Monday, December 12, 2005

Valparaiso revisited


After one hour of ride, we came to lovely and sunny Valparaiso, sitting on the shores of the blue pacific. We tasted the down-town mentality and wandered among the colorful houses and alleys of the hills Valparaiso

Valparaiso – Nicer than ever remembered!
Monday morning, I woke up early so I could update the blog and find a place in Valparaiso we could sleep in. I looked for one place but it was full and after the hostel owner looked in his computer we found a hostel, Hostel Patricia, which is hostel that is located near the bus station at down town Valparaiso. When I finished talking with Patricia and reserving a place, Lee and Chris where already down having their breakfast at the kitchen. While we were at the lobby, we met three Israelis that just landed in the continent and gave them tons of tips before departing to the metro, and after that, buying a bus ticket to Valparaiso (nicknamed Valpo, by the way). The weather was great and the noon sunshine shone on the many green vineyards that we passed on our way west to the pacific ocean old town. Coming into Valparaiso, it was so good, as the last time I was there it was foggy for half of the day, and less sunshine (autumn time in Chile) and this time, lots of sunshine and good vibes.
Going down the bus, we found an old lady promoting some hostels and she led us to the hostel, and to the 50 years old yellow two story house. There, through the old and wooden curving stairs we met at the end the lovely and sympatic Patricia, the owner. She led us through a maze-like walls and halls, to the three beds room, with a view over one of the main streets in down town.
Lee went to the internet while me and Chris went to eat in the popular and old Market place, situated in a rectangular old two story classical building. Entering the market, we enjoyed the sight of the place, the feeling that time stopped there for almost 50 years, with tons of wood box lining up the walls up to ceiling and indifferent cats strolling between the different vendors. We went to the second floor and around an open court were many restaurants with many waiters and owners offering food at a bargain prices. We settled at one place and had a very nice lunch, talking and admiring the old building, with rusty tin roof and bars that cross back and forth ten meters above our heads.
Going back, we picked up Lee and strolled in town till sundown time, when Lee went back to the hostel and we two continued to the old pier. While Chris sat and admired the scenery, I ventured to the Pier with two huge cranes that were positioned above it, were lovers were strolling or just kissing and hugging underneath it. A very weird thing, as I saw it back then. After taking some pictures I picked Chris and we came back to the hostel, where we stayed till the next day.

