Saturday, November 21, 2009

South America Day 3: Afternoon

November 21, 2009

Since lunch was on our own, we asked some of the local guides where we could eat. They recommended a sandwich shop a block away, called "Fuente Alemana" or "The German Fountain".
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There's a strong German influence in Chile - lots of German immigrants - but there was no wienerschnitzel on the menu. Instead we ordered the "lomita plata" (sp?) which turned out to be a pork and avocado sandwich. Tasty, but big! Dad's Spanish studies paid off - he ordered his cerveza all by himself, although neither of us understand the various beer options available. He settled for pointing at a random bottle among the choices displayed above the counter.
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Then we moseyed around the corner to the little grocery store from last night. We stocked up on bottled water and bought some little cans of palm honey - "miel de palma" - as souvenirs. This stuff made the same way as maple syrup, but using palm tree sap. We figured they'd exemplify the traditional Chilean sweet tooth.

After lunch Dad went on a partially-successful quest for postage stamps and postcards, while I boarded the Optional Excursion bus and drove off to the Pueblito Los Dominicos. This was a fun way to spend the afternoon! The Pueblito is a handicraft village - sort of a Chilean Yankee Peddler with a permanent address in what once was a Dominican monastery. It's out in the country, surrounded by gorgeous mountains:
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Once you get inside you can wander around twisty little pathways with quaint little shops on every side.
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I saw leatherworkers, some decorative ironwork and pottery, folk art
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and several shops selling wool and alpaca garments, woven and knitted. I was on a hunt for yarn - lana (actually that's wool, but the shopkeepers told me it meant yarn) - and I was eventually successful! I brought home some pink alpaca souvenir yarn:
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There were lovely flowers and plantings,
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and some of the shop doorways were decoratively accessorized by cats:
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There was also a large cage filled with various fowls, presumably for sale.
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Just as I spotted this guy
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I heard a girl behind me exclaim, "¡Mírelo!" to her friend. I actually understood: "Look at it!" (I was proud of myself because usually I can't understand anything people say - they talk too fast for me.)

After I had explored enough, I found a bench and watched people. Three kids were playing with weighted streamers they'd bought from one of the vendors:
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until one of them got stuck in a tree. (the streamer things, not the kids!)

Gradually the rest of the group came back together, and we got one further treat: our guide Patricio (no, not Patricia; this one's a guy) got us a local specialty: a drink called Mote con Huesillo, made with stewed barley and peach juice, with a dried peach soaking in it. It was tasty and refreshing!

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