after a long flight from Auckland our first stop was Santiago, Chile. Having lived on boats or small Pacific Islands for over 12 years, cities are not our first choice for places to visit. Santiago, I have to say, though big and bustling had a very nice feel to it. We were only there for 2 nights but enough to taste the wonderful red wine and local foods.
Speaking Spanish even to an extremely basic level is very necessary to travel well through South America, not known for our language skills we are actually managing for quite a bit and the rest comes from our handy Spanish translator program on the Itouch!!!! Sai, 'io and malo do not go a long way here, though do get a lot of strange looks.
On the Sunday, we visited the famous Port of Valparaiso, Chile. This was the first Port that Europeans came to before the Panama Canal was opened. The impact of Europeans is very noticeable in South America, through the food, styles and manors. However there are also some very interesting cultural areas once you can get out of the Cities.
Valparaiso, for us was disappointing, the pictures show a wonderful place full of life and colour, where in fact the stark contrast between the shanty town and the tourist area are very apparent and the depth of poverty is very sad to see. Coming from Tonga, where though a very poor nation, there is not the begging on the street corners or car windows when stopped at traffic lights. The community support in Tonga is something very special and we take for granted how the economy is really affecting more and more families in Tonga.
One issues that is very noticeable is the amount of graffiti in both Cities, many building are defaced, this to us was strange, maybe we are just out of touch, however this to us shows that the youths are restless, even in countries that offer so much for them to do compared to places we have lived.
Vava'u since we left has had one unexpected storm and some further issues which we hope we can deal with quickly, to those that are looking after things for us, malo lahi or muchos gracias.
|Valparaiso (UNESCO) if the existing walls remain you can build whatever behind!!|