Posts filtered by tags: South America 2018-2019[x]


Talcahuano – Where the Milky Way Takes You Straight to Sea Lions

The first thing I did in Concepción was to leave Concepción. Initially, it was accidental. Since I didn’t know the city at all, I started the day at the Plaza de la Independencia, the local “Plaza de Armas”, aka the centre of everything. There was a tourist info centre, so I stopped by to ask for a map. Concepción really welcomes tourists. At the bus terminal, I was overloaded with brochures and recommendations. Downtown, the tourist info centre apparently hadn’t helped anyone in a while and I w...
Tags: Travel, Chile, Sea Lions, Pacific Ocean, Concepcion, South America 2018-2019, Talcahuano, Plaza de la Independencia, Vía Láctea, Concepción Thirty, South American sea

Concepción, Middle Chile – Finding the Bus is Half the Fun

After a week in Santiago, I felt the urge to go somewhere new, somewhere south but not that south that I would need winter clothes (remember, in Chile, north is hot and south is cold!) Concepción, Chile’s second-largest city, seemed like a good compromise—a six-hour bus ride isn’t a huge commitment and I rented a studio for a few days easily. I should have guessed it wouldn’t be a smooth trip just based on the bus ticket purchase. A few days before the random travel date I had picked, I went to ...
Tags: Travel, Santiago, Chile, Expedia, Mark, Concepción Chile, Concepcion, Valdivia, La Serena, La Alameda, South America 2018-2019, San Borja, Concepción Middle Chile, Pullman Sur, Pullman Tur, Tribunales

A Week of Very Santiago Moments

Most people in Santiago are walking around with groceries in their arms or holding overfilled tiny plastic bags normally used for bread or veggies. As of February 3, all plastic bags are banned in retail business in Chile, but it takes a while to adapt and remember to bring a reusable bag. In theory, supermarkets were supposed to sell paper bags, but most run out of them after a few days. A new market is emerging, though—kids selling reusable bags in front of supermarkets. Stuck with groceries ...
Tags: Travel, Santiago, Chile, Latin America, South America 2018-2019, Monjitas Santiago Kids, Santa Rosa Santiago Complete, Calle Amunátegui Santiago Every, Universidad de Chile Santiago, Bondfire

The Colourful Murals of Barrio Brasil

Santiago is getting seriously crowded. It’s not just the Canadian in me speaking—“Oh, my God, two or more people are walking in the street, must run away to a safe, empty place!”—, Chile’s capital has been experiencing a massive population boom in recent years. All around Latin America, the word got around that the economy is doing okay, no political coup can be foreseen, and the weather is nice. Old one- or two-storey buildings are being torn down, the new typical Santiago apartment is on the 2...
Tags: Travel, China, Santiago, Chile, Latin America, Plaza de Armas, Barrio Brasil, Haussman, South America 2018-2019, San Cristóbal Hill Providencia

The Cute and Cuddly Cats of La Vega Central

Remember what I said in Argentina and Uruguay about the nearly complete absence of catcalls? Apparently, Chilean men didn’t get the message that catcalling isn’t a compliment. And it’s not like I meet local beauty standards as well (long, dark hair, lipstick, platform shoes), so I’m guessing Chilean women have it worse. It’s funny how the human mind works—after five catcalls in a row one day, I started to pay attention to… cats. I was in La Vega Central, Santiago’s giant fruit and vegetable mark...
Tags: Travel, Santiago, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Pacific Ocean, La Vega Central, La Vega Chica, South America 2018-2019, Cuddly Cats of La Vega Central, La Vega Central Santiago, Mercado Central de Santiago, Avenida Recoleta

