Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Valparaiso

We got out at the main square and headed straight for the internet cafe in high hopes. But, out of our 9 CS requests, 5 remained unanswered and 4 were declined. Damn, this network really stopped working for us!
Valparaiso is a main port of Chile, it looks like a mix of Halifax and Montreal, only it´s multiple neighbourhoods look much livelier, with houses painted in bright colours. The city is gracefully spread out over 40 hills, some of them are quite steep.We wanted to stay in this beautiful sea-side town for about a month, find a room, perhaps even a job, and rest from the road. But as we had no immediate place to rest, we were looking for a base from which we could explore the city more carefully.The day was grey and cold, and we wandered aimlessly in the center. We asked at a few hostels about the prices, but they were all sky-high, the lowest being 5000 pesos ($10) per person in a dormitory. After a few hours of walking up and down the steep streets, we sat down to rest near a scenic look-out. A gentleman came up to us and we chatted for a bit. He was a Chilean, but spoke good English. He was an owner of a hostel on which wall we were leaning. He understood our predicament without too much explanation and made a phone call to a lady-friend of his, who, as he said, had a room for us at exactly our budget.Half an hour later, Maria came to meet us. We were to stay in her house on the neighbouring hill. Her price was just a bit lower than the hostels we visited earlier, but we figured that she was our best bet. Maria was a tall, middle-aged lonely woman, deeply Catholic and very very sad. Her parents, whom she cared for for the last ten years, passed away two years ago, leaving Maria´s life unexpectedly empty. The rooms of her house were last painted a long time ago, and now, dusty grey, they emanated vibrations of a mental institution or, perhaps, a prison hospital. The small lightbulbs at the center of every room struggled against the darkness in the corners. No wander she was sad!
Maria could not let us sleep in her ¨papa´s¨ room, because his clothes were still hanging in the closet. We slept on a single bed in another room, cold as a dungeon and just as depressive as the others. The prospect of spending a month in this abode invited unhealthy suicidal thoughts.
In the morning we raised our spirits incrementially by tea, fried eggs and warm bread. When we stepped out on the morning sunny bustling street, it felt like we left something very heavy behind the door. Our objective was clear: find another place, quick!Which was exactly what we did within an hour´s time. As we were walking down a street, we saw a friendly grandmother standing in the doorway, taking in the morning sunshine. She looked like she might know where we could find a room. We said ¨buenos dias¨ and in a few minutes she was leading us up to the second storey, chatting happily with us, non-stop. She had a huge bright room on the second floor for us, with four huge tall windows and a big bed. Needless to say, we have the ocean view as well. We will stay here for at least a month! Yey!!!

1 comment:

  1. beautiful! what a lucky find. No fleas I hope! :)

    ReplyDelete