Thanksgiving....

Trip Start Sep 05, 2012
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Trip End Jan 22, 2013


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Flag of Chile  ,
Thursday, November 22, 2012

Time to get out of the city....happy to have a tuned-up motorcycle, we quickly made our way onto the freeway, and like lightening, Camilo cruised out of the Capital city without looking back.  We headed over the coastal mountain range, a lot like California, into the Chilean wine country and coastal town of Valparaiso with the neighboring beach town of Vina del Mar. 

As we entered, the character of the port town came to life with the mix of antique architecture, colorful homes stacked on the hillside, and endless graffitti on the walls.  Artwork covered the walls EVERYWHERE, as it was clearly a part of the artist culture of the town.  The rolling hills and famous stairways were a sight to see, and many tourists walked around, often getting lost in the maze of streets to see the interesting pictures.

Camilo drove up the curvy, cobble-stone hills, often having to make a quick 90 degree turn at a steep angle. Again, he is an absolute master at driving a motorcycle, especially with our house mounted on the back. We made it to a hostel and parked the bike on the street.  PataPata was a very warm and inviting place, full of travelers, and many American travelers just finishing their studies abroad. We almost immediately knew we would stay for a few nights, at least.

We strolled the streets filled with character, went to a museum with interesting artwork and stopped at a hillside cafe for the local beer, the first dark beer we have encountered in awhile.  We would certainly remember the beer with the pirate on the label.  We headed back to the hostel and met the host for the Thursday night pub crawl, a really nice Mexican man. We had planned to cook in the community kitchen, since it was indeed Thanksgiving, but instead we joined the pub crawl and had a delicious dinner before we hopped around to a few bars, and ended up in a great locals spot where a man was playing guitar and playing music by Victor Jara and Violete Parra.  The man was incredible with the guitar, and had a voice that evoked the original emotions of these songs.  Camilo and I stayed as the others made their way back, and we enjoyed the music until the bar closed for the night...first time we have lasted to closing time, but well worth it.  The songs were powerful and we walked back to our hostel, hand in hand, feeling so grateful to be here, together!

The next day we took a ride along the beautiful coast to Vina del Mar, which is the upscale beach town and vacation spot for those in Santiago. The ride was nice, and we stopped for a quick empanada before hitting the golden beaches for a bit of sunbathing.  A short nap in the sand, a dip of our toes in the frigid Pacific water, and then returned to the hostel.

It was Friday night, and the hostel had set up live music in the patio area so we cooked some dinner and waited for the artists to arrive.  We chatted with the other travelers and were quickly engaged with a crew of 3 men who were filming a very simple yet profound and interesting documentary about Ļ Right or Left?Ļ  Two Chileans and a charasmatic man from Australia, went around to anyone on the street and simply asked, Right or Left? Nothing more and nothing less.  There was absolutely no explanation, but when they answered, Right or Left, the follow up question was WHY?  It was fascinating to hear about their progress and encounters, as most assumed it was a political question and answered quickly. However, when asked why, it was a more puzzling question, and often the answer was simple because that is how I grew up. Some answers more profound and some where comical, as the person would answer....well, because I can punch harder with my right hand....or, well, because I am about to turn left.   All in all, a very interesting documentary, especially because most people tend to have no idea WHY, truly WHY they believe in certain things, and it is simply because it was what has been passed down to them by their family.

The music arrived, two young Chileans with guitars.  We had a lively bunch but we all sat around and listened to the music.  It was mediocre but nice to have some live music. As more people arrived, everyone started to socialize a bit and we all got up to take a photo together.  This really pissed off the musicians, apparently they wanted our 100% undivided attention, in complete silence. They got up, threw their drink on the ground and made a ridiculous statement about our behaviour causing the war in the middle east....they stormed out and we all stood in shock....clearly they donīt have much stage experience and no backbone at all....a tough lesson that they will soon learn.

The night continued and the from wine, we switched to a shared bottle of Pisco and Soda before heading out to an Absenthe bar.  We enjoyed conversation with the Australian about the reality of life and being able to see through the things that are truly made up, yet people believe in them so deeply that it drives their life, and haunts their psyche!  KRI-Kee!! Camilo forgot his wallet, so he was very nice to pick up our bill and take us dancing at a local club. It was a fun night overall, but the celings were so low, Camilo and the tall Aussie had to duck, so we stayed for a bit longer and headed home.  I donīt mix alchol well, so I was ready for water and bed.

Waking up with a hangover the size of Texas, I could not move. Camilo got up and socialized with everyone while I slept it off.  We walked around a different part of town before returning to the hostel to make some food for the next few days of travel.  We took it easy, and enjoyed the Saturday night live music at the hostel, which was a very talented Chilean couple that played guitar and sang beautiful folk music. We bought their CD and went to sleep.  It was a great 3 days here in Valparaiso, one of our favorite places so far.

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