Ensconced at the Faro Azul Hostel high on one of the hills surrounding Valparaiso. It is run by an animated and very capable French guy called Alex. The city seems to have had a vibrant past and from appearances has entered a period of re-alignment economically speaking, developing a more tourist orientated approach.DSCF0069Went for a “mooch” downtown in the afternoon and discovered the Cinzano restaurant. Had a great steak with a very pleasant Malbec. Later ambled down to the old part of town to take some snaps and soak up the atmosphere.

Anytime, anyplace, anywhere.

Anytime, anyplace, anywhere.

An eclectic clientele meet for a snack and a glass of wine.

An eclectic clientele meet for a snack and a glass of wine.

There seems to be a propensity toward graffiti in the city. Almost every available flat surface has received the attentions of an aspiring “Banksy”DSCF0081 Another thing that seems to be prevalent in both Santiago and Valparaiso is the incidence of the “city dog”. The dogs appear to be living outside 24/7. However, owners, or at least people who care appear to take out food for them and deposit it in a place, presumably known by the owner as well as the dog, which gets a regular meal and is therefore obliquely “looked after”. Unfortunately, the dog shit in the streets and pavements is something of a nightmare for the unwary. Almost forgot,…whilst down town yesterday my eyes started streaming and throat aching with a pungent taste and smell in the air. It was tear gas…apparently there had been some demonstrations and the police had used it. This was reminiscent of what was experienced whilst in Santiago. The students were out on the street protesting there on the day before we were due to leave and again the riot police fully “togged up” in their shin, shoulder and knee pads, helmets, batons and fortified vehicles were administering tear-gas to the gathered throng. That also was still in the air hours after the incident. I should add that the police are armed over here.

Anyhow, on Thursday have booked a passage north to the Atacama desert and a small place called San Pedro. Twenty three and a half hours on a coach is not my idea of fun, albeit on a “Super Luxury flat bed sleeper”, but I guess it is the only way to really see the country and the distances are enormous here.

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