Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Fashion Questions: Blue Glasses

So, inevitably, each country has its own fashion sense. In Chile I have noticed that women rarely wear skirts and that men tend to have longer hair. While I like to wear skirts and often find ponytails on men vaguely disgusting, I accept that I will have to adjust to these new terms. What I find most puzzling, however is the apparent trend of bright blue plastic eyeglass frames. On men. Both my potential new roommate and the owner of the hostel wear them. And I have seen several other pairs in passing on the street. This isn't your typical geek-chic, giant, coke-bottle type frame either. The small rectangular design implies that the guiding fashion principal is not irony, but a belief that it looks cool. I wonder if some super-hot, intellectual character in a Chilean film sported azure frames? For me it is a style most reminiscent of my sixth grade teacher Ms. Cohen who had reading glasses to match each of her brightly printed tunic tops. Glasses which she readily admitted to purchasing at Building 19. And though ultimately I'm sure I'll adapt to this fashion like any other at the moment I can't help but feel a bit disappointed that vision trends here is are not more on the cutting edge.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Rose Reviews: Diet Leche Culturada, Sabor Ciruela

So fans of this blog's archives (or long time readers) might remember my reviews of Dutch food stuffs from my time in the Netherlands. Good news! My trip to the grocery store today yielded my first Chilean food product for review. It is worth noting that Chile gets sort of a bad wrap for its cuisine. As far as I can tell that is because it lacks the intensity of flavor of it's neighbors (mostly in terms of spiciness of seasoning). But when compared to Dutch cuisine, the culinary living is easy down in this hemisphere. I mean there is just so much affordable, fresh seafood and produce. Desserts and drinks tend to be a bit sweeter than I like them, but really there's very little to complain about.

Unfortunately that assessment does not extent to packaged and processed foods. When deciding to make the purchase in question I knew I was being adventurous. It seems that yogurt here tends to come in pourable jug form more often than spoonable container form. So rather than the Yogurt Batida Sabor Fresa I had tried earlier this week, I decided to branch out a bit and try this fat free, plum flavored, cultured milk. They were right next to one another. The bottles are the same shape. But on the inside... Basically it Leche Culturada has the consistency of milk. But with a vaguely coating, grainy sort of texture. And the flavor! Maybe there was an element of plum there somewhere... but as a person who has been known to consume upwards of twenty stone fruits in the height of the season, this tasted more like prunes mixed with maple syrup. Ugh.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Visting vs. Staying

The first group of friends I made at the hostel left this morning. Although staying in hostels is a great way to meet interesting people, watching them strap on backpacks and head for the bus station made me realize how unusual what I am doing is. Tomorrow I am going to see a room in a student apartment which I am hoping to move into by the end of the week. The excitement of being in a new, unfamiliar place has made me forget that my intention is to make a home of sorts here. Spending time with people traveling around the continent and around the world is fascinating but the focus is always on sights and activities. For me this trip is much more about my personal experience of places and events. I know that when I move out of the hostel there will be fewer people and I will feel lonelier. But that loneliness seems like it will be a necessary step in trip.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Street Art

So Valparaíso has insane street art. It's already one of the most colorful places I have ever seen, but the murals and stencils and graffiti are so vivid and abundant. It's awesome. Here are some photos of my first full day exploring:

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

¡Estoy Aquí!

Valparaiso is really so beautiful. The hills put San Francisco to shame. Going down one with a fifty pound suitcase takes a particular skill I have not yet mastered... But the views! And the houses! And those crazy elevators! I've only explored a bit, but it's really beautiful and feels totally different from anywhere else I've ever been.

The voyage really wore me out. It's like jet lag, except my time change is only one hour. So it's just the relief of stress and the exhaustion from traveling and the un-rested feeling one gets from sleeping on airplanes. But all in all I was pretty lucky with my traveling. There were open seats next to me on both of my flights yesterday (especially nice because one was eight and a half hours long). And everyone has been really helpful so far, pointing or repeating things slowly when I look confused. I hope that after a solid night's sleep I'll be prepared to speak Spanish to strangers and write lots of emails introducing myself. For now I am wondering what is the earliest time it is socially acceptable to go to be in a hostel?

I leave you with some photos of my lovely hostel: