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Accent on the ‘I’

November 29, 2009

When I first arrived in Santiago, my taxi driver offered to bring to to Viña del Mar, a wine town on the ocean, as you might guess, and a place whose name began with ‘val’ and ended with something that sounded, well, Spanish. His offer wasn’t exactly generous so I didn’t take him up on it but, a day later, I realized the accent was on the ‘I’: val-pa-ra-EEE-so. The soft consonants and lazy vowels we used in high school were way off.

While I didn’t make it to Valparaíso during that stay, I broke up my flight to stop over in Santiago so I would have another chance. I went today, and it was worth it. After a 90-minute bus ride west, and downwards, I arrived in the middle of Valparaíso’s port-city bustle. Colors were flying everywhere. My guidebook told me, however, that the views were the best thing about the city so I spent the day wandering up steep streets to hilltops.

Atop Cerro Bellavist was La Sebastiana, a house that once belonged to poet /über-national hero Pablo Neruda and is now a museum dedicated to him. While the Chileans’ devotion to him borders on cultish (I guess we have JFK), it is unfortunate that there aren’t more people like him in the United States today, that is, artists who play a significant role in politics. Plus, he had a really sweet house.

Here are some pictures:

A view of the bay.

The first time I've been unable, as opposed to unwilling, to finish my fruit.

Pablo Neruda's bar.

To win the Nobel Prize, write with a view like this.

The Chilean Congress - obviously built during a dictatorship.

Guanacos and other colors.

Big ships.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. kteng permalink
    December 7, 2009 1:26 am

    i want that fruit plate

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