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


 

It Wasn’t a Waste of Time

I was going to get up early, “transform my body ten minutes a day” as promised on YouTube, work, take a proper lunch break, work some more and sleep at least ten hours a night. I was going to watch the latest movies, enjoy coffee shops in picturesque locations, and relax with a book on the beach and in public parks. I was going to write another manuscript and relentlessly pitch my Filial Piety to publishers and literary agents. I was going to check out a bar and a nightclub, just once, for the e...
Tags: Travel, Youtube, France, Time, Canada, Santiago, Chile, North America, Skype, Mark, Feng, Sarah Pekkanen, Liane Moriarty, Sophie Kinsella, Lisa Gardner, Marian Keyes


AC 093

Who the fuck decided it was a good idea to schedule a 10-hour flight at 9:00 am? Not only you have to get up at 5:30 a.m. and find a taxi at 6 a.m., but you waste a full day in the plane and you probably can’t doze off because of the many mundane on-board activities, from meal service to duty-free. I like late-afternoon or night flights. You just sit down, buckle up, sleep and wake up where you’re supposed to be. I knew I’d be leaving in the morning when I bought the ticket, but three months ago...
Tags: Travel, Mexico, Toronto, Canada, Santiago, Chile, New Zealand, Montreal, Skype, Calgary, Expedia, Ottawa, Benicio Del Toro, Mark, Sebastian, Feng


Latino Mysteries That Still Keep Me Awake at Night

“Yesterday night, for the first time in seven weeks, I realized I was missing you,” I told Feng on Skype. “I really wished you were there.” “Huh?” “Oh, yes, I did. See, I squeezed the last bit of toothpaste out of the tube in the morning. Bad timing to run out of it since I’m leaving in two days and I’m not a big fan of Chilean toothpaste. I mean, it’s a bit of a waste to spend $2 on a new tube I’m probably going to leave behind. But if you had been here, I would have used yours!” We both laughe...
Tags: Travel, China, Santiago, Chile, Brazil, Venezuela, South America, Jesus, Uruguay, Skype, Chinatown, Ottawa, Rio, Sao Paulo, Mark, San Isidro


La Moneda – A Rare Glimpse Inside Chile’s Presidential Palace

Santiago is pretty generous with residents and tourists. Admission is free to many great museums—including the Museo Historico Nacional, the Museo Nacional de Historia Natural, the Museo de Artes Visuales (MAVI), the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes and the Museo de la Memoria y los Derechos Humanos—and parks are open to the public until late at night. Few places are off limits in the capital, except, quite understandably, the Palacio de la Moneda, the seat of the President of the Republic of Chil...
Tags: Travel, Canada, Santiago, Chile, South, Presidential Palace, Pinochet, Salvador Allende, Palacio de la Moneda, Derechos Humanos, Allende, Republic of Chile, Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, South America 2018-2019, Museo de la Memoria, Museo Historico Nacional


Dark and Dangerous

I came back to Santiago the morning after International Women’s Day. The march must have been something, the walls of buildings all along La Alameda were covered with hundreds of graffiti and posters. A special attention was paid to churches and Catholic universities, with slogans such as “legalize abortion,” “kill your rapist,” “get pedophiles out” and “we are the voice of those who have none.” And then I stumbled upon three men perched on ladders painting over graffiti. Obviously, they were hi...
Tags: Travel, Pink Floyd, West, Santiago, Chile, Catholic, Dslr, Latin America, Ottawa, Feng, Nepean, Barrio Lastarria, La Alameda, Metropolitan Park, Bellas Artes, South America 2018-2019


The Shopping Carts Mystery

When I moved into the studio I’m renting in Santiago, I noticed several shopping carts parked by the elevator, in the lobby of the residential high-rise building. Clearly, they didn’t belong here, but I didn’t think much of it. Except that every night, the shopping carts were gone for a few hours, and they would reappear the next morning. Now, this was an intriguing mystery. In Canada, I would have assumed that people without a car were “borrowing” a cart to haul groceries back home. But this is...
Tags: Travel, Colombia, Canada, Santiago, Chile, Peru, Venezuela, Latin America, Caracas, Universidad Catolica, Santa Isabel, Calle Catedral, South America 2018-2019, Santiago Lider Walmart, Dominican Republic Haiti Bolivia, Across La Alameda


Four Days in Santiago

After three days in Valparaíso, I packed again to travel back to Santiago. On the last night, after picking up the best pollo-queso empanada ever from the corner store (they baked one just for me after I praised the food I had grabbed the day before!), after a long and interesting chat with the artist whom I was renting the room from, and after wondering how the hell I was going to find a taxi on top of a quiet cerro on a Sunday morning, I briefly considered coming back to Valparaíso the followi...
Tags: Travel, Santiago, Chile, Valparaiso, Cerro Santa Lucía, Valpo, South America 2018-2019, Barrio Italia


Soulless Viña del Mar

There are only eight kilometres between Valparaíso and Viña del Mar, seven metro stations from Puerto to Miramar, but the two cities are a world apart. Valparaíso is a colourful mess, Viña del Mar is a monochromatic grid. In Valpo, grass is smoked, in Viña, it’s watered and trimmed to perfection. In Valpo, you’ll stay in an old two-storey house with hardwood flooring, in Viña, you can enjoy a functional apartment in a modern condo. In Valpo, you’ll grab a handroll from a guy standing at a busy s...
Tags: Travel, Jesus, Valparaiso, Miramar, McDonald, Viña del Mar, VINA, Puerto, Valpo, Balneário Camboriú, South America 2018-2019, Playa Acapulco, Estación Barón Valparaíso Estero Viña, Muelle Vergara Viña, Mar Muelle Vergara Viña


Found in Santiago – China, Korea, Peru, Colombia, and Venezuela

I still remember our first visit to Santiago in 2002 very well. I didn’t find the city particularly remarkable, although it felt clean and modern after Equator, Peru and Bolivia—as in, having running water was normal and there was no shit in the (paved!) streets. But overall,  Santiago was quite sleepy, quite boring. We stayed in a hostel, and we went to see Vanilla Sky. We splurged on a great lunch at the fish market and for dinner, I remember hesitating between fries, hot dogs, and fries with ...
Tags: Travel, China, Colombia, Santiago, Chile, Venezuela, Bolivia, Maduro, Chavez, San Isidro, equator Peru, San Alfonso, South America 2018-2019, China Korea Peru Colombia, Centro China, Unión Latinoamericana


The Valparaíso Option

“I think I’m gonna spend a few days Valpo this weekend.” “Oh, cool. Go for it.” “Yeah.” “What, what’s wrong? Can’t find a place?” “As a matter of fact, I’ve just spent an hour online looking for accommodation.” Valparaíso is backpacker central. Chile’s most colourful city is also a magnet for rich tourists, artists and pretty much anyone who lands in Santiago—it’s next door to the capital, only two hours by bus. To accommodate everyone and hopefully every budget, there are literally hundreds of ...
Tags: Travel, Santiago, Chile, Brazil, Starbucks, Ushuaia, Valparaiso, Don, CUMMING, VINA, Feng, Valpo, South America 2018-2019, Amazonas Peru Bolivia


The Murals of Barrio Bellavista

Of all the central barrios of Santiago, it’s probably Bellavista I know the least. I walk across it every time I go to the Metropolitan Park because it’s nested at the bottom of San Cristóbal Hill, but it’s mostly popular with drinkers because that’s what you do in Bellavista—you drink. I mean, you can’t miss Santiago’s main pub street, Pío Nono. The sidewalk is always sticky even during the day, when it’s dead quiet, and the smell of beer lingers long after weekend parties. On Friday nights, it...
Tags: Travel, Santiago, Chile, Starbucks, Uruguay, BellaVista, Barrio Bellavista, Marley Coffee, Metropolitan Park, San Cristóbal Hill, Bellas Artes, Cafe Haiti, La Chascona, South America 2018-2019, Plaza Italia Santiago, Brasil Cafe Caribe


Avenida Vitacura — Santiago’s Beverly Hills

“Let’s see… how much money do I need today?” I laughed at my own question. Considering the plans for the afternoon, whatever I have in my wallet never be enough. Every day, I take a bit of cash with me, usually 20,000—oh, stop wanting to be my friend, these are Chilean pesos, it’s about $40. For “normal Santiago,” it’s plenty, but on Avenida Vitacura, it’s probably nothing. Santiago is huge. I know the city pretty well from Quinta Normal through Providencia—Barrio Brasil with the Museum of Memor...
Tags: Travel, France, Santiago, Chile, Beverly Hills, Google Maps, Rodeo Drive, Providencia, Las Condes, Cerro San Cristóbal, Pedro de Valdivia, Barrio Brasil, Metropolitan Park, Museum of Memory and Human Rights, Bellas Artes, Quinta Normal


To the Virgin and Back

“Tengo sed,” it said on the Cross. “I’m thirsty too, Jesus. I’ve just hiked to the top of Cerro San Cristóbal—and by the way, I have no idea how to go down. What’s your story, already?” I’m wearing the wrong t-shirt for a holy place again—the “Ni Dio, Ni Amo” one. My fault. But hey, it’s laundry day and I wasn’t planning to end up at the feet of the Virgin Mary. I’m never inspired on Sundays. In most cities around the world, including Santiago, it’s suspiciously quiet—streets are empty, stores a...
Tags: Travel, Santiago, Chile, South America, Jesus, Sao Paulo, Mark, Andes, Virgin Mary, Juliette, Cross, Providencia, Cerro San Cristóbal, Barrio Bellavista, Pedro de Valdivia, San Cristóbal Hill


… And This is What Concepción Looked Like

I’m not in love with every single place I visit, which I think is pretty normal (and it also makes life easier because I’m already addicted to too many cities). I wasn’t in love with Concepción, even before what happened at the hotel. “It feels a bit like… La Plata without the diagonals—it’s actually a sister city of Concepción!—, or Rennes without the crêpes and the drinking problem,” I told Feng. “There’s a big university with an open campus and tons of pizza and sushi joints. Probably a good ...
Tags: Travel, Santiago, Chile, University of Toronto, Centro, Rennes, Feng, La Plata, Concepcion, Merivale Road, Universidad de Concepcion, South America 2018-2019, Bío Bío River, Calle Castellón Concepción


… And This Is Why I Left Concepción

“Hey, how are you doing?” “We’re okay! Did you have a good day?” “Well… No.” I can be bluntly honest with Feng, who knows exactly how fast travelling can go from “awesome” to “let’s get the hell out of here.” So, this is what happened. I usually book studios or hotel rooms on Expedia. I’m not always a big fan of it—God forbid you ever need to reach them over the phone—but it works pretty well in Latin America. In Chile, Expedia doesn’t charge your card, you pay at check in. The property manager ...
Tags: Travel, Santiago, Chile, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Skype, Latin America, Expedia, Ottawa, Feng, Concepcion, South America 2018-2019, Talcahuano, Panama Feng, Santiago Back


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