Londres 38 – Santiago’s Creepiest House

The scariest movies aren’t necessarily gory or full of mask-wearing dudes chasing potential victims armed with their weapon of choice—a disturbing atmosphere or a theme that taps into our deepest fears can keep you awake at night long after the credits rolled. Santiago’s creepiest house is a mansion located in an otherwise tiny, lovely neighbourhood, barrio París-Londres. It’s actually just a couple of cobblestone-paved streets behind the former orchard of the Iglesia de San Francisco, one of th...
Tags: Travel, Europe, Santiago, Chile, Iglesia de San Francisco, Pinochet, Londres, La Alameda, Calle Londres, South America 2018-2019, Creepiest House, Londres It, Inteligencia Nacional DINA

The Coup, The Struggle for Democracy and a New Beginning – Santiago’s Museo De La Memoria Y Los Derechos Humanos

Forty-five years ago, I wouldn’t have been able to roam around freely in Latin America—unless the other me had had a taste for military dictatorship tourism, and I don’t think she would have. Forty-five years ago, the US-backed Plan Cóndor implemented a campaign of political repression and state terror involving intelligence operations and assassination of opponents in most of South America. Forty-five years ago, Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay were right-wing dictatorshi...
Tags: Travel, US, Santiago, Chile, Argentina, Venezuela, South America, Uruguay, Central America, Latin America, Augusto Pinochet, Colombia Peru, Forty, La Moneda, Argentina Chile, Derechos Humanos

In a Parallel Universe

Don’t tell me about the winter storm that swept across America and Canada. Trust me, I know. First, I received an email from the school board: “Gee, don’t even think about sending your kid to school, are you crazy or what?” (Okay, the official wording was “Alert – OCDSB Schools and Buildings CLOSED). An email from Mark’s school followed: “No, but like seriously, we’re not taking your kid, good luck, eh!” (I may be paraphrasing; the official object was “URGENT: Schools Closed Feb. 13th, heavy sno...
Tags: Travel, America, Canada, Santiago, Chile, Nikon, Ottawa, Mark, Feng, La Serena, La Alameda, South America 2018-2019, Santiago Best

Facepalm Moment in Santiago

How many times have I stayed in Santiago? Five, ten times, maybe? I know the city pretty well. Like, for instance, I can explain you that the main avenue is Avenida Libertador General Bernardo O’Higgins, but that absolutely everyone refers to it as “La Alameda,” which can be confusing for tourists who are trying to say “General Bernardo O’Higgins” with a Spanish accent and are promptly directed to a street with a completely different name, as if it was a practical joke. The 7.77-kilometre-long a...
Tags: Travel, Santiago, Chile, North, Buenos Aires, Feng, Santa Lucia, La Serena, La Alameda, Avenida Libertador, Bernardo O'Higgins, South America 2018-2019, West of San Francisco Church, Centro Cultural Gabriela Mistral Cerro Santa Lucía, Biblioteca Nacional de Chile, Torre Entel

Beach Bumming in the Región de Coquimbo — “Turn Right, Third Cactus on the Left”

“It’s easy, really. Climb the hill with cactus all the way to the top. Then you’ll reach the Panamericana.” Right, totally normal, really. I do that every day, hiking up a rocky hill dotted with cactus taller than me. Everything is my fault. This is what happened. In the morning… okay, at noon, I walked from the cabañas to the main street, Francisco de Aguirre. This is basically the crossroad between the beach (left) and the city centre (straight). This is also where you’ll find plenty of colect...
Tags: Travel, Santiago, Chile, Vamos, Coquimbo, La Serena, Farruko, Ilha de Santa Catarina, Pedro Capo, South America 2018-2019, Francisco de Aguirre, Región de Coquimbo, Totorallilo, Cierra la pantalla Abre la Medalla Todo, Coquimbo Phew, Coquimbo Walking

