Now to the right. That is Vina Del Mar, from Valparaiso. I live there! AH!
In front of a graffiti wall. I was supposed to look mad but I ended up laughing at myself, naturally.
Part of our group from the U. These people are so much fun!
This is Valparaiso's housing. Like I said, unorganized.
Two out of three of the groups at the cafe. MMM!
This is our tour group in front of this amazing navy office headquarters.
This is their "graffiti". It isnt illegal if it is good. I am not lying.
This is where I go to school!!!!
This is my pal, Beth. She is so awesome. We are sticking together here.
This is a hot dog with guacamole, tomatoes, mayo and ketchup. SO GOOD!
There are 50,000 homeless dogs in Valparaiso alone.
This is the University the courtyard of the University de Catolica.
Vina Del Mar, where I live.
So… I went on my first adventure here. The group from the U that has like 20 kids in it all went on a walking tour of Valparaiso. I LOVE THIS CITY! It is amazing. The city is really really old, first built in about 1500. The Spanish didn’t want people to settle this area because of some trade conflicts and they wanted to control the ports so people slowly just came here and started building things wherever they wanted. So then they finally settle the area and there are just a lot of random houses and stuff everywhere so they just built around that stuff. It is so cluttered and SUPER unorganized, especially in the hills overlooking the city. (My friend here,) Beth and I want to go back up there to shop and stuff. Anyway, we just walked around the city and then went up into the hills. “How do you get into the hills?” I asked. Oh a gondola is easiest because the roads are so steep that they don’t really have buses that go up there. (Oh yeah, we travel soley by bus. I am soo good at public transportation now… more on that later.) So we get on the gondola and head up. So steep!!!! Then we all go around the hills and see everything. We went to a café and got “coffee” cause chileans LOVE their coffee. There I had the BEST “Pancake chocolate”. SO GOOD. It was like layered crepe-pancakes with some layers of raspberry jam stuff and layers of chocolate in between. HEAVENLY. (Of course I got desert instead of a drink haha). Then we just went back down and went home! It was so awesome. I love it here now.
The culture here is a little different. People walk up to you and if they know the people you are with, they just like hug you and kiss you and are like, “Tu eres muy linda!” (You are very pretty). They are way friendly. Taxi drivers are so funny. If they can, they will help you, along with everyone else. If you have a camera out here, they yell at you “sacar fotos!” (take pictures of them). They love it. People stare sometimes, a lot in the buses and the more americans I have around me, the more I get stared at. It is funny though. The food is good so far. I had a hot dog yesterday with guacamole and mayonnaise and tomatoes on it. It was SO good (minus the mayo. They love their mayo here). It is winter here and is cold. I brought flats which was a mistake, but there is a mall that is 5 stories that has a million stores, a bowling alley, a movie theater (with movies in English so I am waiting for “My Sisters Keeper” to get there!!!!) it is just a normal urban area. Oh and the buses, before I forget. The buses are PACKED everyday. No matter when you are on them. They are owned by private “companies” aka people who just bought a bus and drives it around. I haven’t gotten lost on one yet but they are so entertaining. They cost about $440 (pesos) so like 75 cents US. It is so nice. They take you wherever you need to go. Literally and are easy to figure out cause you just look in the window on the bus and they have cardboard-ish signs that say where they go to and from. It is really nice. People drive like hooligans here. They make me look like a wussy driver. No one stops when the lights turn red because there aren’t police really to pull you over. Haha it is awesome! I love it here! AH!
Hopefully this weekend I will go on another adventure to Santiago, the big city I flew into. We are trying (beth and i) to get a group together to all go and explore and go do fun things there and hit up the temple while we are there. How great would that be!? I know… haha. More to come later.
PS. I just want to say I love you family and friends! This week has been rough so far, but I really am so thankful for the support I have at home! Love you all!!!! I will be seeing you soon!