Tag Archives: bars

The party gets started

Note this post covers the 8th and 9th of February 2010.

After the markets and icecream, we spent much of the afternoon just sitting in the sun, eating, catching up on emails, uploading photos, that sort of junk. It was really quite plesant and relaxing.

We then had an invitation to have drinks (mainly of vodka) at Laura’s house that night; we got dropped over there, and then went down to the local bottle store, which we were told is set up as a front for the local drug-running mafioso,  and because of this, and their not caring too much about making money, prices are kept, shall we say, quite low. A wonderful night was had by all four of us, and the conversation in half English / half Spanish flowed very well.

Pisco Elqui

Pisco Elqui Plaza
Pisco Elqui Plaza

On Wednesday, we went for a trip up to Pisco Elqui valley with Paulina. That is where the local spirit, Pisco, is made; it’s very strong grape liquor and is a little bit like a brandy.

To get to there, we had to take two busses, firstly to Viquña, then from there to Pisco Elqui. The busses were of the small and rickerty variety, and filled to the brim. We had to stand up in the second bus for some of the way, as we barrelled down the road at well over 100km/h in the heat.

We passed through small and picturesque village, and finally reached Pisco Elqui after a couple of hours. We wandered around the town plaza, and through the small markets and around town for a bit.

After a while we got hungry (and not just a little overheated), so we found a neat restaurant a distance away from the main part of town. It was called “La Esquela” (The School), as it was apparently converted from an old schoolhouse. We ate Pastel de Choclos, which I hadn’t had myself in many years, and for desert, this crazy traditional drink which was peach juice, with dried peaches floated on top of a bed of wheat grains. While very tasty, they were also huge, and we couldn’t finish them.

Pastel de Choclo
Pastel de Choclo

Dessert drink
Dessert drink

After eating, we walked down the road, through to a set of cabins owned by our Aunt and Uncle, and down to a riverbank at the bottom of the property, the idea being to get away from the heat; maybe dip our feet in the water or go for a swim. However recent heavy rains had apparently changed the shape of the river considerably making this unfeasable, so we just rested in the shade for until it was time to go on the distillery tour at 5pm.

Although it was entirely in Spanish (and the guide punctuated every sentence with ‘ya’ which I found funny),  the distillery tour was pretty cool. Pisco is a liquor made from a particular kind of grape, and then distilled and aged. It tastes a bit like a rum I guess. Pisco Sour is the most common cocktail made with it, and the ones on offer here were much better than any I’d had back at home.

Coqiumbo at night

After arriving back in La Serena after our Pisco trip, we had a quick dinner and were then told that we were going to be driven out to Coquimbo for a few drinks, with our cousin and aunt and uncle. After a very slow trip driving along the beachfront road (traffic was horrific); we made it into Coquimbo at maybe 10pm or something like that.

Downtown Coquimbo was pretty lively, there were a number of bars around the central area filled with people, street performers in the plaza, and a bus with the label “Tourist bus” on the side; a double-decker lit up affair with an open roof, music blaring out, and people dressed in various costumes (barney, mickey mouse etc) dancing on top of it.

We found one street that had been blocked off to cars, with bars down one side of it, and filled with tables and chairs. Three of the bars had bands set up in front of them, and each band was taking turns at doing their sets. We managed to find a table in the crowd eventually, sat down and ordered a round of mojitos. One of the bands was seemingly playing traditional classics and every body in the crowd was happily singing along:

After some incredibly tasty nibbles including palm hearts, cheese bits, amazingly tender beef, and spicy sausage, and another round of mojitos (darn those two for one specials, haha), we were treated to some latin beat freestyle rapping curtosey of one of the audience members and his friends:

All in all, an exhausting, full on, and fun day had by everyone.

It’s bit like on like Baywatch

Note this post covers the 6th of February ’10.

Internets are tricky Part 1

I always expected that it would be tricky to get decent Internet connections on this holiday, and I was not wrong. Once we’d arrived in La Serena, it was revealed that the USB dongle type Internet connection thing was inoperable; The Windows PC it was tried on, would spew forth tons of virus warnings whenever you tried to run the connection software.
I plugged it into my Mac, and installed the software, which seemed to go OK, but then the only signal I could coax out of the device was GPRS, instead of a HSPDA or UTMS signal, and thus it was slower-than-dialup slow. Not ideal. We took the device down to the Claro shop at the Mall, where it all functioned perfectly. Great.
Then magically, the next day it started working. Whoop. I managed to share it via the wireless on my laptop, so at least Fran and I could use it then. Later I replaced the virus checker on the PC, (turns out Avast was giving false positives), and all was well again.

It’s a bit like on Baywatch

Humitas
Humitas. Delicious.

After having an awesome and huge lunch consisting of Humitas and a (deliciously sweet) giant watermelon, we took the bus down to another part of the beach, where there was tons of activities going on, such as bouncy castles, beach volleyball, kiosks with Internet right on the beach, girls in small bikinis giving away free ice cream. Yep, it was alright.

