Saturday, February 6, 2010


Renaico is a little town. There is no real grocery store. The closest thing to the grocery store is a little market that sells basic needs [basic fruits and vegetables, yogurt, toiletries, candy, alcohol, and cigarettes]. Here, they call them "supermercados" [supermarkets]. So in short, Renaico is a pretty small, humble town.

We enjoyed the weekend seeing friends and being with the family. My sister-in-law Maritza called us the night that she got here and said that she wasn't going to be able to come see us for a few weeks because her and her husband were really busy with work. Much to our excitement and surprise, she and her husband surprised us with their arrival the day after we got here. It was really exciting to see them!

We went to church the sunday after arrival in Renaico and it was so neat. Everyone was so happy to see us and so many people said hi to us and talked to us. I love the church. It is the same wherever you go. You can enter a chapel anywhere in the world and feel the spirit so strongly. It was nice to be so warmly greeted by everyone in the branch.

The river is cute and the best part of the town. Every warm day in summer, people flock to the river to enjoy the sun and water. A few little restaurants surround the beach area of the river and serve fast food [of course "completos" are the most popular items on the menus]. Music plays loudly for all to hear and kids play on the foosball tables which cost about 40 cents for 3 balls. The line for the little diving board is full and kids running and jumping off. The older and more risky kids jump off the bridge at different altitudes. People splash, kids build sand castles, and take off in the little row boats.
It's a cute little environment.

Monday we went to the river and it was really nice. First Cesar and I biked there in the morning before the people got there and took these pictures and enjoyed seeing this place that Cesar had so longed return to. The air was warm, but the water was cold. Cesar has told me so much about this place and it is so beautiful to actually go to the places that he has accounted to me with so much detail. It is so neat to finally see where he grew up and where he comes from.
Later on, Cesar, Ely, Maritza, Maritza's Dog, Ely's friend and I took a little row boat up the river.

We found a nice spot where we put our towels down and soaked in the sun. It is exciting to be in the places that I have heard so much about :]

It was really nice...Cesar found an old friend and they talked for a little bit.

The dog was so happy to be there. She was prancing everywhere and exploring everything she could.
After a while, we rowed back to the beach. But, a river trip is not complete without going to eat "completos" so we stopped into one of the restaurants to eat a traditional "completo".

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

El Camino al sur

We leave Santiago and head for the south [el sur]. The smoggy haze lingers in the sky outside of the city. The filthy air covers the Andes mountains that serve as a backdrop for the lush greenery.

The further south we advance, the clearer the sky becomes. The further south we advance, the greener the plants become. Vineyards

cover the land until they reach the horizon. Lush green trees and plants begin to fill my view...We are getting closer to what Cesar calls home...

I soak in the view like a sponge as I snap photos....

We stop to eat at a quick stop and I get to try my first Chilean "completo" or in other words, [hot dog]. Yes, it's funny, why don't they just call it a hot dog [or perrito caliente?] like all of the other Latin-American countries??? In Chile the hot dog is distinctly different from the typical hot dog. A real "Completo" comes filled with tomato, avocado, and sauerkraut and topped with mayonnaise, catsup, and mustard. The mustard is also different. It actually contains REAL mustard seeds! It is actually really good. I will have to bring some home with me :] I always modify my completo and get it without sauerkraut and mayo and with only half of the hot dog so I don't have a heart attack from all of the fat! ;] In Chile, you will find a lot of European influence, especially German. Before and after World War II, many germans immigrated to Chile. Most of those who came after World War II, went to southern Chile. Also, the German culture was not the only culture to come to Chile. So when I ask myself, why is Chile so different? I remember that it has a unique mix of cultures that has evolved over the years...My country is similar to this, made up of people from all different countries and cultures whom in the end all make one unique country.

We continue our voyage to the south and the green just keeps getting greener.

The sun sinks into the horizon and the vegetation darkens.

We continue driving into the night.
Within the hour we reach the quiet town of Cesar's home town. The center of the town is strung with Christmas-like lights. The river flows silently. The plaza is filled with people watching a movie on a big screen that the town put up especially for that night. My Cesar feels all sorts of emotions flowing back. It has been years since he has lived here.

We get to his home and his family awaits us with a Chilean barbeque [asado]. Everyone is happy and excited to see us. We pull out all of the gifts that we can find in the luggage and hand them out. What a glorios reunion. Cesar's best friend, Claudio arrives and I finally meet the man behind all of the adventure stories. I listen intently as they all sit around the table reminiscing about old times. A lovely start to a new adventure...

Friday, January 22, 2009*