Thursday, November 26, 2015

One last report from South America..

Dear Family & Friends,

This is my final report as we head home today so for some of you it will be a relief….
We spent another day in Valparaiso Chile.. The more time we spend in Chile the more I like it.. Much warmer and interesting than Argentina.
We went to a neighboring city called Vina del Mar that is the equivalent of our Newport Beach.. A very wealthy beach city..  A beautiful and prosperous area. It is the opposite of Valparaiso which is an older working class port city.. I like Valparaiso more but both are interesting in their own way.
Valparaiso is built into the side of a mountain that drops right down to the Pacific Ocean.. They have a very interesting land use system… The business city is built on the very limited flat lands by the sea. Everyone lives on the side of the mountain.. To build a home first you find a vacant piece of land on the mountain side… Then you either talk to the neighbors and get their approval to build or better yet you have family there and they welcome you… There are no land titles and you don’t BUY the land, you just get permission from the neighbors and go ahead and build. Most people actually build their homes themselves with help of the neighbors. (Some of the fancier homes have professional help ). Once you live there for 5 years the city will grant you a title and then from that point on you “OWN” the home…  The houses are painted very colorfully so that you can see them from the sea. This was done so the original seaman could find their homes. There is an unwritten rule that you never paint your house the same color as your neighbors so the hillsides are very colorful!
The founding of Valparaiso has an interesting story… Originally founded by Spain in the early 1700s. The Spaniards arrived there and found the native people very docile, friendly, and peaceful so what else do you do with people like this??  Spain decided they wanted all the area so they just killed all the natives..  (Remember immigrant terrorists come in all sizes ) There are NO indigenous people left here… After having killed all the natives they found there was no silver or gold in the area and traditional agriculture did not work there so they just left…
The next wave of immigrants were from Germany and that is the predominate culture here. It is a very odd mixtures of Spanish and German food, architecture, and culture.
The people are very German yet speak Spanish… Confusing.
The food and wine here are AMAZING… Lots of fresh seafood and some of the best wine I have ever enjoyed. A local dish that is very traditional here is called Chorrillania  It is grilled marinated steak, grilled sausage , grilled onions, and a fried egg pilled high on a mountain of french fries and all sorts of rich, creamy dipping sauces. If this dish was served in the USA the AMA would label it “Bio-Hazard- Will Cause Immediate Heart Attack”. Very delicious and I like to live life dangerously but I do think this food is probably more dangerous for me than riding a motorcycle or racing a car…..
The next day we went about two hours inland to spend a few days at the capital of Chile, Santiago. Again a very prosperous and modern city.. Chile is much different that I had imagined, lots of tradition and poverty but more modern and prosperous than I expected. I can see the wisdom of the NAFTA treaty, there are lots of wealthy consumers here buying American goods.
In Santiago I was completely burned out on tours so Bonnie and I just walked around the city and discovered it foot by foot. Very beautiful with lots to see. We went to one indoor food market full of small restaurants.. Again I had a wonderful meal of crab and Chilean wine.. When I completely finished off my lunch and complemented the owner on how good it was I made another friend…

Speaking of food a very common spice in Chile is called Merken. It is a smoked pepper.. The taste is amazing so Bonnie and I bought Merken oil, Merken flakes, and Merken BBQ rub so if you come over for dinner in the near future expect to eat Merken..

Bonnie and I went to a section of town that had what is called the Cultural Arts Center.. It was an old colonial area with adobe buildings, dirt roads, and hundreds of small artisan shops. Everything sold there was made in Chile and most items were made right there. Lots of art, jewelry and crafts.. We had a great time.
To see more of Chile go to my blog.. Tonight we board a flight home and should be back in SLO Friday afternoon. To my friends at the Blackhorse please clean off my chair, see you Saturday AM!!
Thats it for now.

PS: I did find a 4 month motorcycle tour that is 20,000 miles and goes completely around South America. Sounds like a great adventure and I am ready to go, even Bonnie says I should go… The only problem is it costs $35K so if you enjoy these reports and would like to get them for four months start sending in donations!! 

Santiago is an odd combination of Spanish and German culture..

The capital is a good combination of modern and old.

A local food market we visited .

The Krumholz sisters enjoying the day in Santiago.

The market was full of these open air restaurants with terrific seafood!

Did I mention I like Crab???

Happy Cohens...

Making friends all over the world through food...  :) The owner of the restaurant was very impressed with the olympic ability of my stomach.....

Beautiful dancers everywhere..

This was the church in the town square of Santiago.

The Museum of Balloon Animals of Chile. What I want to know is who blows them up every day??

An impromptu Opera in the Santiago town square.. 

This woman sat still for a few minutes at a time and begged for money.

This man has stood still with bird poop on his head for centuries and asks for nothing!

I swore I wouldn't do any more church photos but they are a cheap shot.

The Cohen's visiting their name sake.

A local advert. Funny how just a haircut can not only change the looks of someone but the feeling the give off.

We went up 7 flights of these stairs to view the city... They were certainly not designed for a man my size!


An elegant seafood dinner with wine.

Our view overlooking Valparaiso while dinning.

"The name is Bond, James Bond."

Bonnie making friends where ever we go. :)

A view of Valparaiso at night from our old hotel on the right..