Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Back in Valpo!

First post for a month, been out of town but now back in Valpo!

Saturday, 9 October 2010


George Bush Junior allegedly said that ' the problem with the French is that they don't have a word for entrepreneur' .  Well, I can report with confidence that entrepreneurialism (in this case in the tricycle hiring sense) is well and truly alive in the streets and squares of Valparaiso.

Friday, 8 October 2010

Mapuche hunger strike (huelga de hambre)

After 82 days most Mapuche participants involved in this hunger strike finally put it to an end.  Read more about the reasons for their actions here.

Monday, 4 October 2010

would have been seven short of a century today

Today is the 93rd anniversary of the birth of iconic Chilean folk singer-songwriter Violeta Parra.  In celebration and commemoration of her life, musicians played this evening in Valparaiso's Plaza Anibal Pinto.  In this photograph Natalia Contesse and her band are in the swing of things.

Here is a link to a clip of one of Violeta Parra's most renowned songs 'gracias a la vida' (thanks to life) 


Sunday, 3 October 2010

taking on the giant

Meet Maik Pap, one of the  extraterrestrial ambassadors of Chilean soft drink company Bilz y Pap.

Thanks to the hard work of Maik and his otherworldly colleagues, Bilz y Pap has made significant inroads into this wedge of the lucrative telluric market. 

Saturday, 2 October 2010

expanding cranial circumference

 Street performers in Plazuela San Luis.  Another attraction of the 'Mil Tambores' (1000 drums) festival.

Friday, 1 October 2010

cuerpos pintados (painted bodies)

Today was the showcase day of Valparaiso's Mil Tambores (one thousand drums) festival.

The 'cuerpos pintados' (painted bodies) were a centerpiece.

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

a place to ....... El Cementerio de Disidentes

View across to 'El Cementerio de Disidentes' (Dissident's cemetery).  This cemetery was created for non-Catholics (primarily Brits and other Europeans) who were not permitted to be sepulchered in other cemeteries in Valparaiso.  

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

relics conveying a simple message

                                                           Turn off the TV.

                                                           Live your life.

Monday, 27 September 2010

pondering life (on the outside)

If you are a pet lover you may well be content in the streets of Valparaiso as there is certainly no shortage of stray cats and, in even greater numbers, dogs to say hello to in your wanderings.  On the other hand, you may feel yourself sympathising with their plight as many eke out a pretty harsh existence.  Either way,  of canine and feline companions, lack you will not.  I am not sure of this tabby's domicile status, although, given its portliness, it is seemingly not on too bad a wicket. 

Sunday, 26 September 2010

black and white and read all over

El Mercurio De Valparaiso is the oldest continuously circulating newspaper not just in Chile but in the Spanish language.  This billboard is between Valparaiso and Viña del Mar.

Friday, 24 September 2010

look to the right, look to the left. faces.

It's hard to keep the focus off Valparaiso's stupendously killer street art for too long.

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Trying to blend in. Does it work?

                                                          The old.

                                                           The new.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

respiratory problems?

The proprietor seems okay.  Happily sold me a bottle of oyster sauce.

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

keep the beat

Percussive tings of metal on gas bottles is a frequent and familiar sound in the neighbourhoods of Valparaiso.

Monday, 20 September 2010


Plenty of chicha has been drunk all over Valparaiso and Chile this long weekend in celebration of Chile's 200 years of independence.

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Saturday, 18 September 2010

Thursday, 16 September 2010

keep on keeping on

                  Old school trolley buses still chug along Valparaiso's city streets.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

catch of the day

                                                No shortage of fish in Valparaiso.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

when in Valpo

According to Wikitravel's Valparaiso article,  'going to Valparaiso and not going on the ascensores is like going to Venice and not taking a ride on a gondola.' 

There are several of these funiculars dotted around the city rising to spectacular vantage points and saving the need for some fatigue-inducing steep climbs on foot.   This one goes up to the Playa Ancha (Wide Beach) neighbourhood.  

Monday, 13 September 2010

washing day, lemon scented

                                           Clear skies in Valparaiso today.

Sunday, 12 September 2010

attention atheists, agnostics and heathens

Evangelist late on a crisp Sunday afternoon in one of Valparaiso's many town squares.

Bible in hand, pacing up and down, getting into the swing of things, finding her rhythm, spreading the word.

Saturday, 11 September 2010

37 years on

Chile has its own monumental 9/11.  On this day 37 years ago the Allende government was ousted in a coup d'état and a military dictatorship was installed led by General Augusto Pinochet.  Democracy was not restored until 1990 after years of abuse of human rights, torture and dissapearances.

 On this same day, Salvador Allende delivered a final address to the nation from the presidential palace before committing suicide.

Friday, 10 September 2010

topography and art

                 A helter-skelter collection of houses on one of Valparaiso's many hills.

                                                         Peering out over.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Reason for being

A working port. 

Poem of the day: Cafe del Poeta, Valparaiso

"Don't expect things to change if we always do the same"

A crisis is the greatest blessing that can happen to a person or country because crisis brings progress.  Creativity is born from anguish as day is born of the dark night.  It is in crisis that ingenuity, discoveries and great strategies are born.  He who overcomes a crisis overcomes himself without being defeated.  He who attributes his crisis to his failures and shortcomings assaults his own talent and pays more respect to problems than solutions.

The true crisis is the crisis of incompetence.  The problem of people and countries is the laziness to find a way out, a solution.  Without crisis there are no challenges, without challenges life is a routine, a slow agony.  Without crisis there is no merit.  It is in crisis that the best of each of us blossoms because without crisis every wind is a caress.  To speak of crisis is to promote it and to keep quiet is to exalt conformity.  Instead of this let's work hard.  Once and for all let's get rid of the only threatening crisis;  the tragedy of not wanting to fight to overcome it.


*  The translation from the Spanish is mine and I do not assure its accuracy.

Monday, 6 September 2010

Just to whet the appetite

Rapa Nui (Easter Island/Isla de Pascua), an external Chilean territory, is separated from the mainland by a wide expanse of the Pacific.  The intrepid are beckoned with this replica moai situated on the coast of Valparaiso providing just a hint of the unique Polynesian culture beyond.  One day. 

Sunday, 5 September 2010

Salvador Allende; Luchar,Trabajar,Estudiar. Struggle, Work, Study

The memory of Salvador Allende (1908-1973), Chile's popularly elected Marxist leader lives on in the streets of left-leaning Valparaiso.  He is popularly paid homage in the city's street art.  Here, the Salvador Allende People's Library on Almirante Montt provides reading material and space to today's political and historical bibliophiles.         

Saturday, 4 September 2010

Valparaiso; architectural gem

It is very likely that the amazing architecture of Valparaiso will be what first catches your eye and leaves you saying 'wow!'.  The pastels of these houses on Cerro Alegre are typical of many residences.

Friday, 3 September 2010

View over Valparaiso and port from Pablo Neruda's "La Sebastiana"

Valparaiso, an important Chilean port city on the Pacific Ocean will provide the images for this blog.  It is a unique city full of steep streets, innumerable suburban staircases, amazing architecture, vibrant street art, quirky bars and cafes and of course thousands of Chilean Porteños.  It is also a UNESCO world heritage site.  Chile's most renowned literary figure Pablo Neruda lived part of his life here as well.  This photograph, looking out over part of the city to the harbour is taken from the study of his house "La Sebastiana".