January 9 and 10, 2019

Rene and his wife are the owners of La Nona, the B&B that I’m staying at. They own a two storey house on the hill that forms a bowl around Valparaiso bay. They have twin daughters, 4 years old, adorable beyond words. Their laughter is always heard somewhere in the house. Breakfast is a treat, fruit, homemade yoghurt, homemade bread, great coffee. Rene speaks fluent English and gives me valuable info on travel in all directions from here, some of which I would otherwise have had to learn the hard way. The house is old and quaint and comfy. The street that it’s on is cobblestone and slopes steeply downhill to the main part of the city, which is level where it nears the docks. Walk uphill a few blocks and you are where land squatters have built homes, completely legal. The upper part of the city was constructed this way and this zone is about 2-3 miles wide. The city is old and I’m surprised by looking at it that it hasn’t fallen down the hill into the ocean. Buildings are propped up in places, it seems to be equal parts falling apart, being patched back together and new buildings under construction. There are stairways and warrens and pathways and shortcuts everywhere on the hillsides. Dogs seem to be their own owners and I haven’t seen a skinny one yet. I play my harmonica and make up songs as I walk the quieter streets and alleys, one goes like this:

Like a dog lying in the street,

I ain’t got no one, no one to meet,

Won’t someone please take me home,

Or at least throw me a bone.

That’s not how I feel, I’m fine, but I can imagine a dog howling those blues.

I toured Pablo Neruda’s house yesterday, famous Chilean poet if you don’t know. Incredible and inspiring. I sat alone in the garden below the house in the shade during the heat of the afternoon and listened to two cats wail and howl below me somewhere, kind of sounded like a cat opera.

I sat on the dock of the bay and watched the tide roll away in the evening, fishermen headed out to somewhere in stout sea worthy fishing boats, bantering back and forth between boats, mostly older, weather worn guys, in tee shirts in spite of the evening that was beginning to cool down, as it does along most of the Pacific Ocean that time of day. There are cargo ships coming and going and I wonder what it must be like to be shipping out for months at a time, leaving your loved ones behind, then it occurs to me: well hells bells, that’s what I’m doing. I’m human, I miss you guys.

Valparaiso is famous for its murals and mural artists. You have to see it to believe it so I’ve attached some photos. Graffiti is encouraged and is everywhere, this is taggers heaven. I leave for La Serena in the morning, about a 6 hour bus ride up the coast. I’ll miss this seaport town.

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