Hi all, (note: I wrote this post almost one year ago, when I was in Chile)
this is a short story about a friend I’ve met in Valparaiso. I’m writing this just as it flows from the heart after a delighting lunch and subsequent afternoon in a nearby ice cream shop with Pato.
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Hey there, long time no writing. I need to catch up and, promise, I will!
Some time ago, I stumbled upon some examples of “non-linear” narrative. As in, trying to tell stories in a way that is not necessarily chronological. My first experiment in that sense will try to tell bits about my life in Valparaiso through the presentation of the friends I share it with.
Baker at day, journalist at night: Mauro is one of the most eclectic people I’ve met in this journey. Globetrotter, attentive interpreter of what happens in the World, musician and writer, full of dreams but also a marketing expert, Mauro seems to have identified the life balance we all strive for. I utterly enjoy his company and the bakery shop where he works has become a central point in my urban paths. I often go there and sit down, chat with him or read something if he’s busy. We go out at night to check what Valparaiso has to offer, be that post-modern dance, a concert, a meeting with an undercover evangelical proselityzer or a hidden bat at the harbor. Check out his report of the recent earthquake in Chile (in Italiano).
When I arrived in Valparaiso, I had a cochsurfing agreement for the first two or three nights. I would sleep at Lesly’s place while looking for a room. What I didn’t understand from our email exchange, mostly because of my bad Spanish, is that she had a room to rent out herself. I checked a few places out but didn’t like them, so I ended up staying there. She has such an intense social life it’s hard to keep up with! I often join her out for drinks with her friends, whom she just can’t seem to be able to have enough. She’s a healthy carrier of generous zest for life. It took her a few seconds to bring me to be a foster parent of a Guatemalan kid, after showing me a letter from her Ecuadorian daughter.
As the undercover evangelist of Mauro’s paragraph would put it, Anna is “the Lord’s best gift” for Mauro. Male chauvinism seemed to be an inherent quality of that guy. Together with Mauro, Anna is on a years long tour of South America. The picture sees her together with one of my favourite drinks in Valparaiso, a strawberry-flavoured wine. That night, I tried to get the others to appreciate it as well, but I believe instead that Anna unconditionally banned such liquid from her life thereafter. She’s always a friendly listener and a fantastic companion.
Javierito is a friend of Lesly. He lives in the neighboring Viña del Mar, and was the master chef behind the barbecue I told about in Chilean Onions. He works as a teacher in a hospital where kids who suffer from cancer permanently live. He told me about all the sorrow he gets confronted with every day. School is a boring annoyance for most kids, but for those kids is instead what gives them their 2 hours a day of normality. My friend also designed their website, please give a look: it’s not something you see everyday and it’ll give you a lot to think about.
In the picture, I had to blur Mauro out. Sorry Mauro, this is Josué’s paragraph. Josué is a Chilean perro who works as a tourist guide in one of the many vineyards in the Casablanca Valley. The central region is an important one one for wine production and I always cruise through the grapes when traveling between Santiago and Valparaiso. More on this later. Josue is a couchsurfing master and his incredibly welcoming attitude was the key for me to get in touch with Mauro, Anna and the others. One night I got out of home around 1 am to join the crowd celebrating his birthday at the “Entre Socios” bar, a smoky place that reminded me of the sleazy “De Doos” in Amsterdam!
Erica is a friend and colleague of Lesly. She is a proud member of the clown’s school in Valparaiso, and we attended their hilarious course-end show in a lovely theater. For her number, she became a sort of mad stripper throwing away an impressive amount of clothes – she’s definitely a lot thinner than what you see in the picture! She loves uphill living and poor harbor bars, and one one sunny day we longly discussed about the usual topic of how much mess Europeans caused worldwide and about the Mapuche situation.
I’ve met great people in Valparaiso! Toch?