Thursday, May 23, 2013

Valparaíso - week two (May 12th - 18th, 2013)

Our second week in Valparaíso began with an attempt to cook a pizza together with Stefan and Iris, whom we´d met at the language school. However, the lady running their hostel told us that the oven tends to explode from time to time, and strongly discouraged us from using it. We therefore decided to make pancakes instead using the same ingredients, and the result was nice and spicy.

During weekdays, we continued our lessons. I was amazed by the expressiveness of the Spanish language. For example, there is a special way (using the simple future tense) to ask questions to which you don´t expect an answer. How often do I ask these kind of questions? I wonder if it would improve communication if I could indicate that I am just mumbling to myself and would not appreciate the typical ¨how the heck should I know?¨ response...

Together with the other students and one of the teachers (Sebastián), we went on a boat trip at the harbor. Valparaíso was historically and is also nowadays one of Chile´s most important ports. The port is so important to the city´s inhabitants that they even call themselves porteños.
Boat trip in Valparaíso
Sea lions enjoying the sun

We also visited the Naval and Maritime Museum, one of Valparaíso´s cemeteries, and a former prison that has been turned into a cultural park. Here we experienced ¨seeing with eyes shut": we were told to keep our eyes shut while a bright white light was flashed before our eyes at different frequencies. It was amazing - I could see rivers, flowers, stars and many other shapes in various colors - but it gave me a slight head-ache.

Inner courtyard of Naval Museum

Radek and I also went to the nearby town of Viña del Mar, which is a popular vacation destination for Chileans (Valparaíso is more visited by foreigners). In the archeological museum Fonck, we learned how to shrink the heads of our enemies, and saw a Moai from Easter Island.

Moai in front of Fonck museum in Viña del Mar

We had a really nice time in Valparaíso and the surroundings, but were also somewhat happy to leave. The reason for this was that the dog and cat at our hostel, who were actually quite cute (see below), were not well trained and kept leaving small ¨presents¨ around the building.



This reminded me of a joke I had read the previous week in Celia Riverbank´s ¨You Can´t Drink All Day If You Don´t Start in the Morning¨:

A group of kindergarten children were told not to use baby talk anymore.
Teacher: ¨From now on, you just use big-people words. Now tell me what y´all did this weekend.¨
Little boy: ¨I went to visit my nana!¨
Teacher: ¨You mean to say your grandmother.¨
Another boy: ¨I rode a choo-choo.¨
Teacher: ¨You mean you rode the train.¨
Then a third little boy says he read a book and the teacher smiles and asks, ¨What book did you read?¨
The little boy thinks for a minute, then puffs his chest out really big, all proud of his answer, and says, ¨Winnie the Shit

Photos of our second week in Valparaíso and Viña del Mar are here.


  1. Very nice Laura ... Have a wonderful time and looking forward to more blogs of the trip :)

  2. Learning to shrink heads?! Just what sort of school is this?
    We miss you even though we are now scared of you. ;-)


    Ann y Harvey