So we wake up today to fog, the usual start to a morning here at this time of year. I can see that we are perched high up on a hill, but not much more than that. We have slow morning, coffee, showers, a little surfing the internet and off we go.
Star Gazer has to work – how sad is that? So Chilean Sister, my beloved, Chip and I set out to explore a little of La Serena. We drive down the hill to the beach to check things out. The beach is long here, there are lots of big boats off in the water and not many people. The season is over and all the tourist have left. What does that make us? We have lunch at a little place run by a Columbian woman – yum!!! My sister says that it is the spicyest place in town, Chileans do not do spicy – who knew? Then we hit the La Recova, the place where there are all kinds of booths with local goods and not so local good to buy. Nobody bought anything, being that the season was over the selection was not very good and we all decided to wait for better pickens.
We walked around historic La Serena, like most towns there is a central town square. In this one it seems that the Christmas decorations stay up all year, I guess it makes things easier in the long run. My sister told me that all churches here in town have their front doors facing the ocean so that in days gone by while worshipping the lord you could also watch for pirates. Multi-tasking could save your life in some instances. La Serena was burned to the ground a couple of times by pissed off pirates. It is not a big area and while the building are old and historic there are modern touches everywhere. No Starbucks, but I am sure that is not far off, sadly.
We took a quick trip to Jumbo – the local all could ever need store. Everything from frying pans to oil for your car. We picked up a few things and headed back up the hill.
Chilean Sister took me on a walk around the compound – yes compound – we passed the office Star Gazer, the machine shop, the storage shop, the car wash. It is a little self contained world here. Up to the top of the hill where there is a little park where my sisters friends children play, while the moms have an afternoon cocktail. I met a little boy – well little in time – he was five months old and really big. He had the biggest head I have seen on a baby, don't get me wrong he was really cute, just really big and I wondered how much that must have hurt. His mom tells me he sleeps 13 hours at a stretch and then wakes and eats, stays up for a couple of hours, sleeps for a couple, eats, sleeps for a couple more, eats and then goes to bed for another 13 hours. It does not sound right, but it sounds pretty darn good.
They (the mothers) all gave me the formal Chilean welcome, which is stand – lean in close – put your hands on my shoulders – and pretend kiss my right cheek. All very nice. We chatted for a little while and then we headed back down the hill. As we crossed the playground where the kids were swinging one young boy came up to me and put his hand on my arm, cocked his head to one side and looked up at me with beautiful eyes and said something to my sister. She told him I was her sister, he said something else, squeezed my arm and went back to his swings. He was very sweet and I was touched. I really have no idea what he said, but I am sure it was something like – Wow, you are so beautiful and I can tell you are a wonderful person!
Back to the house in time to see Star Gazer come home from work and then cook for us! OK, so I can go along with the fact that she is smart, I can also go along with the fact that she is nice. But she can cook too? Just not fair!!!!!! But I am glad cause the Indian food was fantastic!!!!!!!!!!!!!
She also brought the newspapers home, where the front page story was the flooding in Punta Arenas! Yes, it seems that two and half days of rain had totally flooded the little town we had just come from. The pictures were unbelievable. You know the people there seem to have so little and now this? They had been digging up one of the main roads, they had the entire street for blocks roped off and a big wide trench down the whole thing. I could just imagine it full of water, a raging river that will become a big muddy mess that will have to be dug out again after the water recedes. I wonder how often this happens and what they can do to fix it.
We all cleaned up and finally went to bed looking forward to another day.