Tag Archives: chile

It’s Getting Chile

The rest of my time in Chile kind of went by in a blur.

Chile's ridiculous shape gives it a great tolerance for idiosyncracy

And Santiago violently radiates the feeling that people cooler than you are living there.

I woke up zombie-apocalypse early every morning,

and tried to see everything,

As if it was about to disappear.

Like every vacation, you look back and realize you missed more than you saw.

Chile is a great country for brooding. There's so much great stuff to look at while you hold still in dramatic lighting.

See? Even the buildings look contemplative.

And in the mornings full of purpose, ready to be jogged under.

Or hidden from, under an umbrella.

The lefternmost building is where we were staying. Chile has more nice backgrounds than Windows 95.

We took a trip to wine country, where I discovered that riding a horse is basically the same experience as biking drunk.

That pond down there is where boxwine comes from.

We also went to a private beach to get a tan and participate in income inequality.

Chile's per capita GDP is $14,700, about one-third of the United States's.

In gated communities, the skin tone gets is 4 shades lighter, the heels 4 inches higher and the lips 4 milligrams Botoxier.

These seagulls have their own show on Bravo.

We left after an hour and an espresso that cost 6 times the minimum wage, feeling complicit.

I spent three days in Pucon, a city in the Andes Lake District.

Other than climbing the volcano, I took a bunch of long, bumpy bike rides through the countryside.

This waterfall wasn't remotely where I wanted to end up, but the nice thing about Chile is that even getting lost ends up photogenic.

The volcano is visible from pretty much everywhere, so it appears like a watermark in all my pictures from Pucon.

It's shocking how bad my sense of direction is. This lake is just 20km from Pucon, but I went there via Peru.

Getting the bee in the shot was accidental, obviously, but didn't prevent me from feeling like Werner Herzog for the rest of the day.

Trees shot with backlighting look amazingly like fractals, it turns out.

Tourists, less so.

Instead of waiting for the sunset, I'm sure I could have achieved this same effect by just holding a pink hanky in front of the lens.

This is what Wes Anderson's vacation photos look like.

On my last day in Chile, I took the car and went to check out the Andes. I drove until the paved road ended, then turned around.

This is an unavoidable metaphor for my trip. The best parts of Chile, I have a feeling, begin after the paved road ends. Next time I'll keep going til I get there.

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Other People Are Better Photographers Than Me

My friend Paloma took a bunch of photos when I was visiting her in Chile.

Not only does she have a better camera than me, but she is a significantly better photographer. Hence why these look like actual Chile, rather than Sandusky, Ohio, like mine do.

Look how happy I am eating femur.

We took this from the top of the W hotel. They charged us $3 for those palm trees to be in our view.

Contemplating the design of a life fully lived. Or, wait, I'm peeing. Yep, I'm peeing here.

If the figure on top of the cupola is gay, is it technically a 'weather vain'?

Valparaiso, feloniously pastel.

Escher gets an iPad

You can tell I took this one because BACKLIGHTING

I was seriously phobic about getting tangled in one of these. Hella of them were at like shoulder height.


We actually took this by accident because we didn't know what F-stop was. But it turned out ok!

I don't know how she got this photo to look like mid-'50s Johannesburg, but I wish my camera had that setting.

An apparently famous Paris graffiti artist was doing a huge piece in Valparaiso. We shouted and waved, but he couldn't hear us under all his dreadlocks.

It's better that you can't see the look of sheer terror on my face.

... Peeing again, possibly.

This was a mural in a Mexican restaurant. I felt slightly racist for not being able to name any Mexicans other than Frida Kahlo and Edward James Olmos.

I was so excited for local produce when I was there, but it was mostly imported from Ecuador.

This is how people travel together now, each looking at their own little screen. I can't confirm if we made actual eye contact during the trip, but at least we both took nice photos.

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‘Mo Versus The Volcano

Traveling in a country where you don't speak the language means experiencing all the spontaneity and clarity of functional illiteracy.

In Pucon, Chile, I saw a sign that said 'Volcano Tours' and I signed up.

There was a brochure and a sign with all kinds of words on them, but I figured 'how much info do I really need? It's a tour!'

We'll drive there in a van, take a chairlift up, snap some photos and be back by lunch.

Even when issued a helmet, pickaxe and backpack, I still thought they were just for safety regulations and photo ops.

Chairlift! That outta do it.

