Student Blogs & Vlogs | College Study Abroad Programs, IFSA-Butler


Today I’ll be talking about:

I. Leaving the country again?
II. Valparaiso
III. Viña del Mar
IV. Santiago
V. La musica de la semana
VI. El vocabulario de la semana
VII. Links to previous posts
VIII. Coming Soon


I. Leaving the country again?


Last spring, not long after I first decided to come to Mendoza, my roommate, Ranya, chose Valparaiso, Chile, and we made plans to visit each other during our spring breaks. Hers fell first, so Ranya crossed the Andes to come hang with me in Mendoza.


(Ojo –because of the ferriado, holiday, LOTS of people wanted to visit Mendoza, which meant lots of people crossing over to customs, which meant a 3 hour delay from the predicted arrival time.)


I had a great time showing her around “my” city—so reassuring that I understood the crazy mess well enough to explain it to someone else!



Mate in the park.



Also visited the zoo


Then, after Ranya left to briefly explore Buenos Aires, the city of Mendoza had a celebration for Chile’s independence in our Plaza Chile. (Argentines and Chileans LOVE to talk crap about each other, but they secretly love each other.) After sampling some Chilean foods, I was more excited than ever to get out of Argentina for a while.


However, three things made me very nervous about leaving Mendoza:

  1. I wasn’t thrilled about the idea of being completely lost and confused by a city again, so soon after I had finally gotten a grasp of Mendoza.
  2. Although I was excited to see my beloved roomie, I was bummed to be traveling without my chicas. Lisa went south to Bariloche while Ale and Lorri went north to Salta, Jujuy, and Tilcara. I didn’t have the chance to travel to any of those places (the time flies so quickly!), but the girls each had a great time and highly recommended their spring break travel destinations.
  3. During Ranya’s visit, I lost my debit card. I had no problem cancelling it and applying for a new one (contacted my mom through Facebook and had her make all those calls for me) but the card wouldn’t arrive for about a week, meaning I’d have no way to get money without Ranya.


Debit card or no debit card, friends or no friends, I was off on a bus to Chile as soon as Ranya came back from BA. The journey got off to an interesting start when we bought snacks for the road…but forgot that you can’t bring things like oranges and nuts across the border. The Chilean aduana mean business, and can you blame them when they export so much food to big buyers like the US? But, at the very least, the view through the Andes was pretty nice, even though it was nighttime. The immense silhouette of the mountains beneath a spread of stars… And when I woke up, Chile was waiting for me.


II. Valparaiso


To get started, here are some hints I picked up while I was there:
-Don’t eat seafood on Mondays (the fresh catch comes in on Tuesday, so whatever’s there Monday has been there all week.)
-For safety reasons, don’t take the stairs at night. Walk up and around the hill or take an ascensor.

Acensores close at 8

-There are stray dogs EVERYWHERE.


That said, I feel so deeply in love with Valpo.

They don’t call it the graffiti capital of Chile for no reason. Everywhere you turn, there’s gorgeous (or sometimes not-so-gorgeous) street art. It’s like a treasure hunt trying to spot it all. The entire city is a giant game of exquisite corpse that the whole city has been playing for years. I was geeking out the entire time. The street art also makes it easy to find your way–lots of landmarks. Which is fortunate because the streets aren’t marked too well once you get off the 5 or so streets that make up the plano (the grid) before the hills start. I found my way mostly by following the shape of the road on the map more than by the street names. You´re gonna feel the stairs in your legs, especially if you’re out at night after the ascensores stop and you have to walk all the way up the hill. (And perhaps that’s why Chileans like to brag that they have the best legs?) But the view from the top of the hill of the city lights over the water at night–to die for.


The buses are also little different than in Mendoza. No bus card—your change is actually useful and necessary here. The buses are also smaller, and there are more of them. The routes and the pick up/drop off points are also more fluid than in Mendoza.


Things I ate:
Cazuela + Pebre + Pisco sour = $8 USD

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Sushi with octopus


Real raw salmon, real wasabi and ginger, real chopsticks handed to me as the default. I struggled with the, (so sad because there are so many Japanese kids at my school!) but stubbornly used them anyway with a fair amount of success. I’m not sure how authentic the addition of queso cremoso (cream cheese) was, but it was all delicious.


Where I stayed:

Hostal la Colombina – $16 USD/night

Not a bad place to stay at all. The owner was actually a porteño—an Argentine!—so it was great to chat with him about “home” because I was missing the Argentine culture badly.

Cooked in the kitchen for dinners to save myself money.




What I did:

Pablo Neruda’s house in Isla Negra. Did not have time to visit the Sebastiana in Valpo itself, oops. Not too worried because I’ve heard it’s the least nice of his three houses. Left in the early AM, came back in time for a late lunch.


Open-air mural museum: neat but not as neat as most of the amateur art scattered around the city.


But by far my favorite part was simply wandering around and getting to know Valpo.

