• Category Archives Chile 2014
  • Travel » Chile 2014
  • Vina del Mar, Valparaiso, and Santiago

    Yesterday I went on a tour to Vina del Mar and Valparaiso, which are about 1 to 1/2 hours by car from Santiago and both are on the coast. The tour isn’t one I’d do again, too crowded, and not flexible, frustrating for me to see beautiful vistas and not be able to photograph them (I guess that’s what postcards are for though).

    However, it was sort of like a hop on hop off bus you see in big cities (and the tour company also has hop on hop off bus tours in Santiago)…you get an idea of where you would like to return for a longer visit.

    Vina del Mar is a beachside community of about 250,000 (swelling to a million during summer months). We stopped for 30 minutes at one big beach and the air felt fresh (compared to Santiago which is very very smoggy, LA has nothing on Santiago in that respect). The beach we stopped at had a lot of activities, but not many swimmers, the water there in the South Pacific is cold. There were kids’ playgrounds galore and also exercise machines and stations for adults all along the boardwalk. I walked down to the rocks at one end and climbed partway up, and the ocean is always soothing when it’s not too crowded.

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    We had a lunch stop at a casino, but I walked during the break as did many of the people from the bus, and saw a lot of birds near the sea.

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    The other thing that’s interesting here in Chile is the number of stray dogs everywhere. None seem too threatening or particularly starved, but there are thousands of them…sort of like the cats in Turkey (so many stray ones..).

    We did walk around Valparaiso a little bit, then back to Santiago. Today I went to the Santa Lucia market and then walked up to the top of Santa Lucia hill where there’s a good view of the city. Unfortunately it was pretty cloudy/smoggy so there wasn’t much to see. The market was pretty good, lots of local crafts, and tons of Lapiz which is plentiful in Chile.

    Santa Lucia hill and market 2014-009 Santa Lucia hill and market 2014-014 Santa Lucia hill and market 2014-004 Santa Lucia hill and market 2014-003

  • Paella and Trophies

    This afternoon we had the trophy presentation and Paella, both of which were quite nice.

    I watched the two men making the huge paella. They had cooked rice as a base, followed by adding a saffron infused broth with chicken and spices and other things and more broth, then clams and mussels, seafood (calamari, scallops, shrimp), then meat (pork and chorizo), then peppers and green peas, salt and wine and more broth. The huge pan was then covered with foil and everything was cooked over gas for about 30 minutes. The club set out tables covered with tablecloths under the trees (the shade was welcome, it was warm today), and had wine and juice and water on the tables. Then the paella was served, and it was very pretty with the red peppers, yellow rice, green peas and various seafoods and meats.



    paella making paella making-004 paella making-007 paella making-010 paella making-012 paella making-013 paella making-016 Paella cooked tables on lawn

    During the luncheon, the trophies were presented and there were lots of speeches, mostly in Spanish. However when Paul and I were presented with our mixed trophies, he used the opportunity to thank the club for the great hospitality of the week which was great. Marc Pepin, Johannes Muehlenburg (M70, AUT) and Nick Ourusoff (USA M75) did the same as did Marc’s opponent in the 55 men’s final (but in Spanish). The hospitality was really nice here and the club seemed to welcome the players with open arms. I didn’t play the other South American tournaments but the consensus of the Europeans and some of the South American players too was that of the three Grade 1s, this is the best, then Brazil, then Argentina. 

    Heide Orth, 70s champion Johannes Muehlenburg M70 champion Marc with trophy Paul Smith and Carolyn Nichols 50 Mixed Paul thanking the club for the tournament Peter Adrigan, M70 finalist trophies-001 Nick Ourusoff


    Link to draws: http://www.itftennis.com/seniors/tournaments/tournament/info.aspx?tournamentid=1100030214

    Many thanks to the tournament staff and volunteers, the referee and tournament director and to the club members and staff for all their hospitality this week.

  • Mixed Doubles Champions (Thanks to Paul Smith!)