'This is the last civilization you will see for the next 8 hours,' our guide said at the top of the lift.

'We will climb to the top step by step,' he said. 'It takes about five hours to get up, and two to get down.'

In spite of this explicit instruction, I retained the thought that this was all some sort of misunderstanding. Where's the next chairlift?

Notice the crampons. Shit just got real.

'Has anyone ever died up here?' I asked the guide at one point.

'Yes, 20,' he said.

'You mean 20 percent, right? Like, someone sprained their ankle, or ...?'

'20 people have died here,' he said. 'The wind is very strong, and there are deep crevices in the glacier.'

'So ... I guess some of the information in the Volcano Tour brochure was kinda crucial, huh?' I said. 'Si,' he said.

I was smearing sunscreen every hour the whole way up, but I forgot my ears. The next three days I looked permanently embarrassed.

'I think we're almost there!' I told some Argentinian girls who were having a rough time.

Only to find we weren't even halfway. 'The gringo lies,' one told the other.

This was the point where I realized there probably wouldn't be anywhere along our route to buy lunch.

Apparently this volcano erupted in 1971 and 1984.

It still spits up smoke and ash most days. The air raid siren in Pucon warns you when it's about to belch.

That rock down there is where we stopped for lunch. I ate snow and pondered whether sunscreen was chemically similar to mayonnaise.

'That volcano is twice as tall as this one,' our guide said at the top, proving the international truth that nothing makes you feel proud of an achievement like pointing out the greater one nearby.

The crater smelled almost as bad as we did.

We all peered in, wondering when it would erupt again.

'Now what?' we asked. 'Put on all the clothes in your backpack and slide back down on your ass.'

'After the snow gives way, take the same path the lava did in '71 and '84.'

So we did, and got back down so fast I almost wondered why it took us so long to get up.

For the rest of the week, I looked at the horizon from Pucon and saw something I climbed and descended.

It turns out we spoke the same language after all.



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The Accidental Tourist

The nice thing about visiting someone in their exotic home country is that you see lots of things you wouldn't otherwise.

This always ends up a bit surreal, however, since you outsource the planning to someone who knows what they're doing.

You see their best places, but since you didn't do any research or logistics to get there, you don't know what you're looking at.

This is basically how I ended up in Valparaiso, Chile.

My Chilean friend put me in the car, drove, parked and told me to get out.

'We're here,' she said.

'Where?' I said.

We wandered around, the native leading the interloper.

People stopped us and told us to put our cameras away.

'Chileans will steal them!' they said.

'Damn,' I told my friend. 'Chileans are hella racist against Chileans.'

She started introducing me as 'this gringo', possibly as punishment for this remark.

Neither of us knew anything about the city, so we recklessly speculated about all the buildings. This is where Spanish colonialists watched professional wrestling, we decided.

The rest of these buildings are all former locker rooms, obviously.

This is where they fed Christians to lions. That was the Spanish that did that, right?

'How come the power lines are all over the place like East Baltimore?' I asked my friend.

'So Chileans can charge all the electronics they steal from gringos,' she replied.

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The World’s Ugliest Hotel

Though it's nice to know that if the Flintstones are ever in Reñaca, Chile, they will feel at home.



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Foreign Countries Have The Greatest English Books

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Things You Can Tell About Chile Just By Looking At It

The best thing about traveling to another country is waking up before everyone there

and jogging through it while it's getting dressed for the day.

In developing countries, this is an incredibly efficient way to get gawked at.

My first day in Santiago, I ran to the top of a hill at 7 am

The road was so deserted I thought I'd missed an air raid siren.

Even the squirrels looked suspicious.

I was on my way down before I saw any other people. Dozens of joggers on their way up.

They nodded and hola'd, admiring my fortitude.

I yelled 'America!' loud enough for them to hear through their earbuds.

Based on the number of joggers, plus the rate of earbuds-per-jogger, I concluded midway through my run that Chile is less developingey than I thought it would be.

It looks more like the US from overtop than Mexico.

Aside from the language and the abstinence, you could mistake it for LA.

At the top of the hill the Virgin Mary congratulates you on making the altitude.

For a few minutes, it was just me and her.

Standing still and looking out at what we'd done.

She's been looking longer than I have.

I hope I have her patience to see what's below.


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Construction Work, Perchance to Dream

Valparaiso, Chile


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Chilean Food is Disgusting-Slash-Awesome



I still fucking ate the whole thing though.

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