Coquimbo, Its Giant Cross and the Fish Market

In La Serena, there’s the Faro Monumental, the big lighthouse that marks the beginning of Avenida del Mar and provides an endless source of inspiration for tacky souvenirs. But at the other end of the 11-kilometre-long beach, on top of a hill, there’s another city with another giant structure and, I suspected, another batch of tacky souvenirs—Coquimbo and the Cruz del Tercer Milenio. I Googled it—I had never heard of it. Apparently, the cross built in 2001 to mark the 2,000 years since the birth...
Tags: Travel, Chile, Vatican, South America, Jesus, Pacific Ocean, Cristo Redentor, Coquimbo, La Serena, South America 2018-2019, Tercer Milenio, Aldunate Hills of Coquimbo, Aldunate Church of Guayacán, Alexandre Gustave Eiffel Hills, Puerto de Coquimbo La Serena, Coquimbo Caleta de Coquimbo

La Serena, Where Everybody Knows Your Name (How??)

La Serena isn’t some pueblito in the Atacama Desert—Chile’s second-oldest city is the capital of the Coquimbo Region and it has a population of nearly 200,000 (400,000 for the Greater La Serena). Yet, it feels like a small town. Case in point, I was walking on the beach when I saw someone taking pictures of the Faro Monumental with a fancy DSLR. Since he was using a Nikon similar to mine, I thought he was my chance to get the classic tourist shot in front of the big lighthouse. He obliged me, th...
Tags: Travel, Canada, Chile, Patagonia, Nikon, Atacama Desert, La Serena, Southern Chile, South America 2018-2019, Coquimbo Region, Greater La Serena

La Serena, Its Giant Lighthouse and the Pacific Ocean

I’m glad I took a chance on La Serena—it paid off. You never know, with coastal cities. Sometimes, the beach locals rave about is small and dirty, sometimes you end up in a tiny, overpriced town along with hordes of tourists, sometimes port cities are run down and dodgy. But La Serena is lovely. I didn’t have a map, so after dropping off my backpack in the spare bedroom, I headed straight to what looked like the main avenue, Francisco de Aguirre. There were two signs: “Plaza de Armas,” straight,...
Tags: Travel, Mexico, Oregon, US, Santiago, Chile, Brazil, Guatemala, Pacific, Pacific Ocean, Atlantic Ocean, Coquimbo, La Serena, South America 2018-2019, La Serena Much, Francisco de Aguirre

People Go Crazy for “Churrascas” in La Serena

If you see people waiting in line in La Serena, join the queue—chances are you’ll be soon eating the best churrascas you’ve ever had. What, you’ve never had a churrasca? Well, neither did I, until two nights ago. But trust the French expert, this delicious stovetop bread is addictive. On my first night in La Serena, I was walking along the aptly named Avenida del Mar when I smelled the delicious aroma of freshly baked bread. I looked around—was there a bakery somewhere I had missed? But in fact,...
Tags: Travel, Food, Chile, La Serena, South America 2018-2019, Plaza de Armas La Serena, Plaza de Armas La Serena Churrascas, Plaza de Armas La Serena Another, Plaza de Armas La Serena Margarine

How to End Up in Someone’s Spare Bedroom 500 Kilometres North of Santiago

It’s pitch dark outside, which is a sure sign it’s way too early to be up, packing. I hope I’ll be able to find a taxi. I hope I won’t get lost in the maze of the San Borja bus terminal. I hope I’ll find the right bus—apparently, mine says “Iquique” (even though I’m going to La Serena) and it should arrive at platform 35 (or 41, or 24, according to the company’s employee). I hope I’m making the right move, because I have no idea where I’m going. I spent four nights in Santiago and I took surpris...
Tags: Travel, Spain, Santiago, Chile, Brazil, Expedia, Serena, Mark, Feng, Estella, Iquique, La Serena, South America 2018-2019, San Borja, Ovalle Sorry Ovalle, Santiago Between Santiago

