Seals, Valparaíso






The great get-away vacation place on the coast for the Chileans! So many colorful, cliff-side homes on the coast! Oh and the street are is marvelous! The whole city has many nooks and crannies, as I found out on a trip with a few friends in October. On the coast we were able to sneak some pics of wild seals basking in the sun. Oh boy the water was cold as can be!

We met up with some of the other exchange students in the CIEE program located in Valpo and we went on a pleasant walk through the hills, and scoured the city for the best murals and street art. Valpo has a big reputation for their beautiful street art, and it didn’t disappoint! In the night we went out to “carretear,” or rallying or going out to dance at the clubs.

The legal drinking age here is 18, and everyone was 20 and up. We had a groovy time dancing, and at night there were cheap 1000 peso empanadas (cheapest you’ll find really), which is equivalent to a dollar fifty. Aji is their spiciest sauce here, and it’s on par with frank’s red hot sauce (not hot at all). However, mixing the Aji sauce with mayo (Chileans throw mayonnaise on essentially everything they eat it turns out! (Salad, yup. Hot dog, burger, pizza….sushi, yup!).

A lot of the chileans pronounce sushi as “su-chi” (just a side-note). Also, a very chilean thing they say here is “‘po” which they use at the end of certain words for emphasis, ie “sipo!,” “nopo,” o “claropo.” 

In Valpo, you’ll find a hoard of stray cats and street dogs meandering and accompanying random passersby on the street. Locals leave food out for them, and some even have homes they come back to at night, however many do not. On the metro subway transportation, there are young girls and boys that come around asking for donations for these stray animals. I, for one, always enjoy the street performers!

I’ve seen people that run out in front of the cars on a red light, and perform juggling (upwards to 10 pins), and even miming too! Street performers are also commonly found performing inside the subway trains. I’ve seen opera singers, many young rappers rhyming some smooth Spanish verses, some religious people lecturing on their faith, all with their signature speakers on wheels.

We met a few foreign exchange students from Germany and Australia at our hostel as well! Quite intriguing hearing their stories on how they came to Chile. Both were taking time off of school to backpack through chile and the surrounding countries. My German friend too had come to chile a month before classes had begun to backpack Machu Picchu in Peru. Through my time here, I’ve realized that many European students have traveled much farther and to many more places than most of my American friends. Crazy!