VALPARAISO!As the bus turned beyond a mountain pass, I was suddenly welcomed by an explosion of kaleidoscopic colours of Santiago’s bohemian sister town, known to the locals as Valpo! And my new home. A dynamic harbour-town built over 45 hills on which its traditional elevators, ascensores, still trundle up and down the steep hills, cerros. From atop you breathe in this city with all its beautiful chaos, the same views that inspired the Chilean poet and activist Pablo Neruda’s poetry, and many others. This city re-awakened my senses and thirst for creativity. At every turn, I was faced with gritty multi-hued houses and alleys, with the town acting as a canvas for inspiring street art representing post-dictatorship progressive political expressions and movements. It was great to dive and explore Valparaiso’s bay, aside from the cold Pacific waters! The many shipwrecks and artefacts discovered in its bay continue to give us clues into its historic past, having been a strategic port during the gold rush for trading vessels rounding Cape Horn, which led to its boom and cosmopolitan nature. Street performers and Latin rhythms always resonated across Valpo, bringing the streets to life. Art festivals showcased influential artists like Chilean rapper and activist Ana Tijoux. I even made it onto the local newspaper once, enjoying a wine tasting event which gathered traditional wineries from around the country! It is also the town where I experienced my first earthquake – though common in Chile, the sudden strong trembling that pulsated through the apartment shook me! A fond memory was my weekly stroll by the seaside where I would be greeted by an unexpected horde of large sun-bathing playful seals! This is Valpo!
[excerpt from my ‘Snippets of a Nomadic Year: From South America to the Balkans‘ article published in F*Shift Magazine‘s Explorer issue, Oct 2016, pp. 40-41]
I thought I’d kick off this creative trigger with my first post to this new blog…a venture I’ve been meaning to take on for a while. I lead somewhat of a double life: I’m an underwater archaeologist and international model. And so here it is, ‘Shipwrecks & Runways’ – a glimpse into my adventures around the world stemming from two of my main pursuits. Hope you enjoy the ride! 🙂