A Rollercoaster of Emotions in Santiago

I’m on a rollercoaster of emotions when I arrive in Santiago, after the border crossing. I love this city, but I’ve never experienced it alone even if I entertained fantasies about moving here—“be realistic, Juliette!” “Yes, Feng…”. It’s 40⁰C, the taxi driver is talking way too fast and once again, I realize that even though I know the city very well, it’s going to take me a bit of time to adjust to Chile. “I’m from Argentina,” the taxi driver says apropos of nothing, as if he wanted to confuse ...
Tags: Travel, China, Russia, Canada, Santiago, Chile, Brazil, Argentina, Expedia, Liechtenstein, Mark, Andes, Mendoza, Juliette, Calle Catedral, South America 2018-2019

The Spectacular Border Crossing Between Argentina and Chile – Stuck on Top of the Andes Before 28 Hairpin Turns

Everywhere in the world, border crossing can be a long process. “Well, that’s gonna take forever,” I mutter to myself, counting the number of buses ahead of us, waiting to enter the Complejo Los Libertadores, the immigration checkpoint between Argentina and Chile. The bus stops. It’s not going to be quick and easy. It’s okay. I don’t mind being stuck on top of the Andes, between Argentina and Chile. The scenery is spectacular. I get up from my seat. “Can we… go out?” I ask, hopefully. “Oh yeah, ...
Tags: Travel, Long, Pink Floyd, Canada, Santiago, Chile, Argentina, Andes, Mendoza, Ruta, South America 2018-2019, Paso Internacional Los Libertadores That, Paso Internacional Los Libertadores Arriving, Chile Paso Internacional Los Libertadores

Mendoza – “Look, It’s Not You, It’s Me…”

Mendoza and I are not compatible. If the Argentinian city was a person, I’d probably have one of these quick, embarrassing chats with him, where I’d resort to overused lines, like “look, it’s not you, it’s me,” “you’re nice, but…” and “we can still be friends, right?” People come to Mendoza to enjoy fine Argentinian wines, like Malbec—I don’t drink. People come to Mendoza to climb the Aconcagua or at least hike to the base camp of the highest mountain in both the Southern and Western hemispheres...
Tags: Travel, Santiago, Chile, Shit, Army, Brazil, Argentina, Peru, Buenos Aires, Ottawa, Jesus Christ, Mark, Andes, Mendoza, Boulogne, Carrefour

Pizza, Pasta, Empanadas, Parillas, Medialunas, Facturas and Other Foods in Argentina and Uruguay

In Buenos Aires, last Sunday, after strolling down Calle Defensa through the San Telmo weekly craft market, I stumbled upon the actual market, the Mercado de San Telmo. It takes the inside of an entire city block but the sidewalk entrances are almost hidden, so it’s easy to miss it. I’ve been there before, but clearly not at the right time because I remembered it as a quiet place with antique stalls. This Sunday, at 3 p.m., all the small restaurants in the middle of the building, under the origi...
Tags: Travel, Food, Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Buenos Aires, Mark, San Telmo, Mercado de San Telmo, San Telmo Buenos Aires, Calle Defensa, South America 2018-2019, Pizza Pasta Empanadas Parillas Medialunas Facturas, El Hornero Two, Santa Fe Buenos Aires, Avenida Corrientes Buenos Aires Empanadas

EZE to MDZ – Buenos Aires to Mendoza

“Mendoza it is!,” I emailed Feng a few minutes after finalizing this leg of the trip, i.e. booking the hotel and the plane ticket, hoping my credit card wouldn’t be flagged for suspicious purchases—I mean, I usually use it to buy groceries at Walmart, in Ottawa, Scotiabank could legitimately worry about my whereabouts. Both transactions went through and Expedia congratulated me—“You’re going to Mendoza!” Why Mendoza? Because it’s across the country, on the east side of the Andes, close to Chile....
Tags: Travel, Walmart, Chile, Argentina, Buenos Aires, Expedia, Avenida, Air France, American Airlines, Andes, Mendoza, Aerolineas Argentinas, Ezeiza, South America 2018-2019, Ottawa Scotiabank, Mendoza Ezeiza International Airport Buenos Aires

Making Decisions – Where Next?

