After a 24 hour bus ride covering a third of Chile and a brief stay in Santiago we arrived in Valparaiso: hillside port city and subject of a Sting song which I´ve never heard (though Radek knows one line and sings it constantly). Here we would meet up with fellow Monheganite Patrick, whom we were convinced would be speaking exquisite Spanish after a week at the Viña del Mar language school and who, if aforesaid assumption proved true, would promptly be receiving a fork in the eye. But first we had to find him. In an excellent coincidence all we had to do to find Patrick was step out of the random restaurant we had been eating lunch in and there he was walking aimlessly down the street.
On the eve of socialist Bachelet’s presidential victory, this was an exciting time to be in leftish Valparaiso. Once Chile’s first female president’s win was confirmed, streets were closed and a wild dance party erupted downtown to the beat of live Latin music, chanting and (heaven help us) flag waving.
We also spent some quality time on the beach in neighboring resort town Viña del Mar, eating fantastic empanadas in Con Con and exploring the upper barrios of Valparaiso. We boarded one of the ascensors that the city is so famous for and took in the unique way the vibrantly colored houses sit precariously in every fold of the steep hillsides. All around an original and lovable city, go there.