Ah! Sweet relaxation. The nighttime musicians have finally departed. They were perfectly friendly fellas during the daytime, but I must admit I shan’t miss their 5am festivities.
Today and the next day, I will be devoting a large chunk of time to jobwork, as it’s a very busy week of the year for us. This is what I occupied myself with into early afternoon. Then, I remembered I hadn’t eaten lunch, so I grabbed a sandwich before heading off into the city for a while.
My hope for the day was to cross off another objective from my Chile list: “buy backpack.” I arrived here with one medium-sized suitcase and a large backpack. Originally, I’d thought I might buy an extra suitcase to bring home any loot/gifts I’d acquired. Now, I think I will just baggage-check the backpack, as I did for Patagonia. That means I need something for carry-on that’s large enough to hold my laptop, since I don’t trust it to the wilds of the luggage compartment.
I strolled through town, hoping to stumble across La Tienda de Mochilas Baratas, but with no clear destination in mind. The mercado had disappeared, to my great surprise; it had been set up in the plaza for longer than I’d been here! Now where will I get my rum-flavored chocolates? I poked through a number of stores, including a Macy’s-caliber department store called Ripley. I did find some mochilas (backpacks), but all much fancier than what I required. Alas.
As I was walking back from Plaza Victoria, I got sidetracked by an open doorway in the side of the Natural History Museum. I peeped my head in, to see if the museum (closed indefinitely for repairs since the 2010 earthquake) was miraculously open. It was not, but there was a small art exhibit called “Valparaíso y el mar” (Valparaíso and the Sea), which had just opened yesterday — good timing! I decided to check it out. It was located in a strange, cellar-like space, built of brick and slabs of stone, formed into numerous archways and wings. A musty smell pervaded the air.
The exhibit was a diverse series of paintings, mostly of Valpo and/or the sea (as you may have inferred from the exhibit’s name). There were some paintings of stormy water with incredibly realistic waves. There were also a few interesting depictions of Valpo a few hundred years ago, when it was just a few scattered buildings starting to creep up the hills, instead of the solid mass of today.
Once I had looked through the entirety of the red-brick cellar’s ocean artwork, I returned home for dinner. I was still backpack-less, but I enjoyed my town.