We wanted to go somewhere in Chile, but we were not sure where exactly. This is a big country… or rather a long and narrow strip of land, stretching from Arica to Patagonia. Eventually, we picked Valparaiso, an easy two-hour bus ride from Santiago.

I scored great seats on the bus—at the front, upstairs. Pure luck. “Look, Mark, if you sit here, quiet, you will be able to see everything. Like in a movie. We are going to go fast!” I promised.

“Ohhhh… big truck. Train. Truck. Fast! Big truck. Big truck. Big truck.”

I should not have said anything. Mark turned into this annoying audio voice for the first hour of the trip.

“Oh oh… stuck.”

“Yeah, well, maybe if you did not move so much, you would not get tangled into the seat belt. How did you even do that?”

In the end, I bribed him with butter cookies. Anyone would have done the same, really. Come on, I had to finish my book!

The ride was awesome. Picture a long stretch of road, mountains, and a lush valley. We drove through a couple of tunnels, got stuck into a traffic jam, sped on the open road again and eventually arrived in Valparaiso.

“Ahem… are we in Bolivia or something?” I said when seeing the chaotic streets and the open-air market stretching for several blocks. Valparaiso is a port city and isn’t as rich and polished as Santiago.

But it turned out to be awesome.

After we checked in, I wanted to go back to the centre, downhill, to see the huge market. We took the very efficient city train from Puerto to Barón and dove into the crowd.

I had never seen anything like this before—“this” being the freshest and most colourful fruits and veggies ever on display. The corns were the size of my calf, and the watermelons were almost bigger than Mark. The oranges and mandarin were dripping with juice and the bananas were twice the regular size of the ones we can find in Canada. I don’t even like most fruits, but I would have tasted them all. Mark had four mandarinas in a row.

The rest of the city downhill was just an endless chaotic market, with shops encroaching onto the sidewalks and vendors selling socks, souvenirs, sewing kits, glue, lighters, X-rated movies (“Wanna buy ‘Come and Bang my Wife?’ I asked Feng. “I heard the New York Times reviews are absolutely fantastic.”), made-in-China toys, cutlery sets and a bunch of other stuff. I almost felt like stopping right there and selling the content of the stroller, just to join the crowd—“one overactive toddler, two diapers, wipes, plastic bags, one kilo of mandarinas, one avocado, one pack of cigarette, two crushed cookies, sunglasses and other crap we carry with us!”

The chaos made me happy. I like cities with a pulse, a heart, a soul.

And I was about to be even more amazed by the hills…

Bus Station in Santiago
Bus Station in Santiago
On the Road to Valparaiso
On the Road to Valparaiso
On the Road to Valparaiso
On the Road to Valparaiso
On the Road to Valparaiso
On the Road to Valparaiso
On the Road to Valparaiso
On the Road to Valparaiso
... and the Taxi Dropped Us Off
… and the Taxi Dropped Us Off
The Harbour
The Harbour
The Harbour
The Harbour
The Harbour
The Harbour
The City Train
The City Train
The City Train
The City Train
Downtown Valparaiso
Downtown Valparaiso
Downtown Valparaiso
Downtown Valparaiso
Downtown Valparaiso
Downtown Valparaiso
The Market
The Market
The Market
The Market
The Market
The Market
The Market
The Market
The Market
The Market
The Market
The Market
The Market
The Market
The Market
The Market
The Market
The Market
The Market
The Market
The Market
The Market
Downtown Valparaiso
Downtown Valparaiso
Downtown Valparaiso
Downtown Valparaiso
Downtown Valparaiso
Downtown Valparaiso
Downtown Valparaiso
Downtown Valparaiso
Downtown Valparaiso
Downtown Valparaiso
Dinner
Dinner
Dinner
Dinner

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6 Comments

  1. I Say Oui January 28, 2015 at 1:27 pm

    I love bus and train rides! You definitely snagged the best seats. I like the photos of the open road.

    Reply
  2. see you January 29, 2015 at 8:42 pm

    I always miss fruit market in Canada they make me fresh

    Reply
  3. Christiane February 3, 2015 at 4:50 pm

    I love bustling markets like this !

    Reply
  4. Colleen Brynn February 22, 2015 at 2:22 pm

    Oh I didn’t catch that market but I did get to one crazy market in Santiago… it’s amazing, the fruits and everything they sell… all parts of the animals and bright fruits and veg and loads of flowers… a photographer’s dream.
    My trip to Valparaiso felt weird… I wasn’t expecting it to be so huge. I don’t know why, I guess my research was just incomplete. I thought it was supposed to be some cute seaside town, but I think it’s actually Chile’s second largest city or something. I was put off only because of my shock, not by any fault of the city’s. I loved snapping pics of that harbour! Some of my favourites from that day came from there!

    Reply
    1. Zhu February 22, 2015 at 9:19 pm

      I completely understand your feeling, happened to me in other cities where I was expecting something and the place turned out very different. Veracruz, for instance. I was picturing it as a nice harbour but in fact, it was very industrial and not cute at all. I knew Valparaiso was the biggest port and it actually turned out cuter than I had thought!

      Reply
  5. Pingback: People of Santiago (Ciao Chile!)

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