5 November 2009


The "Hostal" where I stayed in Vina del Mar
Vina - pronounced Vinya is really Vina del Mar, the port of Valparaiso´s sister city. It isn´t a quaint little fishing village. It´s Chile´s number one coastal resort with some high rise apartment blocks and a "buzz" of activity - people coming and people going, laughing, eating, shouting, begging.

This is in marked contrast with the little working town of Los Andes where I stayed last night. I woke this morning and walked up to the Cerro del Virgen - a hill overlooking the town. It was hot and dusty but I was glad to get close up to examples of the ten foot cacti I had seen from the bus back from Argentina.

At the top of the hill was of course a white statue of the Virgin Mary watching over her people. But I spotted a couple of lesbians making out in the trees below. They had brought a blanket and a picnic and probably didn´t realise that anybody could see them. I notice a lot of public kissing and canoodling here in South America. Maybe it is true what they say about Latin lovers.

Down from the hill, wishing the lesbians good day, I ended up at the archaeological museum which had some commentary in English and I was the sole visitor. There were some pieces from Easter Island and the commentary reminded me that one of its other names is "Te Pito o Te Henua" which means "the navel of the world". Chile seems so obviously proud of its South Pacific "territory". Bur probably the best exhibit at the museum was a two thousand year old mummy from the Atacama region - she had died in childbirth and her mummified child was with her. The quality of preservation was amazing.

Between Los Andes and Vina there is some lovely. lush agricultural land - a lot of it given over to big scale viniculture - rows and rows of vines, neatly arranged to aid watering and harvest.

I had a light meal tonight - salmon and salad with a small bottle of local wine and then in the same little restaurant I watched the first half of Chile versus Paraguay in a pre-World Cup warm up match. It was still 0-0 when I left.

Tomorrow I will be "doing" Valparaiso - the funicular railways and the little colourful streets. The street I am on is itself very steep. It´s a basic but friendly hostel with only eleven bedrooms. Mine is supposed to be "en suite" but the bathroom is across the little corridor and I haven´t brought my dressing gown. The owner´s daughter had to show me how to fire up the boiler - no salacious pun intended!


  1. This holiday is almost keeping me gripped as much as 'Corro' on my second favourite blog, after this one...

  2. BOOTHERS. "Holiday"? No way it is a spiritual adventure in search of my lost soul. "Holiday" implies lying on beaches and drinking pints of lager with other marauders from Blighty before staggering out in search of kebabs and local senoritas from Wigan and Selly Oak and Peterborough...

  3. I had no idea you would be spending more time in Chile and Argentina than in Te Pito o Te Henua....

    Looking forward to more photos.


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