There are three framed pictures just above the couch, just above my head since I’m sitting here, working. It’s the kind of generic wall art you’d buy at IKEA to “personalize” your living space, conveniently forgetting that it’s unlikely it will look unique since thousands of customers had the same idea and grabbed the same cheap posters. One of them is a close-up of a woman’s eyes. Watercolour was applied to the black-and-white picture, covering it with various shades of pink. The other two are ...
Tags: Travel, Google, Canada, Ikea, Brazil, Argentina, Patagonia, Uruguay, Skype, Buenos Aires, Cordoba, Watercolour, Mark, Rosario, Mendoza, Montevideo

Lucky in Buenos Aires

I was lucky in Buenos Aires, so lucky that I extended my stay—I was only going to be there for four nights, initially. But hey, when everything works out fine, why not enjoy it? Some years, . Old, shitty hotels, prices changing daily, stressed out people and rain, for instance. But this time, I got a great, cheap apartment ($30 a day for a full studio with a kitchen!), it only rained once conveniently at night, people seemed relaxed enough and I was happy to just explore the city. I did feel lu...
Tags: Travel, Florida, Argentina, Messi, Buenos Aires, Sao Paulo, San Telmo, Carrefour, La Boca, Nunez, LaValle, La Recoleta, Fortnite, South America 2018-2019, Calle Defensa Buenos Aires Calle Defensa, Buenos Aires Calle Defensa

The Escuela Superior De Mecánica De La Armada – From a Symbol of State Terror to Human Rights Defence

Taking my brand-new Sube card out of my bag, I briefly wondered which of the two main Argentinian heritages would prevail when it comes to the state-owned train services. Did the trenes argentinos run Italian-style—“The 9:18 train will leave at… at one point…”? Or would I enjoy some Teutonic efficiency in South America—“the 9:00 a.m. train will depart between 9:00:01 and 9:00:59, offensichtlich”? And then, an employee standing by the turnstile told me not to swipe my card—the ride was free becau...
Tags: Travel, Navy, France, Argentina, South America, Buenos Aires, Retiro, Nunez, ESMA, Rio de la Plata, Rivadavia, Argentine Navy, South America 2018-2019, Escuela Superior De Mecánica De La Armada, Espacio para la Memoria, Defensa de los Derechos Humanos

Crossing Río de la Plata from Uruguay to Buenos Aires, Argentina

After going back and forth between the Colonia Express and the Buquebus ticket booths at Montevideo’s Tres Cruces Terminal, after checking the Sunday schedule several times and after converting Uruguayan pesos to Argentinian pesos to Reais in my head—don’t ask, somehow it was easier to compare prices—, I realized the cheapest way to go back to Buenos Aires was to take the 7:45 a.m. bus/boat combination across Uruguay and Río de la Plata. Fuck me. “What time do I have to be here?” The two people ...
Tags: Travel, Europe, Argentina, Uruguay, North America, Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires Argentina, Montevideo, Feng, Colonia Del Sacramento, La Boca, Rio de la Plata, Puerto Madero, Plaza de Mayo, Colonia Express, South America 2018-2019

10 Things I Discovered After 10 Days of Solo Travel

On January 18, I boarded a flight from São Paulo, Brazil, to Buenos Aires, Argentina. Two hours later, Feng and Mark also left Brazil and flew back to Ottawa. That was the plan, not a spur-of-the-moment decision. After a few days in Argentina’s capital, I travelled to Uruguay, stayed in Montevideo, took a day trip to Punta del Este and now I’m back in Buenos Aires. So, what did I learn during these first 10 days of solo travel? Feng and Mark are the only people in the entire world who can take ...
Tags: Travel, Canada, Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Nikon, Skype, Buenos Aires, Ottawa, Mark, Punta del Este, Sao Paulo Brazil, Buenos Aires Argentina, Montevideo, Feng, South America 2018-2019

