I'm still catching up on all the things I have yet to write. But first let me say, Merry Christmas to everyone all over the world. It's not quite Christmas day here in NZ yet.
Christmas tree and cousins
In the first week of December we went to San Pedro, a small village in the fifth region of Chile, the region above Santiago. Unlike the desert, it was green and full of flowers. I ha never seen so many flowers in my life in an establishement. We visited a town called Limache and the air was scented with flowers and every single street had tall shady trees. Amazingly beautiful.
My favourite city we visited while we were there though, was Valparaíso. It's one of the most turistical Chilean cities and I didn't feel like I was the only foreigner. The city of Valpo it built on very steep big hills. To get to soe houses you have to walk practically horizontally. There are funiculars too but I'd say that the natives there must have very strong legs.
There was a tonne of graffitti there, but unlike the gangster markings and all that jazz, practically every patch of graffitti there was like a work of art. Imagine long flights of stairs with tall houses on both sides, and the walls full of graffitti.
San Pedro is about a 40 minute car/train ride from Valpo. The first day that we visited, we went in the car, but my host parents had to return to Copiapó to work, so us four kids stayed with my host grandma to spend more time in the V region. The second day that we went to Valpo, we took two buses and a train to get there and went to the house of the Nobel Prize winning Chilean poet, Pablo Neruda. His house was four stories high, and each story was filled with interesting objects. His collection of bottles, interesting works of art and other collections of things.
In San Pedro, I saw for the first time a Chilean rodeo. It's not the style of rodeo when the cow has to be killed. Instead, there are two cowboy (actually they are more like men) who ride horses with spurs and traditional chilean clothes. The aim is to get the little calf to bang against a cushioned part in the moon shaped arena. Points are given according to how well it collides with the wall. At first I was disgusted, but the aim isn't to injure the poor little calf, and although I'm sure they get a jolly good fright and that isn't a good thing, they get taken away in less than a minute and a new calf gets bought in. A relatively humane rodeo.
Anyway, I only have time for a short post. A Merry Christmas to everyone reading this and I'll be in touch.