Vina del Mar and Valpariso

12 - 13 August 2003

Vina del Mar is a quaint sea side town just outside of Santiago. Valpariso is a really horrible port that Jason wanted to visit because it has lots of history and some ascensors that take you up and down surrounding hills..... It has far too many dodgy streets and naval museums for Claire's liking but we decided it would be worth a look.

.... some feedback to date from our fans includes:

"... Jason isn't camera shy..."

"... is Claire still on the trip..."

... so as requested by popular demand here comes Claire week!

We stayed in Vina del Mar which is a beach resort where Santiago residents come to play and stay in the high rises that line the beach.

Claire walking a pole in a local park. Jason wandered of for a while and Claire was approached and asked if she was 'solo' (alone)... Jason thinks she pulled in the park and it turned out to be ranger stalking her.

... anyway enjoy the action Claire photo!

We took a short train to the port of Valpariso.

It has ascensors that are an elaborate wooden shed on rails that take you up a few hundred metres. They run on a simple rail and pulley systems and have been in place around 100 years.

Here is the rickety shed in action.  Jason was disappointed it only went up a little way.  Claire was glad to get off the shaky box as it looked like it had been put together by some dodgy fairground engineer.

This picture is for Claire's dad. It is outside the Maritime museum which brought back Claire's childhood memories of being dragged around Naval / Air shows and museums. Dad - you will pleased to know that Jason stretched it out (like you) to the maximum.

Jason had heard that eating above the vegetable markets in Valpariso, was a good cheap option for fresh fish.  The woman in the back of the picture produced a couple of, fish dishes (swimming in fat), with chips( grimy plates and cutlery).  She got offended that there was food left on our plates, and repremanded Claire for not eating much. We were neatly charged double the price we were expecting. She did kindly wave us off warning us to watch for people pickpocketing while she smiled politely acknowledging her own day-light robbery of the stupid gringos.

This sums up the port in general. After three significant downgrades in the prosperity of Valpariso it is now a hollow town with every second building abandoned.

We also saw a nationwide demonstration that day that kicked-off big style in Santiago (where we were the day before) with hundreds of arrests, looting, rioting and of course the water-cannon that the kids love to play with... sounds like fun in the sun!

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