    Paul Smith and I won the mixed last night….or rather I should say Paul won the mixed. Let’s just say my mixed doubles expertise is minimal. We played Paula Lopez/Alvaro Araya from Chile. They play quite a bit of mixed together. This was 50 mixed, she is just 50 and he’s 51 so we were giving up a few years. Anyway, we lost the first set 76, won the second 63 (breaking Araya from 0-40 down) and then had a big tussle in the TB, going down 0-3 (with my serve at 0-3), only to win it 13-11. Paul saved about 3 match points, ,one with a spectacular behind the back  lob volley when my short serve to Araya led to a net hugging slice backhand down the line; and another with a great overhead. Mixed is a different game for sure… Paula is a nice player, she’s in the 50 singles final today. After the match we chatted with some other players…the club is dead at 10 am but quite lively at 11pm, where some people are just starting dinner and others are having dessert. There’s a big restaurant at the club and it does big business in the evenings and at lunch (which can go till 4pm or so I’ve observed). The hours in Chile seem to be a lot like those in Spain. 6:30 is definitely NOT dinner time here. Below, Paul with his new $1 collapsible teaching hat.

    Paul Smith

    In other afternoon  news, Nick Ourusoff won the men’s 75 singles over William Poist (both USA); Poist and Donald Matthias (USA) won the men’s 75 doubles. Denis Dumas (CAN) teamed with Ireneusz Maciocha from Poland to win the men’s 50 doubles. Afterwards Denis and Marc and Ireneusz had some fun with trophies from the club before Denis had to jet back to Canada.

    Ireneusz Maciocha  (POL) and Denis Dumas (CAN)   Estadio Espanol trophies Estadio Espanol trophies-001 Marc Pepin, CAN and Denis Dumas CAN 

    I watched some of the men’s 35s again, Barman from Argentina, the top seed, against a club member who had beaten the #4 seed earlier in the week, Jaime Lizana. Lizana though had a continental grip on his forehand and though he tried to hit with Barman, the Argentine’s heavy topspin shots resulted in Lizana’s forehands flying too frequently. Mid match though Lizana’s family, his wife and two girls came to watch and his daughter’s greeting of Hola Papacito made him smile.

    IMG_0202 Jaime Lizana, Chile, M35

    There are several finals today, followed by a trophy presentation and then a big paella lunch. This is a Spanish club, so much of the food is Spanish, not Chilean. Apparently the paella they make for this event is huge, bigger than a dinner table and cooked on burners in the grassy area near the courts. Photos to follow!

  • Early Singles, Late Mixed

    Thursday: I played singles at 10 today and fortunately was able to play on Court 2/Pisa 2/Cancha 2… I was scheduled for Court 12 and the referee switched us to 2 (and Heide Orth to 12). Court 12 has interesting bounces…as does Court 2, but 12 has more of them. Most of the time today I was able to play the ball off the bounces, only got one that bounced 90 degrees to my left as I swung at it and one that hit near the line and rolled. (The service lines are indented, sort of small valleys due to the continual cleaning of the lines). I played Shirley Friedl of Austria, who took out the #2 seed, Fritelli of Brazil, yesterday 46 64 61. I play Fritelli in my last round robin match tomorrow at 10am. Shirley and I had a good match, I won 62 62 and it was played in good spirit, no problems with line calls and we had some good points. Shirley is a lefty with an extreme western (Hawaiian?) forehand, but the ball bounces high here so it was hard to get it out of her strike zone.

    I have mixed at 7:30. Why so late? Because one of our opponents is a club member and works till 7pm. She’s playing with Marc Pepin from Canada who is a good mixed player. The lights look sketchy, so that will be a challenge.

    Last night I had a nice dinner with Heide and Ludwig Orth at their hotel. On the way back though, the cab driver, who looked barely old enough to  have a driver’s license, didn’t clear the meter and tried to charge me 6 times the going rate…I finally gave him a bill and left the taxi, but it left a bad taste in my mouth for sure. Most of the Chileans here have been super helpful and friendly and it feels very safe here. There are several other players event at my apartment hotel, and we all walk back and forth to the courts at different times.