Despite this beach being much less over-run with jellyfish, (and far more over-run with smoking hot South American babes) it didn’t stop some people getting into trouble. We saw at least two instances where the surf rescue helicopter flew out over the water, dropped in a scuba guy, and then fished him and another person out of the (incredibly calm and un-dangerous) surf. I think there’s a general consensus that Chileans can’t swim for shit. The fun really came when then helicopter decided it was cool to do super low passes over the beach, sending beach umbrellas in all directions…

We finished up the afternoon by having pizza and beers at a place called Huentelauquen Pizzeria, which was a restaurant where half of it was shaped like a giant Pirate Ship. No photos of that because I didn’t have my camera with me (and cameras with big lenses on them are creepy at the beach, right?) and all the photos of it I can find on the Internet are wildly out of date 🙁
The pizza was alright, the beer was better, and for the first time in about as long as I could remember I felt totally relaxed and at peace with things. I was finally On Holiday.

Good idea / Bad idea?

While in this state of relaxation, and listening to the house band belt out a rendition of “Pretty Woman” I wondered if they should make a prequel to that movie. Where it’s 2 hours of Julia Roberts doing awful things while turning tricks with sweaty old men, and Richard Gere sits in board meetings getting rich. Should I start making my pitch to Hollywood now?


Overdue blog post is (extremely) overdue…

I kept a little file with some running notes as to what I should write in here, but I’ve just realised they have absolutely no semblance of chronological order at all.. so I’ll lump them together in a different way…

Gigs:

Little Pictures (x2): Fran mentioned that these guys would be hitting town, and I remembered seeing them at her alternative craft fair event last year, so I thought I’d pop along to give them some support as it’s got to be hard playing in an unfamiliar town.
Anyway, their first gig is at some weird multi-level club, in the basement level. Apparently the event is some end-of-semester student thing, and there are a very very young and very very drunk kids running around. Dressed in fluro. Throwing up all over the place. Most of them luckily spend their time upstairs away from the bands. I actually had to talk my way past the bouncers because I looked too old. Good grief. Continue reading Overdue blog post is (extremely) overdue…

The Retreat has terrible art on the walls….

Aha! A new post, and so soon! Crikey….

Just figured I’d catalogue what I got up to in the weekend..

  • Spent Friday evening with Becca and her friend Brad, got some beers and food down at the Northcote social club, and went back to watch some DVDs. I wasn’t in such a great mood after the events of the past week, and having to watch “Miss Congeniality 2” and “Clueless” didn’t help. 🙂
  • Saturday was shaping up to be a bit of a bust (it was raining pretty badly outside). Clara was completely AWOL, so DV8 was looking unlikely. In a flash of genius, I got hold of Anna and Makoto, who came round for an evening of Wii gaming. We played Tennis/Bowling/Boxing, Super Mario Galaxy and a fairly long game of Mario Party 8. Everyone was thoroughly entertained 🙂
  • Sunday afternoon I managed to drag myself out to the Victoria Markets to get some fruit/vegetables to snack on (instead of my usual chocolate… I’m trying to be good). I figure I should bring Fran along when she visits in a couple of weeks. Ended up buying NIN’s The Fragile and the After Forever album pretty cheaply too.
  • Sunday evening went out to Brunswick to a bar called “The Retreat” for Amy’s birthday celebration thing. Managed to catch up with a few of the people I spent New Years’ with, so that was good. The company was excellent, the band was good, the food was average, and the art… well… lets just say that the Third Eye/Glitter/Lady Bits rendition on the wall probably isn’t going to feature in a national gallery any time soon…
  • Monday evening. Redeemed my movie horrors of Friday night by going to one of those internet meetup things at Nova, and saw The Counterfitters, which was excellent, but depressing, as most holocaust movies tend to be…

I also now have a copy of Boom Blox for the Wii. It’s extremely entertaining.

Foxy bassists, ghosts, shipping containers and new friends

Well, I’ve been here around 2 months now – in some ways it feels like longer – things are somewhat settled and comfortable now, but in others, it seems like it’s been less time.. still so much is unknown!

I managed to see Disasteradio in the end at the Evelyn on Brunswick Street. Excellent, as always, DRad always manages to put a massive grin on my face 🙂

Saw a local act, Gotye, play at the Prince Bandroom, which is a great venue in St Kilda – seems to host a lot of international acts there too.. (see pic of upcoming shows there)

MindlessSelfIndulgance_1Went to the Soundwave festival with Clara, out of the 40-odd bands playing, we only really knew about 5 of them between us… we managed to mostly avoid the Emo bands, and very definitely avoided Incubus – highlights were Divine Heresy and As I Lay Dying and from Autumn to Ashes(all of the grr metal variety. Mindless Self Indulgence were outstanding and loads of fun. It also helps that the female bass player is a total fox, and definitely had the moves 🙂
The Offspring were on last, and were great, nostalgia++. As per usual, I’ve got videos up at http://youtube.com/user/haxtheplanet.

Continue reading Foxy bassists, ghosts, shipping containers and new friends