Friday, March 06, 2009

Summer break

January and February are the months when most chileans take their summer vacations. It's the time when the chilean school year is already over. Crowds go to the beaches, and there are many festivals and gatherings all over the country. It also happens in city ports like Valparaiso, where you could notice large cruising ships arriving to port carrying foreign tourists to exchange flights, carrying them in short tours to the wineries, visits to Santiago and the Andes. Nonethelelss, most of these foreign tourists stay in Santiago and Viña del Mar. The reason, the assummed belief that because Valparaiso is poorer, with their shabby shanties around the hills, lack of major touristic facilities, and dirtiness, then it is a unsafe place for tourists. Maybe no more than any other major cityport.... not a touristic city as the selfdeclared neighbouring Viña del Mar, but it is in the cultural venues feature where Valpo is in real debt. As many local people travel for their vacations to other places..... you don't see much done in Valpo after the Carnavales culturales along with the fireworks at the bay at the eve of the new year.... January has a Tango festival worth mentioning, but February is a real empty black hole without much activity but for some Santiago's venues on tour..... this is exemplified by the almost non existent venues for the local municipal theater and that most of all local cultural activity is centered at the neighbouring Viña del Mar. Anyway, I was one of those travellers going southwards reaching Aysen in Patagonia where I spent over one month working and also attending to patagonian traditional folk festivals around Cochrane, Villa Cerro Castillo, and Coyhaique.