felix cumpleaños: Chile Day 6

felix cumpleaños: Chile Day 6

July 10th. My birthday. It was the 2nd time I’d celebrated my birthday overseas. The first time was 10 years ago. My family was in Corsica in the mountain village that the Guidici’s hail from. Poggio Di Nazza is hundreds of years old and it’s built on dozens of different levels. In Corsica, the locals lived in the mountains so that they could see the invading armies approaching and run into the hills. Pretty much everyone controlled the island at one time of another…The Greeks, The Romans, The Moors, The Genoese, The Nazis, and now…The French.

On the evening of the 10th we were in a bar and the locals learned it was my birthday. They spontaneously broke out singing “Happy Birthday.” It was a special moment.

In Chile I was greeted by Clara and Jessica with wishes of felix cumpleaños, hugs and kisses. Then Clara brought me out a piece of cake with a candle and sung “Happy Birthday” to me in Spanish. Outside of being home with my family, I’m not sure I could think of a better birthday breakfast.

Lomas Del Viento gang

We packed up our things and then went out to get a few Real Luke pickup shots. I’d thought about the shoot that night and realized I wanted to do a couple things differently. The light was a little different, but for the shot needed it wouldn’t be too much of a problem.

Then we said our good byes. “Estoy triste” Clara told us as we prepared to leave. We were sad too. It’d been a great week with this wonderful ladies.

birthday boy

La Parva Road

rollin' tough.

The drive down was pretty chill. Well, as chill as it could be with the hairpin turns, lack of guard rails, and Chileans coming up for the weekend with a loose concept of “lanes.” Pretty much guaranteed if we encountered a car coming up hill – it would be in our lane.

Farellones Shrine

The is a great example of how steep the road was. See those three roads that look like they are RIGHT below us? Those are parts of the same road we are on…yeah.

switch backs


In some ways it reminds me of the roads to ski areas in the Los Angeles area…cacti along the road.

DC guardrail


We stopped at the bottom of the hill and gassed up. Then unsuccessfully looked for any thing that said “Ski Farellones,” or “La Parva, El Colorado, or Valle Nevado.” Where was all the tourist crap???

Will smokes.

One of the places we looked was called Mall Sport. It was a giant mega mall that had a shop for every outdoor activity. And that’s not hyperbole. They had shops for everything from boating to knives to skateboarding to golf. And they had many facilities to try out the various gear…as the pictures below will attest to.

climbing @ mallsport

yaughts @ mallsport

wave @ mallsport

skatepark @ mallsport

mt. rainier

We left there and headed towards Santiago. The google directions we downloaded seemed fairly straight forward…but we were soon to learn that what google said and what the SIGN said were not always the same thing.

Our first problem came when we passed our exit. It was supposed to be “Americo Vespucio,” but the sign only said “Vespucio.” Was that the same road? We saw signs for other “Vespucios” further down the highway, so weren’t sure if we’d gone far enough. The road signs listed another one at “19.” Was that in 19 KM or was that exit 19? We continued down the highway figuring it would be easy enough to turn around if that next exit was the one.

It wasn’t that easy.

We got off the freeway and there was no clear way back on. Plus it was one of those spots where multiple freeways were crossing – so I feared that even if we got back on the freeway, we might get on the wrong one. Which would only compound our problem.

This ended up not being an immediate problem since we couldn’t get on ANY freeway. We drove down the street through a lower class residential area. There were a lot of people out walking around and going to a park that bordered the freeway. There were the requisite dogs…and even some horses. After about 6 blocks we realized we took a wrong turn and flipped it around.

Somehow we made it into a slightly more commercial area and seemed to be heading away from the road. Will suggested we turn back around. I agreed. We were pretty sure we were above the freeway…but were unsure if it was the correct one.

Santiago Graf Wall #3

Santiago Graf Wall #2

Santiago Graf Wall #1

We turned around and saw an on-ramp. We took it. As we drove up towards the freeway we finally saw a sign. It was the right road, Corso Norte!!! High fives all around.

When we exited Vespucio we headed the wrong way. Getting off the freeway and onto the correct road THAT THE EXIT WAS FOR required a u-turn and 4 other merges or turns. We ended up going the wrong way. The options would be labeled north/south at the first turn…but not at the 2nd…by the 4th we were completely turned around.

As went over a giant hill and away from the river I realized we were going the wrong way. Again.

We took the first exit and Will quickly realized that the there was NO on ramp the opposite way. As we got BACK on the freeway going to wrong way (it was at least on purpose this time). I figured that the signage of the exit w/ an “X” on one side must have something to do w/ the availability, or lack there of, of onramps to the freeway.

On the US State Department website it says something like “traffic signs in Chile differ from those in the USA.” But is there a list of these signs? No. Does my guidebook have them? No. Am I the first person to get lost in Chile??? I’m gonna take a wild guess and say “no.”

Finally we were on the correct road, going to correct direction. In no time at all we were at our hotel, checked in, and relaxing in the nice, clock free room.

However, the LOBBY of the hotel did have the only clock we’d seen up until that point.

thug life.

Our batteries recharged we headed out. Both Will and I liked to walk around new cities, so that is what we did. It was a beautiful winter day in JULY. The light was golden and low. The air was crisp and cool. We headed towards the city in search of some food and cortados.

Along the way we stopped to film some motorcycle delivery drivers. There were a TON of them and they fascinated me. They were basically riding dirt bikes and about 50% them were wearing slip-on loafers.


barbed wire


We grabbed a quick snack of chips from a street vendor. We never saw any “real” street food…lots of carts selling stuff, but it was all packaged goods. Probably for the best…at least as far as our stomachs were concerned.

As we sat on the ledge of a fountain and ate our chips, a young man was giving a woman a Tarot card reading on the other side. I never saw anyone beggining for money in Chile…but there were LOTS of people performing and entertaining out on the street. You’ll see the performers and delivery drivers in the film…coming soon(ish).

Ave 11 De Septiembre

pirate sticker

sticker fail.

After coffee we met some friendly streets dogs. There were a group of 4 of them that we found in a park. We played with them a bit and they seemed to love the attention. Keep in mind, we were basically DOWNTOWN. High rises around us and these random dogs, just hanging out. They weren’t mangy or dirty. They weren’t thin or hungry looking. They were friendly and smart. They’d wait for traffic signals to change – and would watch us to see when we would start across the street.

They walked with us basically all the way to our hotel…and that was a good mile away.

Santiago Street Dogs

Naps were followed by a trip to an alright restaurant for dinner. It was basically the same sort of food that we had at La Parva. It was tasty, but nothing really out of the ordinary. We went back to the hotel and rested up for our night out. I had a recommendation from a Chilean who lived in the US of a fun bar/restaurant.

The cab we got into didn’t have seatbelts…or a working first gear. The driver would make turns from the middle lane. It was pretty awesome.

El Barril was the spot. It was super packed and seemed to be in a transition from dinner to bar. There was a band playing that oscillated from Mariachi music to Karaoke, to Rock-a-billy covers. It was a little odd…but the people there were LOVING IT.

The drinks were strong. You could smoke. But no girls would make eye contact with us. Rare for Will and I…and especially rare when traveling. Two white guys with mustaches and tattoos. We obviously weren’t from there and usually that works in our favor. But apparently, not in Chile. Never did figure that one out.

Neverless, we stayed until 4am. We talked about life, snowboarding, BS…just a good hangout. It’s nice when you are traveling with someone and on Day 7 you still have things to chat about. That wouldn’t be possible with everyone…



El Barril!

We grabbed a cab back to Hotel and after some myspace/facebooking we crashed.

A full day in Santiago lay ahead of us.

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