Punta del Este’s Famous Hand and Beaches

The first thing you see when you step outside the bus terminal is a giant hand, five human fingers made of iron and cement and partially emerging from sand. It’s La Mano, from Chilean artist Mario Irarrázabal. Go ahead, stand beside it and ask someone to take a picture, it’s a fixture in Punta del Este. Half of Uruguay is very rural and you’ve probably never heard of cities like Paysandú, Las Piedras, Durazno or Treinta y Tres—I discover a new one every time I look at the destinations listed at ...
Tags: Travel, Atlantic, Chile, Miami, South America, Uruguay, Cannes, Buenos Aires, Expedia, Punta del Este, Montevideo, Feng, Colonia Del Sacramento, Punta, Cuzco Peru, Rio de la Plata

Friendly, Grungy Montevideo

If Buenos Aires is an old, elegant lady who puts on her fancier clothes and applies bright-red lipstick when she steps out, Montevideo is the grungy little sister with messy hair, a slogan tee, ripped jeans and not a care in the world. “Come as you are,” like Cobain was singing… Let’s make the allegory clearer. Buenos Aires feels classy and it cultivates the image of a city that looks, feels and tastes European. Downtown Montevideo looks like the kind of city where bad guys are hiding behind dum...
Tags: Travel, Brazil, Argentina, South America, Uruguay, Buenos Aires, Avenida, Montevideo, Cobain, Tres Cruces, Ta Ta, South America 2018-2019, de Julio, Julio Montevideo Avenida, Tres Cruces Terminal Montevideo, Tres Cruces Terminal Mate

Carnival (Already?!) in Montevideo

“Are you getting ready for something?” “Yes, the desfile inaugural de Carnaval tomorrow at 8:20 p.m.” “Carnival? But, but it’s…” Oh, never mind. I’m not going to be this pesky, by-the-book foreigner who feels the need to remind locals that Carnaval doesn’t start on January 24. In fact, Carnival, the summer party that rocks Brazil and the South America as a whole, is very late this year—March 1 to March 9. But Montevideo has the world’s longest Carnival, starting in January through early March. S...
Tags: Travel, Brazil, South America, Uruguay, Carnival, Latin America, Montevideo, South America 2018-2019, Gramillero, Escobero, Julio Montevideo Uruguay Desfile

Boat + Bus to Montevideo, Uruguay

I had no reason to go to Montevideo, which is precisely why I decided to cross the Río de la Plata. It was one of these “eh, why not?” moments. Uruguay is right there, in front of Buenos Aires, and I like Montevideo. Why shouldn’t I go? It took me a while, but I found a hotel. That was the hardest part. Montevideo is fairly small and old, it fills up quickly. “Okay, if my credit card gets through and if I manage to buy the boat/bus ticket, I’m going,” I told myself. Sometimes, transactions made ...
Tags: Travel, Argentina, Uruguay, Buenos Aires, Montevideo, Colonia, Montevideo Uruguay, Colonia Del Sacramento, Rio de la Plata, Colonia del Sacramento Uruguay, Tres Cruces, Colonia Express, South America 2018-2019

Buenos Aires Changed! (Or Did It?)

Buenos Aires isn’t exactly terra incognita to me—I lost track of how many times we stayed in Argentina’s capital there since our initial trip to South America in 2002. It’s a good destination for travellers. The big, cosmopolitan city is a hub in South America and it’s surprisingly affordable for many foreigners since the country is (always) in deep economic trouble. It’s one of these places that doesn’t change much because like their European ancestors, Argentinians tend to cling to the past, t...
Tags: Travel, Florida, Kentucky, Brazil, Argentina, South America, Buenos Aires, Palermo, Bolivia, San Telmo, Recoleta, LaValle, Casa Rosada, Puerto Madero, Obelisco, Porteños

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