Pisco Y Coke

I couldn’t tell you much about Chile before going there.  I honestly would have a hard time pointing out the country on a map.  The only reason I decided to go to Santiago, Chile was it was the only country I could afford a flight to with the Delta flight voucher I had obtained during my travels through Europe.  Of course I was going there solo.  At the time no one would take a non planned jump on flight without a place type of trip with me.  Hey, I’m not going to let a few people that lacked spontaneity stop me from visiting not just another country but a different continent.  So here I go,  On a 9 hour flight to a another foreign land solo.  I land in a Santiago where at the time it was cloudy and cold.  I almost forgot I was on the opposite of the equator.  When I left Los Angeles it was 80 degrees in the middle of July.  When I arrived in Santiago it was 40 degrees, cloudy, and raining.  I guess you can say it was somewhat of a climate change.  The city had a very modern feel to it with the Andes mountains towering over the city like a New York City skyscraper.  Even with the clouds the Andes Mountains were an amazing site to see.  I toured the city and seen the many Spanish architectural sites.  The plan was to go from Santiago, Chile to Buenos Aires, Argentina, to Monte Video, Uruguay.  So I wanted to be in and out of Chile with only 11 days to see as much as I could.  While in a Hostel in Santiago I had heard a story from a woman about a place called “Valparaiso”.  I had never heard of this place at the time.  The story I heard from her was not a positive one.  She told me she had been robbed by a few muggers on the street of her purse.  I seen that as a sign to be cautious while there but not fear the place.  She was an elder white woman so I knew it would different being in a place where I thought there wouldn’t be any black people.  The place was only a hour bus ride away so I decided to take that next 2 days I had planned to stay in Santiago and spend it there.  Riding into it was a very different feeling from Santiago.  The city was more vibrant than Santiago.  I immediately felt the energy of the city as we were rolling in.  I decided on a hostel in the middle of the city center, which was not a very big one.  This is where I discovered an Empanada.  And let me tell you what.  It was off the damn hook!  Best and only way I could explain it.  Something else I found a knew appreciation for was Street Art.  This city was filled with it.  Well, that and streets dogs but we will get to that later.  You could not turn a corner without street art.  Some would think the small coastal town with its own version of the Rio favelas was very dirty.  And maybe it was, but it felt very authentic.  From the food all the way to the shacks in the hills. Walking around the houses in the hills you could feel the stares.  But not evil stares, stares of curiosity.  I can say curiosity because they would ask me where I was from.  When I would say California the looks on their faces were priceless, as if they had never seen someone from Los Angeles other than through the glass of a television set.  Let alone a what I consider myself a well dressed black American.  As I sat at a rooftop restaurant gazing over the city and ocean view I seen another black person.  We didn’t speak but we gave each other a look at that was it.  A few days later I was walking down the cobble streets I heard a voice yell “Hey do you speak english?”  I turned around and there he goes, the guy I seen at the restaurant the other day.  He was African, We as African Americans can tell the differnce between Africans and African Americans.  I think I notice it more because I am very envious of them.  They know exactly where they come from and we as African Americans long for a sense of identity.  In way we are looking at a reflection of someone we would like to see projecting back at us …. Ok, enough of the deep conversation lets get back to the travel stuff.  He says “Man if I would have known you spoke english I would have said something to you at the restaurant the other day”.  He was from Kenya, studied in London, and was teaching english in Chile.  Now thats one hell of a journey.  He introduced me to a few more of his friends throughout the next few days.  11:30pm be at the Woo Club they said.  Don’t be late its time sensitive.  I figured I would be on time for once.  This had to be one of my favorite bars I had been to in the world.  That had a lot to do with the occasion, people I was with, and the location I was at.  So this place had the craziest deal I had heard of.  All drinks were free until someone either left the establishment or went to the bathroom.  Yes, everything was free until someone either left the establishment or went to the bathroom.  a hour and fifty minutes went by before a couple decided to leave the place.  At the point I couldn’t blame them.  I already had consumed my fair share of Pisco and Coke. Pisco you ask? Well its just a signature liquor of Chile.  Very popular to the locals served with a side of Coca Cola.  There is a small city about 30 mins by mini bus called Vina Del Mar that is very modern.  It reminded me of Miami Beach.  A little too touristy for my liking.  They even had a Pizza Hut and Starbucks right next to each other waiting for an American like me to wonder in.  Of course I made my way to Starbucks to try the South American White Chocolate Mocha and I am not ashamed of it.  But one of my favorite parts of this little town was the CoCon Sand Dunes you see in my photo above.  Watching the sunset from there was a sight to see.  You have people of all ages there.  The coolest part was watching people sand surfing.  Im not sure if thats what they call it but you get the picture.  -David G