Thursday, March 04, 2010

People of Valparaiso

We went to the seaside city of Valparaiso, right on the Pacific Coast. It was not as close to the epicenter as Concepcion. So the damage there was not as extensive. But it was also quite severe.

Last April, we walked through a market full of local people buying groceries. Markets are some of my favourite places, where one can see brightly coloured fruits and vegetables. And real people going through their daily lives, unpretentiously.

And then there was this horse serenely standing there, hitched to the cart laden with vegetables.

We walked into town, and encountered this couple, with the young man holding their baby in a basket. Obviously the baby was the center of their world.

We took a cable car and went up the cliff, to an enclave of the British. The quiet streets were paved with cobblestones. This couple walked by gaily, accompanied by their dog.

We walked into a small seafood restaurant near the fish market. The lady vendor did not speak English, and we did not speak Spanish. But she was friendly, and we ended up ordering plates of seafood without really knowing what they were. That red thing is one of the strangest things that I have eaten. I found out later it is called piure (sea squirt). It has an interesting texture, not unlike some of the clams. But it was pungent.

A couple at the next table then taught us to drink beer with salt.

In neighbouring Vina del Mar, some young people were playing on the beach. It was cool and peaceful.

Everywhere we went, people seem contented and full of life. I hope they are all OK.


Chris said...

about beer and saltiness... our guide in Xiamen told us to try beer + mangoes + soya sauce.

did you actually put salt *in* the beer?

StephenC said...

Not exactly. I think they said to put the salt on the rim of the glass. Like drinking margarita.

Beer and mangoes I can imagine. But soya source?