry Potter. I got to see the start of the sunset but unfortunately had to leave for my bus at 8.30. On the way I bumped in to Lindsay and Sam from school (they're great!) and soon enough I was on the bus home, then on the metro and in bed.
Which brings us to yesterday - which ended up being quite an adventure! It's a long weekend so we had Monday off and Mariana and I decided to try to visit the hot springs in Cajon del Maipo. We were meant to go with Rosangela and Nina, but waited for 25 minutes and they didn't show (which I have now realised is because my phone screwed up something with daylight savings and hence I'm at school an hour early!).
Together Mariana and I headed to Bellavista de La Florida metro, which was waaaay out - but it was cool seeing out of the centre of the city. It was the sort of place they'd put an ikea (I wish!). That's where the main bus station is, and eventually we found one to take us to San Jose del Maipo, but the man at the station said the hot springs were closed or we couldn't get a bus or something. We were a bit disappointed but decided that we had a spare day and would just get on a bus and see what happens anyway.
After about an hour and a half we were engulfed in mountains and little road side shacks, which eventually turned into a large cluster of little shacks and small roads - the town of San Jose del Maipo.
We spoke to Claudia at the tourist office, who Irene had recommended me to, but figured that everything was a bit too expensive and not do-able, and eventually settled on drinking some beers in the plaza until we figured out what to do.
We were sitting and laughing at the fact we were in the middle of nowhere when a lady walked past us and we began speaking. She was a Peruvian lady named Lupe, and similarly had nothing to do today before she met her friend who was temporarily living her. We had a few beers together before her friend, Santos, joined us, and he showed us a restaurant for lunch.
Together we had some 'typical Chileno food' and mojitos, and some weird flavoured beers Lupe gave us (it was like Clara (solo and beer) but gross and we didn't finish it).
After lunch we convinced Santos, who had a car, to drive to the Colinas - the mountain range where the hot springs are. He had a sort of paddy wagon and Mariana and I shared the back like prisoners. It was pretty funny sliding around in a crappy car surrounded by mountains in the middle of nowhere in Chile. We drove for ages, stopping for photos, and eventually got to some beautiful snow-topped mountains. It was too late to keep going to the Baños Colina (hot springs) so after admiring the serenity for a while we turned around and drove back. In San Jose we stopped for snacks and planned to get the bus back to Santiago, but Santos was dropping Lupe to the city anyway so we got a free ride, and he dropped us at a bus stop which went straight to Providencia!
Soon enough we were home after a spontaneous and surprisingly awesome day in the middle of nowhere. When we got home there were a few newbies to Casa Loca from London, Southern California, Singapore and Germany - four awesome girls that I really like.
Anyway, class. Ciao !