About Amsterdam, earrings and one eruption
As I said before, Chris planned on going to the beach for a week or so, and that day was beach time! We woke early because of the amount of noise from the down town traffic (mostly buses and trucks) and after a little breakfast we went down to the port and walked along the main highway leading to Vina del Mar, until we came to a place we could cross toward the beach (A metro railway went along the coast toward Vina del Mar, so we had to cross above it with the pedestrian street). But, before going to the beach we went to eat and drink some beer in Amsterdam, 100 years old bar sitting straight on the main highway. It was really nice and the ambience was awesome, with good music in the background and great posters of Merlyn Monroe, Bob Marley and old skating equipment…really, a special place to hang out.
We came to the beach half an hour later and hanged out there for some three hours, saw the locals splash into the cold pacific waters, huge Pelican fly low over the waves and dogs running after bird’s shadows…it was very funny!
We went back to
Amsterdam to take another drink after so much sun and an hour later we were back at the hostel, having a light dinner and getting ready to go back to Amsterdam to drink some beer and talk.
As I might hinted before, me and Chris were not getting along as I expected or remembered from
Cusco times. I already felt it when we were together in Santiago after a weel, and even after Lee came, but I hoped that once we gonna get going, things will get better. Well, they were not, for my disappointment. I was quite sad, because I really love Chris, his opinions and ideas, but I felt that sometime it was hard for me to talk or converse with him, as I didn’t want to get into an argument because I didn’t want to get into a “fight” with him. I admit that I had made a mistake not talking with him straight when I felt uncomfortable with him, and then trying to figure out a solution. And due to this, little by little frustration and tension kept on building all this time, until it exploded out of me in Amsterdam.
This part starts back when we were in Cusco, after Chris rushed back to Brazil to catch his flight back to Germany, some four months ago. Adi and Lee made earrings holes while Shay made his piercing in a little shop on “Gringo alley”, in a place called
Arica’s place. It looked clean and nice, but turns out that things were not that clean. While Adi was cool with her earring, Shay and Lee were suffering from pains and sensitivity at the places of the piercing and earrings. Shay at the end took it off in Lima, made a new one, only to get even more troubles later in Colombia, and at the end, removed also the second one…
Lee kept her earring all this time, suffering from pain and swelling, until finally she understand that this is not usual and she REALLY need to take them off (her mother was astonished to hear her on the MSN telling her she still wear those little things and still suffering from them…). So, when we were in Amsterdam, Lee’s thought were occupied about her earring and what she is gonna do about it, when she told Chris that she plan to go the next morning to a clinic or the local hospital so they gonna take a look and maybe take it off. Then, unfortunately for Lee, Chris told her some of his friend’s bad experiences with infected earrings/piercing and the like, that made Lee VERY nervous. Now, I knew even back then that Chris didn’t even grip what he was doing to the poor girl but I didn’t want to get into an argument with him, as I had a full belly on him and I didn’t want it to erupt like that at the table. I tried to change subject, but Lee was too worried and too curious to let go, and Chris was too eager to tell his friend’s stories, untill eventually he suggested that we gonna take the earrings off. Now, even though me and Lee thought about taking it off by ourselves, we decided it would be wiser to go to a hospital which has both the appropriate facilities and professional staff that can handle most health problems and the hell with the cost. Life and health is much more important than any amount of the bloody money. So, when Chris asked me what I think about this idea I said I think she should go to a hospital for the above reasons, and if he wants to do something of the kind, I am out of the business (even though I cared very much for Lee and her care). I am sure that Chris also cared very much for her health when he suggested that he will take it off by himself, and I guess that he wanted to relieve her out of her misery of passing one night with thoughts running through her head, but I felt back then that it would be not wise. He asked me this again, and again I told him I am not taking responsibility over this (with a certain of lose of patience) and then I thought Chris blurted something like “oh, you asshole, nevermind that”. Later, I understand that I heard it wrong, but it didn’t matter – hearing this in
Amsterdam was enough - I got REALLY pissed and it took me only one minute more before I rose up, took my coat, blurted that I am feeling shit (which I did). Chris and Lee asked if they want me to come with them, but I didn’t want to ruin their evening so I told them they can stay, I am just going back to the hostel. I stormed out of the place, cursing and making my mind on my next moves. Last time I had this situation was with Itay on Lake Titicaca, and you can imagine that I have learned my lesson..).
Crossing the highway over the pedestrian bridge, I heard a strong whistle, and looking behind I saw Lee coming behind me, flinging her jacket over her shoulders. She explained me she was tired, and more than that, wanted to know what happened because both of them never saw me like this. I explained her all the things, and that I have no choice but to tell Chris the truth that I don’t get along with him and have to take a brake from traveling with him. I told her about my feelings and about what I thought Chris said at the bar, but she said she don’t recall any of this so I decided to leave it alone. In any case, I told her, we are not getting to along and I have to part from him, not before I will spill my guts out, as I loved the guy and felt shit in any case to leave him like this. She told me also she felt the bad atmosphere and she thought it is best to tell him everything, even if it will be VERY hard (as it was indeed). I also tried to calm her down about the earring and telling her everything will be ok, but she was already having nightmares over the issue of taking it off and what would it do to her ear. She had a long and sleepless night…

