How is it possible that I’ve only been here one week? It feels more like two. I’ve done so much; I’ve met so many new friends and had so much fun. Saturday, I woke up late and felt lazy. So I took my time getting started, and I had a wine tour in the afternoon so there was no rush to the day. We went to Concho y Toro!
My housemates had warned me several times that “the wine was crap” on the tour, but the views were nice, so I was adequately prepared for a subpar afternoon. But, two of my new friends happened to be on the tour as well (and I made one more – another American) so I thought the trip would be fun regardless. We chatted the entire way to the winery. When we arrived, my Australian friend (Natalie) wanted to get some food, so we ducked into the Wine Bar for some cheese and crackers. We decided to try the “expensive” glasses of wine (about $12-14 US), just to see what the good stuff tasted like. Oh my – was it good!! We would have been better off just staying there and enjoying our cheese and wine, but we went on the tour.
Our tour guide spoke in. Spanish, so we only caught about every fourth or fifth word. Our bus tour guide mostly spoke English, and was nice enough to translate the gist for us. We got to see the Casillero deal Diablo cellar, and hear the story behind it (again in Spanish) and tasted some Sauvignon Blanc, Carmenere(!) and Merlot. Mas o menos (it was so so).
They did not ship back to the U.S.! I was so disappointed as I had planned to send some home, especially of the stuff I cannot find in the States. Sigh. I bought two bottles (Carmenere and Syrah) based on a recommendation from the lady in the shop. Sadly, I will need to drink them here (perhaps with some of my new friends).
I had a really enjoyable afternoon – with some new friends, some great wine and food and some wine to look forward to this week!
Sunday I joined my British friend (Vita) and her fiancé (James) at the Museum of Memory and Human Rights (Museo de la Memoria y los Derechos Humanos). I have not despaired of humanity so much since I visited the Holocaust Museum. I was happy to see the ending was a good one, and took place peacefully. There was a popular vote to displace Pinochet and a peaceful transfer of power in 1990. They are still working to identify all the people who disappeared, were killed and tortured under the dictatorship. The museum did a good job of telling the story from the coup in 1973 through the end of the dictatorship, but could have done a bit more background on what led to the dictatorship in the first place. I know 1973 was a tough time globally, so am not surprised there was some economic hardship or unrest in the country, but would liked to have known more.
We went to Bella Vista (a neighborhood in Santiago evidently known for its good restaurants) for lunch. It was very close to where we went to dinner On Friday. I finally found quinoa!! And ice cream for dessert. Vita and James are lovely people. He is working as a geologist and she is starting to teach English language courses in a week (one more week in Spanish school with me). I hope to see more of both of them since they are permanent in the country.
One last note for this entry – there are dogs everywhere. I’m not sure if they belong to people, or if they are strays. They are all very friendly and spend their time lolling in the shade or walking around. They don’t beg or bother. They are just there. It’s really amazing. I’ve attached a picture of one. More soon!