Sunday, October 18, 2009

Group blog: First trips within Chile

Emily suggested a group blog on first trips within Chile
Rather than the first five, I'll highlight some of my notable first trips ...that don't yet overlap with the other posters first trips!
I'll try to get some more pictures up as the day goes on.

One of the first places I traveled to in Chile was Quintay. Its a little old whaling town along a rocky coast. For only around 500 pesos ($1) we entered into the museum and wandered around the ruins of the old buildings. It also had one of the most gorgeous sunsets I've seen in Chile.

I've been to Maitencillo a zillion times, give or take a few, but still remember very clearly my first and second times there. My first was the weekend of the 18th of September, and I very angrily climbed into a car at about 4am, worried the driver had been drinking, and ended up on the beach of Maitencillo along with a few thousand other university aged partiers.

An hour's bus ride away from the ocean, and another 20 minute truck ride with a girl who must've been the original inspiration for the jokes about female drivers, brought me to Quillota. Its a gorgeous area inland that seemed perfect for planting all sorts of things- our host had everything from avocado to a cactus garden. Despite my trip being mostly ruined by the owner of the house promising to kill me in my sleep because I'm from the US (I slept nervously in a tent in the neighbor's front yard instead), I did come away alive and with some nice pictures of the scenery.

About an hour's bus ride from Valparaiso, Horcon is little fishing village famous for its empanadas and nudist beach. Through the workings of a guy friend I made here, he sent me off with his girlfriend and all her friends to a cabin for the weekend. As much as I really wanted to get to know some Chilean girls, I was fully thankful the second night when carloads of guys showed up the second night for a barbeque, and to break the mood. Despite many future trips, as a good friend now lives there, I have never actually been to the nudist beach.

Los Andes
I love this city. I've been to Los Andes a number of times, and absolutely love this peaceful, hot (in the summer), cute little city surrounded by mountains and campo. This was actually one of my first trips in Chile, as I took off by myself to go camping with a friend of a friend who'd I'd only talked to on the internet. It sounds quite sketchy, I know, but he picked me up as I jumped off the bus in front of a gas station outside Los Andes and we camped up in the mountains with his friends, and I got to meet some real huasos (though I couldn't hardly understand a word they said as the people who live in the mountains seem to have a rather mumbled, ungrammatical way of speaking). Again, I lived to tell the tale!

Some of the other cities I've traveled to in Chile include:
South: chiloe (4x) (ancud, castro, some other little cities on nearby islands), puerto varas, puerto montt, frutillar, villarica, pucon, temuco, valdivia
Middle: rancagua, santiago, limache, quillota, los andes, lo campo, san felipe, llay llay,
Middle coast: quintay, valparaiso, vina, concon, ventanas, pechuncavi, maitencillo, horcon, quintero, maitencillo, zapallar, cachagua, san antonio, isla negra
North: la serena, valle del elqui, san pedro, calama

My top desired trips include: Juan Fernandez, Iquique, Rappa Nui, and various wine country trips in the center inland.


Emily said...

Ok, my list of random beach towns cannot even remotely compete with yours! The empanada I had in Horcon was good, but this summer I really want to go back to Quintero where we ate the BEST empanadas...mmm, nothing like cheese and fresh seafood all fried together, haha.

Sara said...

I loved Horcon. Apparently, we had a picnic on the nude beach, but it was sort of cold and windy so there were no nudists. A little early in the season I was told.

lydia said...

Haha, Sara- actually, its possible I've been there under similar circumstances and not even realized it. I think last time I went to Horcon we went to the beach at about 4am so chances are I wouldn't have seen any nudists even if I were in the right spot!

Emily- empanadas are one of life's highlights. you're right, nothing like cheese and fresh seafood! so very tasty...
I've been lucky to have lots of little trips here and there, visiting people and attending events. Its often a shot in the dark chasing a rumor (e.g. I've been waiting over and over and over for the "dia internacional de Horcon" but it keeps getting postponed) ...but sometimes things work out and I get to wander around a new place! But usually we just go back to the same places over and over again, as I'm sure most people probably do when they find somewhere they like.

Annje said...

You have some gorgeous fotos! I love all those little beach towns. I never saw the nudists in Horcon either, but was not disappointed about that!

Mamacita Chilena said...

I loved Quintay when we went there once, just randomly driving up the coast from Algarrobo. It was so beautiful I almost convinced Seba that we needed to buy a parcela there.

Lucie said...

Ohhh reading your post makes me realize I need to do more spontaneous day trips in Chile! And god do I miss empanadas! First thing I'm going to do in Chile is get my self a nice big fried cheese and shrimp empanada!

Have you ever tried the ones at the market in Providencia on Antonio Bellet? I lived near there last time in Chile and went there just about every day to eat empanadas. Apparently they're pretty famous. And you can get baked empanadas too which I love! They fill them with so much cheese and shrimp!! Mmmmmm! Sniff...I want empanadaaaass!!!

