Early Sunday afternoon, Theo and I made the short bus journey west from Santiago to the coastal town of Valparaiso. We got talking to a decent 'ish' lad called Will from Sydney, Australia, who was taking the same route and decided to tag along with us to see if there was any space at the hostel we were staying at.
The Sunday markets made for a chaotic drive into the bus station, but the first thing you notice about Valparaiso is how steep and colourful it is. Practically every home, building or business is painted in some sort of bright colour, each one different from its neighbour. And if it's not a bright colour it will almost certainly be street art instead.. it's literally everywhere! I've seen quite a lot of street art scattered around various locations in South America but this was off the scale. Restaurants, front doors, steps, houses, the floor, even dump trucks, all covered in wild and imaginative designs.
Once checked in at the La Colombina Hostel in a popular area high up in the hills, Theo, Will and I ventured out into a beautifully sunny afternoon to check out the town. There is no easy way of following a map here.. the steepness of the hills call for intricate winding roads and randomly placed stairs that climb or descend into the unknown until you take the plunge to find out for yourself. Rat-runs and small alleys lead to what appear dead-ends, but actually aren't.. the place is an absolute maze of colour. Finding a particular shop or restaurant can be quite a challenge, it's like playing snakes and ladders with yourself, and not knowing if you're going to succeed.. it's weirdly fun.
After a beer and a bite it was back to the quiet hostel for a few more drinks where we met a few people. A girl called Renee from Canada who loved to talk about herself, an insanely dumb English girl called Rachel who had been at our previous hostel in Santiago, and a French guy called Fathi who ended up being a proper good lad and a funny character over our three days stay. Theo and I making food references followed by "Fathi" never got tiring, especially as he never understood what we were going on about.
We were all up for a decent sesh but the town is very sleepy on a Sunday so practically everywhere was closed apart from a restaurant with a nice terrace overlooking the port, so they allowed us to have a few drinks if we ordered some food. A few more drinks followed afterwards back at the hostel, and then we hit the sack shortly after midnight.
Another bright, sunny and warm day led to a day at the beach. Fathi, joined Theo and I, on the local bus to Renaca Beach which was recommended as the nicest beach by the hostel owner. True to her word it really was beautiful.. a practically deserted stretch of golden sand was all ours for the afternoon.
After a questionable burger and a few beers we took the local bus back to Valparaiso Centro and it was probably the most bizarre journey I've ever had. Midway through, a guy jumps on dressed as a clown and starts telling jokes in Spanish (so I'm told) which obviously went straight over my head. The fella then pulls out a fake, but realistic looking gun, and starts pointing it at all the passengers.. all of us in hope that he was actually 'clowning around'!
Then the cheeky %$¥# proceeds to walk down the aisle asking for tips, and stopping at me...
"No chance!" I said.
He responded by pointing the fake gun at me saying, "give me money".
"On ya bike!" I replied.
He then shouted, "Donald Trump, give me a dollar!" Hahaha wtf?!
That was the last we saw of the dumbass clown as he jumped off at the next stop, but it wasn't the end to the terrible entertainment.. on gets a wannabe Chilean 'G' with a boom box and decides he wants to start rapping in Spanish over the music while parading up and down the aisle.. the lad had a shocker! If Simon Cowell was sat on the bus at the time he'd have ripped him to shreds! He also had the cheek to ask passengers for tips.. some giving pity pennies to make him clear off.
Off went the crap rapper, on came a random guy selling sandwiches ha! He left with a little more dignity than the previous two. All in a half an hour or so journey this!
The evening was another chilled affair at the hostel. I attempted to track down a popular pizza joint but the crazy maze and darkness beat me on this occasion.
A lazy start to Tuesday was followed by an afternoon walk around Valparaiso with Theo and Fathi to check out more of the street art. We grabbed a spot of Champions League action between Juventus and Barcelona in a dark dingy bar, then Theo and I were defeated yet again when attempting to find a popular restaurant. However, we did supposedly find the 'best burger' in Valparaiso.. more self-proclaimed I think than matter of fact. It was decent mind!
With it being our last evening the three of us went for a drink across the road to a bar called The Clinic which has a rooftop terrace with amazing views over the town. A pink moon/sky was forecast for the evening but we only caught a glimpse of it due to cloud cover.
Fathi got tipsy off one mojito, then began to sing along to some classic ballads before going to sleep. Random, but funny fella without meaning to be!
Theo and I will leave Chile in the morning and cross the border with Argentina, to Mendoza.. famous for its many wine distillery's and its mass production of the poison.
Caio Caio xx