Monday, 22 December 2014

Following Good Advice Valparaiso

Valparaiso was a place not on my radar due to lack of research of South America. I guess I am just winging it and would probably be so close to an awesome place and miss it because I had no idea. The hostel staff at Maoi Vejero Santiago was so friendly and always chatted with me in perfect English.

Where are you going next ?
I dunnu, where do you think I should go ?
Mosaic Graffiti in Valparaiso
That’s how I found out about Valparaiso and thinking I would read up the city from the old lonely planet book I borrowed from the hostel, I was shocks when there was no entry for Valparaiso. Must be an old book but the newer version had like only half a page long about it. Seems like a passing by town so I decided always follow local knowledge and just give it a go.
New friends from the last night partying in Santiago contacted me and ended up going to Valparaiso together. Danny and Mary. First stop we hit there and we decided to track my hostel down to relive me of the heavy load. Walking around looking for the bus we bump into another guy (Tall German Guy) who was also on the Santiago walking tour. Hi and Bye and on our way to the hostel.
Valparaiso has a flavour to its city. Even without the graffiti to add spice to it the city has a charm of its own that few others can trump it. Winding path snaking up hills and cutting at ridicules corners. Roads that do not makes sense, cafĂ© or shops where you don’t expect them to be. Architecture of the poor using metal sheet and camouflage it to looks like a renascence style porch building. Funiculars that squeaks and cranks like it’s about to fall apart and tuck in between building give the city a pulsing heart. It was a wonder of wonders that this city was granted UNESCO Heritage so late.
Valparaiso was also the first danger I came across in Chile. A friendly kind of danger that one would have thought everything was safe. Apparently there was this neighbourhood just beside the touristic area that the people were very protective and would not even allow other neighbourhood people to enter let alone tourist. Danny, Mary and me took the funicular into that district and was immediately warned by the attendant in full vigour but since we could not understand her Spanish we understood it as to beware of pickpockets.
Half way up the hill two girls whistle at us and waved their hand and tried to tell us something. We had no idea what it was but when the hand signal of cutting one's throat came out and pointing towards the direction we were heading we finally understood that it was dangerous not in the sense of pickpocket but you could get into serious trouble. In a way the whole experience was so friendly that although we almost walk into a pit it did not feel like it. It’s as if the internal scuffle does not include dumb tourist unless the tourist decide to ignore all the warnings and proceed anyway.
Still the city of Valparaiso has lot to offer with hidden Gems that no books can capture entirely.
Valparaiso - Chile

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