    There are a few other Americans here…John Powless in the 80s (he’s cruising) and Nick Ourusoff in the 75s (he was up a set and 3/0 in the semis against the #2 seed when I left) and William Poist (who was playing the #1 seed in the semis) and his doubles partner, Donald Matthias. Poist and Matthias are seeded 2nd in the 75s. Ourusoff is playing with a Chilean and is seeded #4 in doubles and Powless and his partner are the 4th seeds in the 75s and won yesterday.

    Well, off to watch a bit of tennis and play mixed under the lights which will be a challenge (balls bouncing sideways etc under dim lights…) but at least I know March Pepin doesn’t hit too hard!


    adrigan, peter-001 Dianna, Giovanni IMG_0047 IMG_0060 Ourusoff, Nick

  • Wednesday in Chile, Round One Success

    Today I won my first round in Chile, against Carmen Bilbeny, a member of the Estancio Espanol Club. When we were given a court assignment, I heard Court 2 or Pisa dos, but someone was already there; we played on Court 6 in the end. Carmen speaks no English but her club doubles partner was fluent in English and helped translate when we needed it which wasn’t often. She hit well in warm up, smacking the ball with her forehand (her backhand technique was sketchy, but her backhand was pretty effective). However, when play began she didn’t hit it as hard and was quite vulnerable to drop shots. I won 60 60. I hit one serve to the center on the ad court and thought it was an ace; however when I looked at the mark there was a gap in the center line so who knows whether  it was touching the mythical line or not! The court was better than the ones I’d been practicing on, but there were still a lot of bad bounces, since the courts are soft. You have to just be prepared for balls to bounce low, high, or sideways at any time. After the match I went to watch the other two players in the round robin, Shirley Friedl from Austria and Rosangela Fritelli from Brazil. They were in the second set and Fritelli had won the first 64. Friedl won the second 64 and was up 2/0 when I left and looked like she was the fresher of the two. They were on court 11 which had more bad bounces than court 6 but were handling it well. I play Friedl tomorrow.

    The scheduling is interesting. Friedl, who played singles at 8:30 am is scheduled for mixed at 8:30pm! That’s most likely because the men weren’t playing till mid-afternoon and men’s doubles also started today. There aren’t a ton of courts here but one is being used for practice which is good. All of the women’s matches were at 8:30 or 10…the men all played later. 8:30 is good if you aren’t playing mixed.

    Yesterday I got to hit quite a lot. I warmed up Heide Orth at 7:30 for her 8:30 match (she returned the favor today, even though she had the day off). Then I hit some with Nanda Fischer from Germany (and Newport Beach, CA), then hit again with Heide and in the afternoon got in 45 minutes with Marc Pepin of Canada. So I am getting used to the courts but the ball is still flying some for me. It’s about 1750 feet here in Santiago. I also got a massage…$26 for 50 minutes (the dollar is the boss here).

    There was a cocktail party last night at 8:30 with some wine and champagne and light hors d’oerves and dancers and speeches (long and in Spanish).

    Everyone here is very nice and so is the club…it’s a good atmosphere.

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  • Chile, Day 2: Racquets Arrive!

    It was a good day here, beautiful weather, I got to hit tennis balls, and when I went to the airport my racquets were found! The taxi driver spike no English and I think thought I wanted to go to international cargo arrivals, and wanted T know if he should wait, and I think I correctly told him it could be 30 minutes or 4 hours…my Spanish is getting better by the minute out of necessity.

    I hit in the morning with Paul Smith, with whom I am playing this week. Denis Dumas from Canada loaned me one of his racquets, as mine were still I transit from Peru. It was a Wilson Blade 98, and let’s just say that won’t be switching to it anytime soon! It’s a lot heavier than I am used to, but it was nice of Denis to lend it to me.

    After hitting I got directions to an electronics store and got a plug adapter (only $4) so I can charge my laptop. I charged my phone yesterday via the USB port on the router in the room and would have felt more clever for thinking to do that if not for the fact that not taking a plug adapter was not clever at all!. (Especially since I had specifically taken it out before I left and (European plug adapters work here.)

    I hit a bit with Marc from Canada, served, talked with Heide Orth, and all is well. There’s some altitude, so the balls fly, the courts are variable as far as bounces are concerned and the balls, Head ATP are pretty fast.

    Continue reading  Post ID 8759