Corrugated City

Sunday, 29 November 2009

Caleta Quintay: Update

Fantastic news..!

  • The deadline for the project approval has been extended until mid-January
  • Without going into details that I've been asked not to mention, it would seem there's a genuine will on the side of MOP to reassess the project. Let's hope that they take into consideration everyone's points of view.
  • A well-known architect from Tunquen, Pedro Salas, has become involved in the little tussle- I hope that any project he is involved in is as considerate to the environment as some of his houses are (I've seen a couple in Tunquen- he's a really good architect).
My, personal, opinion of what should happen to Caleta Quintay is:

  • Ban public parking from the start of the single track road leading down to the caleta and have a single bus that goes up and down at 5 to 10 minute intervals at certain busy times. People can either take the bus or walk down.
  • Extend the pathway that leads to the ex-whaling station by a couple of metres out into the sea and make it nice. The coastal path that leads from the beach in Zapallar would be a good model.
  • Convert the ex-whaling station into a proper museum, based on the numerous examples from around the world (I drove 6 hours to go to the one in Albany in Australia).
  • Also use the ex-whaling station as the dock for the fishermen.
  • Whales will continue to return to Quintay over the coming years. In 10-15 years, they will be a regular sight. Educate the local fishermen about whale-watching tourism and make them understand that they'll be able to make far more money doing that than fishing in the medium term. Seriously- whales will be under two hours from Santiago and the airport. 30 minutes from Vina and Valpo. You usually have to travel hours and hours from major cities to see whales in South America. This could be huge business.
Anyway, that's my take on what should be done. I'm sure that not everyone agrees but I hope that the opinions of people who, like me, are not directly affected will be taken on board. A place like Caleta Quintay should be there for the enjoyment of everyone who lives in or visits this country.

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

How To Destroy Something Beautiful, Chilean Style: Caleta Quintay

A few weeks ago, I went with a friend to Quintay as he was interested in purchasing one of the restaurants down by the caleta (fishermans' wharf/dock).

Caleta Quintay is beautiful. The drive from the Ruta 68 is beautiful, winding through forests before a series of sharp curves take you down into the town of Quintay. A single lane track leads down to a little cove with a beach and several decent seafood restaurants. On the walk down the lane, it's like a small little fishing village in Cornwall, only with better weather. It's really very pretty.

A couple of hundred metres along from the Caleta is the ex-whaling station. Whaling stopped in the 1960s and last year a mother and her calf were spotted for the first time since then. Whales are returning to Quintay after almost 50 years.

The whaling station is now open to the public as a museum. Granted, it's a pretty poor museum; the exhibits look like a 12 year old's school project but the potential to do something great is clearly there.

Unfortunately, the Ministerio de Obras Publicas and the local fisherman have other ideas. They plan to cement 30 metres out into the Ocean, covering the rocks, destroying the local eco-system, disrupting the nesting habits of Quintay's pelican population and completely destroying everything that is lovely about Caleta Quintay.

The supposed plan is for a new dock for the fisherman. It's pretty obvious to everyone that the dock will simply be used for parking. There is no need whatsoever for a new dock. The ex-whaling station that is already there would be ideal for the fishermen.

The budget for the project is about us$36 million. Seriously. Can you imagine what they could do with the Caleta and the whaling station with us$36 million if they wanted to design something good, something devoted to tourism, to whale-watching. The fishermen are clearly crazy- more tourists mean more restaurants which would mean more business for them.

This project will do nothing but drive tourists away from the Caleta. A huge opportunity to undertake a truly worthwhile project is about to missed.

Why not use the money to convert the whaling station into a wharf and a proper museum (as has happened very successfully in countless former whaling towns worldwide)? The beach area and coastal path could be renovated and cleaned up. Instead of allowing people to park at the beach (which creates serious traffic issues along the single track road leading down), why not have a bus system that runs from the top to the bottom (with parking only allowed from where the bus leaves)?

It is so frustrating to see Chile make the same stupid mistakes we made in Europe in the 60s and 70s that lead to so much destruction . Why can't this country learn from those mistakes?

I simply cannot understand how anyone could think this project is a good idea.

So you can see the scale of the destruction about to be wreaked on Caleta Quintay, the plans are below. If you are interested in knowing more, contact Mario F. Illanes, head of Comité, Salvemos la Caleta de Quintay via email: rightdir(at)

The group needs urgent legal assistance, time is running out to either stop of modify the project. If you can help, please do.

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Zapallar in 1992

I seem to be posting more on this blog since I left Valpo than before...and I'm neglecting Colchaguino.

Anyway, I came across this article about Zapallar in the New York Times from all the way back in 1992. With the exception of the prices, it's still extremely accurate and interesting to read that almost 20 years ago Vina del Mar, Concon and Renaca had "become so overbuilt, with so many high-rise condominimums, that they resemble Miami Beach and Fort Lauderdale in atmosphere. Simply driving up the coast in summer in those areas involves traffic jams and delays. Moreover, officials are worried about water pollution and inadequate sewage facilities for the large number of people."

The article also talks about a 'Presidential aspirant' Sebastian Pineras (sic)...

If you're looking for real estate in Zapallar, please feel free to contact me via: Chile Investments

Monday, 16 November 2009

Calle Condell Before and After The 1906 Earthquake

These pictures give a pretty good idea as to the level of destruction wrought by the 1906 earthquake in Valparaiso.

Before- around 1870-1880. Look how pretty and peaceful it looks; no micros.

After- 1906

The church tower you can see belonged to the Iglesia Espiritu Santo in Plaza Victoria. It survived the 1906 earthquake but not the mentally deficient town planners who decided to knock it down in the 1970s in order to build an apartment block so monumentally foul, one might conclude that the architect was a blind toddler who drew up the plans with a pencil between his toes.

Sunday, 8 November 2009

The First Expats

Valparaiso is a city built by immigrants from all over the world, the original expats in Chile. The fire departments are testament to this, as are the cemeteries and also these adverts in a magazine from the 1920s.

The Bar Ingles is still around in the same place. It's a beautiful little traditional wood bar, shame its lunches are so unbelievably expensive and bad.

Baburizza- the man who built the palace of the same name on Cerro Alegre which the council has still not got around to reopening as the Museo de Bellas Artes 10 years after they closed it for renovations. Shameful.

Casa Francesa- locales in Paris, Lyon, Marseille, Buenos Aires, Santiago and Valpo...

Saturday, 7 November 2009


Fellow ex-Buenos Aires resident Dan has just wrapped up another season of fruit farm and farmers' market blogging from Chicago. If you love fruit, fruit based recipes and laughing at the stupidity of people who shop at farmers' markets then I'd highly recommend heading over to Fruit Slinger.
And I will hopefully get around to posting something worthwhile and relevant to Valparaiso on this blog soon but, please, don't hold your breath.

You may have noticed I posted the same thing over on Colchaguino. Please feel free to read it again on a different blog.

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Updated Bloggers In Chile List

I've updated and rearranged the Chile blog list over on Bloggers In Chile. It's a great resource for anyone looking for information about living and working in Chile. If you're on the list, please can you link back to it on your blog. Thanks!