Katie said...


and was the guy actually serious enough about killing you that you had to sleep in an actual tent?!

lydia said...

Katie- The guy was drunk, but serious enough that 5 other people felt uncomfortable enough at his place that they left to sleep in a tent with me. So who knows... he was pretty graphic about his plans.

Lucie- i dont remember specifically about that place. My favorite are by far fried though!

Annje- thanks! hahah, yeah i wasn't searching out any nudists but people always mention the beach so I am curious to whether I've been.

Kyle- If you buy a parcela in Quintay I promise to come visit often ;-)

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Carnaval de Mil Tambores= awesome

Like I predicted, this weekend was pretty sweet.

On Friday afternoon friends started showing up at our house to get ready for the parade. It didn’t actually take that long but of course being Chile nothing happens on time ever, no matter what.

We made it down towards the start of the parade and then started going off in separate directions, interacting with different groups and spectators. Tons of people wanted to take pictures with me… I’m not too popular normally (if I were, that wouldn’t have mattered much anyway because very few people actually recognized me unless I stopped and looked directly at them) but… I’ll have to admit I made a pretty cute payasa for the parade. ;-)

The parade itself lasted foreeeever, as groups would stop along the way to do performances, dances, or special talents. It started at 5 and lasted at least 4 hours.

(my boyfriend and a good payaso friend)

(neat dragon breath photo)

(me jumping in to play Capoeira)

Some of the most impressive groups in the parade are those with extravagant costumes, and those with none at all, i.e. the people who paint their bodies. Everyone looks gorgeous with their bodies painted, but the majority are women… its rather funny to see the huge crowd of men and photographers following them around. The newspapers looove publishing photos of the topless painted girls the next day, which, due to the thick paint, ironically makes them some of the least exposed women that show up in Chilean press.
(Painted bodies- without realizing until I uploaded the pictures, I didn’t even realize I actually took photos of my boyfriend’s cousin and a coworker. So, sorry for putting you half naked on the internet!)
(another group with neat costumes)

After the parade, one of the main streets of Valparaiso turns into a huuuuge party packed with people drinking, dancing, playing music, etc… Its absolutely crazy and stays that way all night. We had to rush off to Vina though because my boyfriend had a performance. It was fun until it lasted though.

(pololos payasos)

[EDIT: The original transferred post continued on to talk about a concert, which was rather disgusting and I am not going to repost]


Renée said...

I give you credit for staying as long as you did at the concert! That sounds gross!!

But on a lighter note, the parade looked so fun and the pictures of you are so cute!!!

Annje said...

Hilarious comment about the painted women being the least exposed... haha. It sounds like you had mostly a good time, but the last part sound horrifying!

lydia said...

annje- its true! hahah. my favorite story about that- a long time ago, when i first came to this observation, i thought i'd awkwardly caught my friend's dad with a dirty magazine... turns out he was reading the newspaper!

renee- thanks! i quite like how my hair (ok sssshhh don't tell, it was a wig) turned out! And someone lent me the perfect nose.

Everything was pretty awesome except the sanitation at that place. ick! if i would have been drunk as some of the other people maybe i wouldn't have minded as much. The parade is amazing. its one of my favorite valparaiso things of all time.

Eileen said...

wow, this looks amazing. Does it happen every year? I'd love to catch that parade next year (as a spectator, and fully clothed). You guys look very happy, and I'm sure you are quite the photo prop! cool tights!

I love how everyone has a different Chile! Yours is so colorful!

Mamacita Chilena said...

How freaking fun!!!! The parade, not the second part. You look awesome in your payaso costume, btw.

lydia said...

Eileen- YES! its always been the first week of october that i can remember. the posters this year said its the 10th annual celebration.

Spectator?! Where's the fun in that ;-) Actually my favorite part is to take pictures because everything is really cool, but now that my camera's not that great and it starts to get dark soon it kinda ruins some of the fun in that. Speaking of all the colors... i think my camera was on the "vivid" setting by accident, which might explain some of that, because my red hair was kinda too much for the camera in a few shotshaha. ...but in general, well, Valpo is pretty colorful!
... that's its charm, right?

Kyle- thanks! Yeah the parade was a blast. Its by far one of my favorite things in this city.

Actually, about that bad concert situation.... A friend of ours came over last night and told us about his experience there, which was much much worse than mine...
He had gone to the concert with a girl who usually wears a head wrap/scarf thing on her head. Anyway someone threw a bottle at her head really hard and luckily for her she didn't probably have anything more than a concussion or something but no cuts because her head was protected by the cloth... but the bottle shattered on her head and one of the large shards went straight into the chest of our friend and he had to go to the hospital and get exrays and stitches and everything because it was pretty deep.
Crazy scary, no?