Would you LOOK at this! #Valparaiso #Chile

While standing in Valparaiso, you can see the two “ends” of the bay very clearly–it’s more what you might call a lagoon. It’s relatively small. But it’s an excellent harbour, and back in the 16th century it was decided on as the best spot for the new Spanish colony’s shipping. That took a long time to really happen though, and it was only when copper and nitrate were found in northern Chile that Valparaiso really got going. It soon filled with–strangely enough–British businessmen who exploited the new resources and became VERY rich. One problem: next to Valparaiso’s bay is the thinnest strip of flat land, and then STEEP HILLS. The very rich built their beautiful houses on the hills anyway, and later, elevators (!) to actually get up and down.

Then there was a horrible earthquake in 1906, the prices of copper and nitrate dropped, and all the rich folks left Valparaiso. What’s happened to the oldest part of the town since then is pretty amazing: it’s now filled with every kind of artist–most obviously graffiti, but sculptors, theatres, and dance schools too–plus amazing restaurants, hostels, and shops. I did NOT want to leave.

The rain kills my “honeymoon” in #Satiago #Chile

7:51 pm, 17 June 2017, Santiago

It’s said that when you move to a new country, there’s a honeymoon phase. Everything in the new place is, to you, exciting, different, and often magical. This will, however, at some point, be followed by phase 2: Reality.

My honeymoon phase in Santiago is over.

It began raining here about 2 am on Thursday morning. Rain was slapping against my window so hard it woke me up — I’ve been sleeping fitfully anyway because it’s cold here, which is compounded by a lack of indoor heating except with space heaters. It continued raining for a straight 26 hours! Despite experiencing flooding in the past, and regular rain in their autumn and winter, Santiago’s drainage is very poor, so there’ve been streets flooded. It was also very windy last night, and there were broken branches landing on cars. A friend who lives near Salvador metro station had part of her building’s roof fly off.

Today, Saturday, I slept in and went to have a shower at 11 am. The water was off throughout our apartment. I had been warned this happens sometimes in Santiago during winter, because the sewage system gets overwhelmed. Buildings will be told to shut off water to keep from adding to the problem. If this had been a weekday and I had to work, I’d be going there looking and smelling like an angry cat.

The water’s come back on since, but now the power is off in all the common areas of our building. We still have electricity in our flat (thank God), but my flatmate had to rescue three wet loads of clothes from the common laundry room. She’s hanging laundry off the shower curtain rod, on broom handles laid across the tub, off the curtain rod in our living room, off the backs of the stools at our breakfast bar…!

All that, plus buses with plenty of room sometimes not stopping if they don’t feel like it. And transit fares having THREE rates depending on time of travel, rush hour being TWICE as much as off-peak (what’s called “normal” time is only a bit cheaper than rush). There’s the banks closing at 2 pm every day (including, of course, pay day). I find the drinking culture here is on par with Scotland — that is, more insane than France! Sure, you CAN say no if someone offers you another drink… it’s just not DONE.

Overall, I do still like it here. Except when it rains. And this is proving to be an unusually cold, especially RAINY, autumn.

Photos from #Chile : #FOOD

tapas

At Fuente Oficial, Santiago. Most restaurants in Chile have Menu del Dia — which will come with an appetizer (or in this case, tapas!)…

main course

…a main course (I went for the menu pacifico, tuna AND salmon!)…

dessert

…a dessert and coffee!

cream

I mistakenly bought this — ONE LITRE of PRE-WHIPPED CREAM– in a tetra pack, instead of milk!

Churros

Churros. CHURROS.

Mote

When a friend handed this to me, I said “What is it?” It’s called mote con huessillos, a very traditional Chilean drink + snack. At the bottom is a husked, cooked wheat and whole peach (pit still in). You eat that with the spoon, while sipping the juice, which is made of honey, water, and cinnamon. REALLY nice!

Another Menu del Dia example, from a little village in the Andes. The starter was bruschetta, salad was sliced tomatoes and cucumber. Main course was Cazuela — HALF A CHICKEN, with rice, potato, corn on the cob, and squash, all in chicken broth. And dessert was…a banana!

You can get mussels in a tin, like tuna! This makes me weep with happiness.

This was my first asado, the Chilean barbecue. NO VEGETABLES ALLOWED.

Ketchup. In a pouch. Why do I find this weird? A bottle isn’t more natural. It’s…just what I’m used to.

Marraquetas, Chile’s version of sliced bread. Which is not sliced, is precisely baked to come in 4s, and is more like a bun. Perfect for chorizo at an asado, for example.

pie de limon

I admit to being confused by some Chilean words: in any other Spanish-speaking country, this would be torte de limon, but here, it’s pie!

I can’t explain how good these cookies are. I’ll let their placement in the supermarket do it: These cookies can’t be found in the cookie section…but in the chocolate section.

This. This is the glorious empanada, fast food of South America. But putting this into the same category as McDonalds doesn’t do the empanada justice. They can be filled with almost anything – cheese, chicken, beef, black olives, eggs, shrimp, mussels! – and they’re available everywhere. I’m busy so I eat take-out a lot here, but take-out is usually this, and there’s nothing here to complain about.

 

 

Photos from #Chile : #Andes Mountains.

My flatmate Ileana, from Mexico, and her best friend in Chile, Hector, invited me to go on a day trip to the Andes on Saturday.

YES.

Photos from #Chile : #Bellavista , #Santiago

If you go to Baquedano Metro station, then cross the river, you’ll find yourself in Bellavista.
I haven’t captioned any of these: what could I say except that they’re beautiful!