Published: April 9th 2012April 8th 2012
Slept in finally!! Later, Maria Gloria and I went to the Feria, or farmers' market of sorts. Here in Conti, it is set up every day, every season. It was full of interesting foods and things for sale. Lots of fruits and vegetables including the biggest celery I have ever seen in my life! Like 2+ feet long and very full. We traveled to Talca again for the weekend and this evening, grandma and two daughters sat around the table chopping and trimming one such celery stalk. It probably took them a half hour to do it. On our way home from the market, we stopped by the little corner store next to the apartment that sells fresh bread. I couldn't resist trying a roll because the smell permeates the air, all the way up through our open apartment windows. Oh yumm!
Before leaving town, we spent some time at the beach both on Thursday night and Friday morning, walking through the black sand, enjoying the view and sounds before dining at the beachside restaurants. Fransisca tells me that there used to be many many more before the tsunami. At the restaurant, I tried my first Chilean empanada. I chose one
with Mariscos, or shellfish. Wow - no wonder people around here eat them all the time!
Well, I'm impressed. It's one thing to put 15 people in a rickety old van, but to do it and leave within 30 minutes of the desired departure time? Not bad! Myself and almost all the family in Talca piled into this vehicle this morning as we headed off to Vilchez for the day where some Tios own a little cabin out in a forested area. We pulled in and set up right away for some snacks while lunch was in the makings. Afterwards, we ventured to the neighbor's house to explore their expansive garden full of fruits and vegetables including the best tasting grapes of my life! For lunch, we had this fantastic rice dish, chorito, with mussels in it along with a large selection of vegetables. I ate inside the little cabin because the bees outside were being such a bother. Afterward, I took a nap in one of the four hammocks they had strung near one another. Later in the afternoon, we took a walk down to the river through a lovely lush trail filled with native plants that
jovial Tio pointed out. The only bad thing was the ashy soil that made big clouds of dust with every step. I felt like we were walking on the moon! We took a break once we arrived at the river, finding places to sit on stones protuding from the cool water. It was beautiful! More like a creek, filled with smooth stones and across the way, a greenery covered rock made a steep drop to the other side. Looking upstream, you could see great mountains. Before we left Vilchez, Tio presented me with a stone from a mine. It was green with oxidized copper! Raw material at its finest! At the end of the day, we finally drove off after watching the stunningly beautiful sunset, leaving Tio and Tia in a candlelit cabin.
On Sunday I got to meet up with Cody, a CIEE colleague, but only briefly. I arrived and it turns out he had unknowingly agreed to go ride motor bikes with his host brother. I love how all of us are so unaware of what's going on around us! No wonder placements and orientation were such a mystery - it was preparation! It turned out to be a worthy trip though. We enjoyed the 15 minute visit and since Maria Gloria came with me, she got to visit with Cody's host mom. It's also good to know where he lives so I can visit again. The house is large so we might have a reunion there sometime!