I spent some time in a jail yesterday. It was very relaxing. I sketched a bit. The jail isn’t used to hold prisoners any more. It has been converted to a cultural centre; now it’s called Parque Cultural Ex-Carcel. If you are visiting Valparaiso; you can reach it by walking up on Cumming road. The jail is right next to the Cemeteries.
Wouldn’t it be great if we could convert jails in South Africa to cultural centres?The cultural centre used to be an interesting colourful public space a few years ago – this blog post has pictures of what it used to look like. Recently there have been changes made to the space by the municipality and a beautiful new building has been built – here’s an Archdaily blog about the new building that has exhibition spaces inside.I am sad to say that the old jail/ cultural centre seemed to be a lot more interesting a few years ago. Now all the walls are painted white. The landscaping is neatly done, but it feels too organised. The space has high walls surrounding it, but entry is free. When I was there, a few other people were sketching and doing yoga on the grass.After my visit to the jail, we had an interesting evening – we participated in a cooking/ socialising event – we cooked renaca ( local fish) in wine and beer – yum!Our night ended on an interesting note with a visit to the legendary J Cruz M. You get to this dodgy restaurant by walking down a dark narrow alley.
Inside there are a lot of random collectables like porcelain figures in glass cases. People stick their ID photos and business cards on any imaginable surface.Of course we needed to eat a chorrilana – apparently this ‘dish’ was invented here in J Cruz. Dirk says that it’s not a chorillana if it doesn’t have an egg on top, but I enjoyed it. Lastly, a picture of a grumpy cat. This is Samatha, our housemate. Someone gave her a bath, so she sat in the corner looking all grumpy and fluffy.