About hospital session and truth session
The next day we all woke up (no mention of last night) and went down to the internet to check emails and write to Lee’s mother that Lee is going to the hospital. At the end, Chris went back to the hostel because he got burned as hell and was suffering from the intense sun above. We got to the hospital (the dirtiest I ever saw in my life even though Lee told me she saw even worse than that in Argentina…), and I companied Lee with the registration, and also when we waited some half an hour till one doctor came to see her. Lee was VERY tense but one minute after the doctor saw her earring it was out and over. They wanted me to get out of the room because it was a women only room, but I explained them that I need to translate for Lee because she don’t know Spanish well enough (and also Lee wanted me to stay there with her) until they kicked me out of the room no matter what I told them. Ten minutes later she came out, relaxed as hell, and gald even more that finally, it was over, and she would not suffer from her earrings. The ear swell will go down, the nurse told me before we left the place, so there is no need to worry any more. And surprise, surprise, we got out without any need to pay! Free of charge, how lovely!
We went back to the hostel, meeting with Chris mid way and from there we went to the restaurants court in the market place. We had a nice lunch (even better than the day before) but the atmosphere was not so good, and tension was hanging all over us like a black cloud. Chris wanted to chill-out more and me and Lee wanted to visit the hills of Valparaiso, so we left him earlier and were on our way out only to meet with guess who – Wolfgang!
Well, fact is that he emailed me only a day before that he is coming to
Valparaiso and would be glad to meet us there. It was a nice meeting and we talked for five minutes, agreeing that we would meet later at evening.
We ventured back to the streets and went to see the weirdest acsensor of them all, which was more a lift than anything else. On our way to the acsensor couple of policemen stopped us and warned us not to venture out of the compounds of the lift because it is not safe for tourist to stroll around there. Both of us were surprised of this, and indeed, once we were up there we didn’t walked down to the street.
We went back down and walked to the other side of town to the famous, touristy, colorful, and very safe area of Cerro Concepcion. Walking up the nice alleys, we found a very nice café sitting on top one of the hills shoulders, with wonderful view over the harbor and talked for couple of hours, as time passed by. We continued on walking through the twisting alleys and the colorful buildings, while enjoying ourselves very much. Everything about this place was so charming (including the people) that it was actually hard to leave and go down back to the ugly and dirty down-town.
Coming back to the hostel, Lee made dinner and I took the chance to talk with Chris in person, and tell him everything. I told him that I love him and that I waited a long time to meet him but something was not right between us and for our sakes we better split for the mean time. He took it well, and we discussed why this happened and that we would like to meet later on in our travels. We talked almost half an hour before we joined Lee eating and drinking coffee till the time when Wolf was suppose to come to the hostel. Lee felt a bit of fever and shivers, and decided to stay while Me, Chris and Wolf went to have a drink and some food (wolf) while talking about Wolf’s Journeys through
Peru in the 70’s. It was very interesting, and I saw that the two got along quite well, and we decided to meet again the following morning to see the hills.

Meeting the Alchemist before departing for Pucon
The next morning Lee felt better and we all met with Wolf near the cinema, while doing our way back to Cerro Concepcion, talking about this and that and generally enjoying the great weather and the fun of strolling up the hills before Concepcion. At one instance, we all wanted to have some coffee and we made our way back to the coffee over the cliff. Near the coffee place Lee met one of the Israelis she was traveling with on the bus to Santiago from San Pedro. Gai joined us to a coffee over the terrace and for something like an hour we all talked, sometimes Chris with wolf German and we three Israelis Hebrew, and sometimes all together in English. Gai was traveling already for 8 months and planned on extending it for more than a year, traveling through almost all the southern continent countries. He is a nice guy, intelligent, but also far from being modest.
We went down and before parting we decided to meet later that evening, while me and Lee went to buy tickets for Pucon as I got an email from Maya and Barak, two good friends of mine from
Israel that told me they landed in Santiago and have 45 days to see Chile and Argentina. I wanted to meet with them as I saw it as a special event.
After buying the tickets for the next day (6:15 am the bus from Valparaiso to Santiago and then catching the bus of 8:45 to Pucon), we went back to the hostel for a light dinner before meeting with everyone and strolling in the streets till it was too late for us and we said goodbye to everyone and made our way back to the hostel, and to packing all the things, again.
Waking up at
5:30, we managed to take off out of the hostel only by 6:10 (after parting from Chris) and as we entered the nearby bus station we saw a bus with the sign “Santiago” leaving the station. We rushed with our backpacks and managed to stop him only to grip that it was not our bus and that our bus has just left the station….SHIT! the guy came with us and managed to stop the bus right in time for us to board it. PPHHEEWWW!!!!!!! That was a close one! I didn’t want even to think what we have been through to get to Santiago on time to catch the bus to Pucon…And with that, we laid our head on the seat and tried to sleep while the bus rushed back to Santiago and closer toward the adventures of South of Chile.


LYNDA said...

Am I the only one who reads your stuff????? It's so interesting, and of course, fills in some of the blanks........
Take care, Lynda

Chen said...

Hello Lynda!
Well, indeed it looks like you are the only one, but it doesnt matter too much - as long as you are enjoying it and I am enjoying it, thats fine with me!
I am happy you find it interesting - I wish I had more time to refix all the mistakes with grammer and sentence composition, maybe when I come back to Israel..
Thanks very much and have a good week!
PS - we saw your email about Ronny and Eddie, we will reply once we gonna have more info here in Sn Martin and in Bariloche