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November 04, 2004

Me Encanta Valparaiso

In Spanish, you say "me gusta" (literally, "it pleases me") if you like something. If you really like something, you say "me encanta" (literally, "it enchants me"). When I learned this, I thought the whole "enchanted" thing was a little silly--I couldn't get past the literal meaning, and I couldn't imagine a time or context in which I would use it. Until this morning. I was wandering the streets of Valparaiso, slowly making my way towards La Sebastiana, one of Pablo Neruda's houses. I stopped to take pictures of the view over the ocean, of the interesting houses, of the buildings climbing up the hills in a haphazard fashion so similar to my adopted hometown of San Francisco. And the words just slipped out of me before I could stop them: "Me encanta Valparaiso." I just can't get enough. After enveloping myself in the atmosphere and words of Neruda (I bought a book of his poetry, in Spanish and English), I took a bus down the hill to the seafood market, where I lunched on a huge bowl of super-tasty ceviche and another big bowl of chupe de mariscos--the most seafood-loaded, thickest, freshest bowl of chowder I've ever had. Then I took an ascensor--funicular--back up the hill, wondering why San Francisco doesn't have any of these wondrous inventions. I made my way down some interesting, artsy, fantastically painted side streets, too narrow and too steep for cars, and magically arrived back at the door of my hostel.

I then felt a little lazy, so I've been sitting at an Internet cafe for a few hours finishing my pictures--go look at them now! I've given up part of my time in Valparaiso to share them with you (photos of La Serena and Valparaiso are yet to be uploaded).

Now I'm off to the market to try to put together a cheap-ish dinner, then up the hill to watch the sun set over the Pacific, and to be enchanted all over again.

Posted by Amy on November 4, 2004 02:04 PM
Category: Chile
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