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I’ve literally got too many pictures to upload on my poor wimpy little Argentine internet connection, so I’m just going to attach a link to photobucket later. Especially because I went to Chile AGAIN and took even more pictures. I took pictures of anything that held still long enough!


III. Viña del Mar


Felt very much like SoCal to me—very different from Valpo’s chaos and color and grit. More expensive. Nice apartments, big American-style mall. Demonstration of Chile’s economy being on the upward swing…especially in comparison with Argentina. Their clothing is much cheaper than in Mendoza because a) It’s not as expensive to ship from the capital to Valpo/Viña as it is to ship from BA to Mendoza and b) it’s all made in China and the U.S.


Sunset on the beach + chocolate-dipped churros—the ones I see at home don’t have chocolate!! Some stray dogs started a fight near us :(


For more on Valpo and Viña, check out Rachel’s blog with IFSA.  Aside from being quite a nice girl, Rachel’s blog is very informative. She’ll break down everything you’ll need to know about buses, food, the students’ movement, etc.
IV. Santiago


Only an hour and a half from Viña by bus. Super easy to get to. I got lucky because the one day it was rainy and gross in Valpo and Viña, it was sunny and beautiful in Santiago.


Ranya and I took one of several free walking tours of Santiago and had a traqui day seeing a bit of the city. One thing we learned about that I thought was kind of hilarious was Café con pierna (coffee with legs), which is like the Chilean version of Hooters, but with an emphasis on the legs instead of boobs. I told you—Chileans love legs.


Subways—mind-blown. So easy!



Overall, less character than Valpo! Much like any other city in any other country. Then again, I didn’t have time to see too much of it. I was surprised by how clean it was though, or at least the parts I visited!



Mote con huesillo
Similar eating experience to boba/bubble tea, which was awesome because over the summer I downed that stuff like it was air. It was nice to get it back, sort of. It’s peach juice with a dried peach in it and some sort of grain (barley?) at the bottom. Eat it with a spoon. Sugary, cold, and delicious.


Lunch: Caldillo de congrio, inspired by Pablo Neruda! + jugo de chirimoya

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V. La musica de la semana


I’m sorry that all the songs I’ve been linking you to have been in English… but I have a cool story about this one from my trip to Chile.


One night, I started chatting with the owner of the hostel I stayed at, and it turns out he loves Pearl Jam. “One of the best things to come out of your country!” he said. So he whipped out Youtube and pulled out this video.

He pointed to the lead singer. “That’s my shirt,” he said.


“Yup, I see it has the Argentine stripes,” I said. “Why did he decide to wear an Argentine jersey in Spain?”


“No,” he said. “It’s MY shirt. I took it off, threw it onto the stage, and he put it on!”


I stared at him. “Sos un copado!”
VI. El vocabulario de la semana


Chilean Spanish is infamously hard to understand, not only because it’s very fast and mumbly but because it’s got its own, weird slang. Armed with these words, you’ll be able to survive in Chile no problem.


Huevon – You’ll hear this word in Mendoza a lot too, but it’s more Chilean. It’s also very crude—don’t say this to any delicate old church ladies! It’s basically like saying BALLS in English.
Cachai – You know? / Get it?

Po – Doesn’t actually mean anything. (Though a Chilean girl I know back home said that it refers to an indigenous word for “the people.”)  It’s used as a filler, to emphasize, and to further confuse non-native Spanish speakers.

Caldillo – chowder, no to be confused with caudillo, chief.

Chascona – woman with messy hair

Bacán = copado/a

Taco – In Mexico it’s food, in Argentina it’s the heel of a shoe, and in Chile it’s a traffic jam. (In Guatemala Chinese tacos = eggrolls. In Argentina Chinese tacos are wedges. As far as I know, Chile doesn’t have Chinese traffic jams, but maybe I wasn’t there long enough to find out.)

Colectivo – In Argentina, this is just another word for bus. Not the case in Chile. Only micro refers to buses in Chile, and colectivos are collective taxis. There are also regular taxis, which are hardly used in comparison to the taxis in Mendoza.
VII. Links to previous posts


1. Antes de que me voy  Before I Leave 

2.  Host Families and Fun with Public Transportation

3. “Are You the Girl with the Blog?”  

4. Playing Tourists in Buenos Aires

5. Looking Good, Mendoza!  

6. A Detailed Guide on All Things Micro 

7. Trip to Las Termas

8. Daily life in Mendoza

9. Habia una vez en los Andes… 

10. Night of the Soccer Game 

11. Road Trip! 

12. My Mate for Life 

13. Ringo vs. Chuck Norris 

14. Pros and Cons 


VIII. Coming Soon


The Student’s Life
Trabajo Voluntario
Rafting in San Rafael

Chile Part II
The split up and the return to BA



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One Response to “CHI CHI CHI, LE LE LE, VIVA CHILE!”

  1. Rachel Rachel Says:

    Viva chile!! great post, thanks for the link hahaha! I’m glad you enjoyed your visits.

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