Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Weekend on the Coast

Okay, so the whole being regular about the blog hasn't worked out so far, but here's some pics and a summary of last weekend.

I went to the reception aboard the USS Doyle. They had just completed some excercises with the Chilean Navy as part of Teamwork South 2009.

On board was Donald Toso '01 who I knew from A&M. I got a pic with him and a hat.

After the reception I spent the night at Mike's who I had met the first week I was in Santiago. His wife is the Naval Attache in Valparaiso and he offered to let me crash at his place if I ever made it over. I took him up on his offer. The balcony pics are from his house. His wife Rene was out of town up north where the other ships in the excercise had gone. Mike turned out to be a great guide and I had two great days on the coast.

The first day (Sat) I slept in and then we went down to the shore in Vina del Mar. Walked the board walk and had lunch in a little place. I got waylaid by some gypsies who Mike pointed out too late for us to avoid. They ended up scamming me out of a few bucks. I knew I was probably going to lose money going in, but I figured what the hell.

Sunday was spent walking around Valparaiso. Of the two Valpo is much more interesting. It is older and less developed but has a lot more character. I went up one of the ascensors that take people up the steep hills. It was kind of like the first part of a roller coaster, but you're hoping that you don't get the drop at the end. They are old and privately maintained, but mostly seem to function just fine. They have taken graffiti to a whole new level in Valpo and the houses and buildings are very colorful. There was a mix of run down and maintained places, and shops and cafes all over.

After a stop to enjoy yet another pisco sour (a Chilean specialty drink that I will describe in a later blog) Mike dropped me off near the bus station and I made my way back to Santiago, took the metro back to near the Embassy, and then drove home.

All in all it was a great weekend.

For all the pics you can go to Facebook, Shutterfly, and Flickr. Most of you should have gotten invites or notifications from at least one of these. I recommend shutterfly because it has everything right now. If you don't have facebook, well, you should because its the easiest way to keep up. Okay, more to come soon, I have topics written down, they just haven't made it to here yet, but they will.