Corrugated City

Friday 29 June 2007

Graffiti revisited

So i've found out a couple of things about 2 photos of grafitti i'd posted.

Firstly, that this is in homage to Emile Dubois. For non-Spanish speakers, Monsieur Dubois was a French immigrant who defrauded the rich and also had a penchant for murdering them as well. Valpo being a slightly contrary city, this guy (who was executed for his crimes) has become something of an unofficial saint. His grave in the cemetery of Playa Ancha is a shrine and people go to him asking for favours. Seeing as the Catholic Church as an institution is crooked, corrupt and murderous i think he'd make a fantastic official Saint and a great role model for the Church.

Secondly, this is what i wrote originally about the graffiti below:

"Don't know what that word means but the bottom line asks for the land-owner to die."

Turns out i've been the victim of a mathematical prank (mathematicians are well known for their sense of humour). I still don't know what poliedrwhatsit means but i do know it's some kind of mathematical pattern. In Spanish, the word "Patron" can mean "land owner/big boss man" and also "Pattern". So it should be translated as "Poliedrinoideahowtospellthisword Exists! Death to the pattern!" The clever maths geeks created stencil graffiti to look like left-wing propaganda and waited for simpletons such as myself to fall into their hilarious trap. Bugger.

Renovations-the structure

The house was finally clear enough to take some photos of the structure so here it is in all it's oak-y glory. What i couldn't get were any decent photos of were the foundations of the house and the part of the house that is part underground. The foundations are brick and go about 3-4 metres deep. On top of the brick a larger than usual oak beam was laid horizontally and then the vertical beams (also larger than usual on the lower-ground floor) were fixed in place. The diagonals are what really give the structure its strength. The part of the house that is underground has a wall of huge chunks of rock stacked into place and then mortared together. I'll hopefully get photos of both areas of the house in the next week when the builders destroy more of my previously perfect flat.

A few days ago we were living here. Now it's all ripped to shreds. It was important to see the state of the structure on the lower ground floor as it supports the entire weight of the house above. Luckily, it's all in pretty decent condition, only a few, minor, structural supports needed and we should hopefully be back in living there in 3 weeks. Hopefully. The lighter wood on top of the main beams is what was used to stick the dry-wall in place.

Anyway, this is a picture of an exterior wall in our flat downstairs. It's really strange- instead of filling in the space between the wooden structure with adobe, like on the 2 floors above, on this floor they used normal bricks. The architects and engineer hadn't see anything similar before.

Here you can see the staircase down to the "ground" floor- ie the ground floor of the house above but not the separate flat below where we live (it's actually the first floor of the whole house for the british and second floor for americans and chileans) The ground floor for this part of the house is entered at street level. I'll refer to the flat below as 'lower ground floor'-you enter that level halfway down a staircase and it's partly underground.

Here you can see the sheer amount of oak beams holding the structure in place. Most of the beams are structural although a few are just room-dividers. These walls used to be covered in adobe stucco.

This is downstairs. The wall to the left is the main structural wall. Thankfully it's in almost perfect condition.

At some point in the past the house slipped a little down the hill most probably due to the constant tremors and minor and major earthquakes over the past few decades. It happened to all the houses in my street. It doesn't sound like much, but it slipped around 6cm leaving dips and hills and the floors leaning to one side. In other words: Not flat.

So what a previous owner did was level the floors by adding a new wooden floor on top of the original. The original floor was Oregon Pine, a wood that is now ridiculously expensive as it's quite rare nowadays. The floor on top is Rauli (i can't find a translation anywhere), which is also stupidly expensive. So we're going to save the original floor, bring it up to the new level of the house and keep the rauli- we have around 200m2 of floor we can save for a different project, which is great news. And we get to restore the house to its original form. Even better news.

And finally..I've seen this notice loads of times in Buenos Aires but it's the first time i've seen it in Chile. It reads:

Due to the existence of stairs to access this building, the owners are not responsible for accidents that occur in the lifts.


Thursday 28 June 2007

The Financial Times on Valpo

I read this article a few months back and couldn't remember where. Today i came across it again. Have a read, it's quite a good travel fluff piece. The guy seems to like Valpo as much as i do. That's a lot.

