This city is a vibrant, colourful, muddled stack of buildings rich with art and culture. Unfortunately we only had a day here. Chile has so much graffiti art and Valparaiso is a graffiti hub with some of the most beautiful works on almost every surface for everyone to enjoy. It is a point of contention for some locals but for me, along with the mess of beautifully coloured buildings all resting on each other, the graffiti is Valparaiso.
My Mum is Chilean and was, like many Chileans, overly paranoid of other Chileans. You probably should be careful in some areas and scams to separate rich tourists from their pesos are common but the people are wonderful and friendly and Chile was a great experience. If you are visiting the Valpariso house of Pablo Neruda, take some extra time and wonder the surrounding streets, I found them more fun, more beautiful and less of a rip off than La Sabastiana. It is still a great experience being in the eccentric home of Neruda, that stacks, rises and turns like the city itself and has a magnificent view.
If you get the chance to go here, visit Eric at neighbouring Vina del Mar and see the sand sculptures. Local artists work in the morning producing some amazing works, transient and again expending a lot of effort for the enjoyment of passers by. I love street art, it is there for everyone, the artist asks for nothing and is driven by the ability to share their skill and passion. The sculptor does in this case depend on whatever passers by can offer in change or whatever they are willing to part with. Eric was the sculptor that was there when I was. He told me he had only been working there for four months after moving from Santiago, with how amazing his sculptures were it was hard to believe. I asked him if I could work with him the following day and happily he said sure, "Hasta manana". It was definitely tedious and precision work with preparation and a few simple tools, a sharp knife, chop stick and a bamboo skewer, lots of water and some great tips that I will be taking to the beach with me next time I get to go. Of course I gave Eric a gift of some money after we had our day together but he didn't expect or demand it and even said it was too much but I couldn't hope to have found someone to share so much knowledge and patient tuition.
I love sculpting on the beach, I am not an exhibitionist but I love creating magic and wonder for adult and child alike. I was a bit cheekier and darker when I was younger and my first sand sculpture was in very bad humour and comprised of a human leg and arm emerging from the sand. My last one before I got to work with Eric was Godzilla and King Kong walking towards each other, separated by a few very simplistic buildings. You can never be too precious with sand sculptures because you know they are a child away from disappearing but I love the way they are contagious. One sand sculpture often turns into a row of sculptures and sculptors.