So this morning we awoke again to fog, but that is fine we know it will burn off. We are off to the fish market and fort today.
Star Gazer had to work again today, but she will be joining us tomorrow and Friday for our travels.
My sister was reading the news this morning and discovered that we were lucky to get out of southern Chile when we did. It seems there are demonstrations going on and the roads in and out of Torres Del Paine are blocked and you cannot get in or out of Patagonia. My first thought was good for us, my second was oh how terrible for the Bel Aire peeps and Miami Brits, they were due to leave the resort today – I am hoping you can read the sarcasem in my words. I hope they have to stay another week and spend lots of their money at the resort. Or better yet, the resort checked them out they got on their way and they can't get back and have to sleep in a van.
Alrighty, so off to the fish market we go. It is in the harbor of Kocoquimbo and there are small fishing boats, large fishing boats, medium size fishing boats, boats that look like they can no longer sail
and lots of fish. Lots of fish. Did I say lots of fish. I gotta say most fish is pretty ugly.
It was in every form you could think of. Whole. Fillets. Just the heads. Steaks. Chopped up in little cups with all the mixers for ceveche. Hung from hooks. Then there were crabs. Octopus. Squid, Shrimp. I am not sure I had ever seen so much fish. You could buy it to take home or even eat there. The fishermen in their long rubber pants and boots had their own stalls outside and sold their catch fresh from off their boats.
And then there were cats. Little ones. Big ones. Cute ones and not so cute ones. I mean lets face it, what better place for a cat to hang out than a fish market.
Out back behind where the fishermen were selling was a dock where waiting in the water around the dock were the largest sea lions I have ever seen. They were making lots of noise and just waiting for someone to throw scraps off the dock. They seem to eat very well here. There were also pelicans, inca terns and the ever present rats with wings – seagulls. We did put up our hoods cause with all those birds....
We went back thru the fish market to a tourist market. They sold sweaters, pants, jewlery and little stuff the everyone needs to purchase on their vacation. We made one womans day by buying five sweaters, three shirts and a couple of pair of pants between us. Then off to the fort.
Now the fort is weird. It was built in the 50's we think. La Serena built a lighthouse right before this to attract tourists. It is like something from Disneyland, but not as nice. Kind of looks like a castle, but not really. Kocoquimbo wanted something to draw the crowds that came for the lighthouse to them, so they built this little fort out on a spit of land. It is made to look like a red stone, they have walk ways and short little towers that look out over the ocean. They also have these out of place victorian light fixtures?? Go figure.
The best part was the sea lions lounging out on a rock. Have I said they are big?? They are big.
Then off to luch at the casino – no we did not gamble – for pizza. It was actually very good.
Then it was home for a little nap and more hummingbird stalking and waiting for Star Gazer to come home so she can play with us the next two days.
Looking forward to tomorrow. We are going up to Gemini Observatory where we will see what Star Gazer is in charge of. Then into Pisco territory and into the dessert for the night.
Oh, I just found out that before Gustave Eiffel designed and built the tower that bears his name in Paris, he built the Iglesia de San Marcos in Arica, Chile! He had orginally been commissioned to build a church in Peru for the town of Ancon, but in 1868 a great earthquake ruined that plan and things were rerouted to Arica. Parts were fabricated in Paris and shipped to Chile, it took five years to complete this project. This creation was still standing after a major earthquake in 2001. He also designed a clock tower in Pisagua and a cathedral in Peru. Who knew Monsoir Eiffel and why did they want him to design these things? If we only had more time.....
Tomorrow the telescope and Pisco Elqui, stay tuned.