Read the article by clicking right here and nowhere else

Saturday 23 June 2007

Grafitti again again

And normal service has resumed on Corrugated more advertising for a while, i promise. I found a fair bit more grafitti around town, much to my surprise, and also a really cool mural that somehow i'd missed for the last 5 months. Not sure how as i park my car directly opposite it almost every observant, eh?

Twiggy again?

Super, super Bob, super, super Bob, super, super Bob, super Bobby Taylor (sorry, Marley)

Is this the Little Prince?

I'm pretty sure this is a reference to the MIR

Consuming consumes you

Give it...until it hurts...

Yes-i missed this mural for almost 6 months, despite parking my car directly opposite on the other side of the street.

Friday 22 June 2007

Real Estate in Chile

Please visit for more information.


Last week it rained properly for the first time since last winter. Today we're having our first major storm. As i said before, Valparaiso is pretty famous for its temporales. I'm pretty sure there's much worse to come but, still, the quantity of water flowing across my front door step is quite impressive.

Even even more more photos of Valparaiso

On Monday we have to move out of our flat on the ground floor of our house whilst the builders do a little reinforcing of the structure. It should take 3-4 weeks. We're moving over to Reñaca during this time to a relative's summer apartment. It´s quite nice but it´s small-around 50m2 and we've got 2 cats to fit in as well as us. It does have a brilliant view. Anyway, the biggest problem is that whilst we have a 2 mega internet connection here in Valpo (which sometimes gets up to 2.7 mega during quiet times), over in Reñaca we'll have to make do with 256k. So i'm going to try and do as many posts as i can with photos over the weekend, because as of Monday it'll take me about week to get photos uploaded...

So here are a few more photos of Valpo for your enjoyment...

Plaza Sotomayor. I really don't like this but at least they didn't knock down the facade

On the corner of plaza Sotomayor and next to the Naval HQ is this building. It looks burnt out but in actual fact it was never finished and has stood like this for decades. The owner, an old woman, lives in a semi finished flat and rents out space on the ground floor as storage.

Valpo is famous for its crazy wiring. As part of being designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, all the wires in the designated area must be put underground. 4 years after the award and nothing's been done. Que sorpresa.

In February, a gas explosion killed over 20 people on Calle Serrano, in the heart of the unesco area. This is the big test-how much does the government care about Valpo's award? Will they spend the money necessary to make things right?

Plaza Echaurren in sector La Matriz, the oldest part of town.

Re-cobbling the streets around La Matriz

Behind La Matriz

La Matriz

Only in Valpo...this statue was 'given' to Valpo by a US businessman in the early 1900s. The guy was accused of some sort of fraud, fled back to the States and sent the statue back as a symbol of 'injustice'. Look at the scales representing justice-hanging down by her side. The sword's more upright. Also, have a look at the size of the guy just behind her. Due to malnutrition, many Chileans are only 12 inches tall. Have a guess where they decided to put the statue...outside the law courts. Brilliant.

The first funicular lifts built in Valparaiso. El Concepcion/Turri and El Peral. Both British engineered. We're so great.

The Statue to the fun lovin', Spaniard, Portuguese, French and Turkish slapping Scotsman

Plaza Bellavista

Avenida Brasil. This building went up in 1947, long after Valpo's heyday. It's in great condition.

The Public library on Plaza Victoria

On Calle Blanco just before Pasaje Ross. In the bottom right hand corner, you'll notice the Cerveza del Puerto beer factory.

Thursday 21 June 2007

Nee-naw...Fire Stations revisited

Remember my post from a couple of months ago about the different nationalities all having their own fire stations. Well last weekend, whilst wandering around Plaza Sotomayor, i saw that the Bomba Alemana was open and they had their fire engines out in the street. Both from Germany. A nice gift, eh? Not only that, but actually in the fire station they have an old fire truck. The guys on duty were really nice and invited us in to take a look. Like little kids, we couldn't help but clamber aboard...

I also passed the British Fire Station today-unfortunately it was shut, but here's the fire engine from hampshire that i talked about before. On the wall of the station there's an incredible mural but i couldn't get a photo because of the reflection. It might be open on Saturday so i'll take a look.