23 August 2015

Why don’t we all live such colorful lives?

When push comes to shove and you are faced with the monumental decision… of painting your house… why would you ever choose… brown?  Chartreuse, yellow, turquoise, orange!  They are ready for the taking.  Do you want to say, “This is my house.”  Or do you want to scream, “WELCOME HOME!”  I have yet to inform Pablo, but there might be a bright pink house coming soon to a neighborhood near you.  

I was incredibly inspired by Providencia.  The life and color and community was effervescent.  Some residents might not have much material wealth, but they don’t seem to let that darken their world.  I think there are many lessons to be taken from the house built by hand, and painted every shade of awesome.

Ps… we rented a scooter and cruised the island.  With a total of 22km in circumference, we did two loops.

20 August 2015

For those of you that have ever tasted arroz con coco, patacones, and pescado fresco derecho del mar, you know what caribeño life is all about.

We stepped off of our little plane directly into the tropical sunshine.  The humidity covered us like a warm blanket as we walked across the small airplane parking lot and into the airport to retrieve our luggage.  We made our way through the bite-sized terminal, and just on the other side, a woman in a colorful dress, high heels, and sequined hair-do-dads was talking animatedly with some other people lounging in the shade on the front porch of the airport.  We walked out with our luggage in tow.  Pablo and I stopped, looked at each other, discussed that there should be a shuttle to take us to our hotel... when... the sparkly lady asked, "Oh, you are the two going to Miss Mary?"  Pablo confirmed that was indeed the name of our hotel.  And the next thing you know, we zip away in a pink sedan with Madame Sparkles.

On our short trip around the island, our chofer-ess explained that in Providencia people speak English, Spanish, and their own form of Creole.  She also pointed out that people in Providence love bright colors because they grow up with bright blue water on one side and bright green jungle on the other.  I imagine that a pink car fits very well right in the middle.  But soon, we arrived to the Miss Mary Hotel and we said goodbye to our new friend to check-in and find some food for our hungry bellies.

Luckily, our hotel had a little restaurant right on the beach.  We made our lunch orders and washed down the fresh tropical food with $2 beers from our nicely stocked mini fridge.  Not a bad start to the vacation!   

coconut rice, fried plantains, fresh fish, and cabbage salad!

15 August 2015

Three flights later and we were in paradise
When the sun had set and we were starting to feel tired, we once again laced up our traveling boots and headed for the airport.  Our suave taxi driver raced us through Santiago’s massive Metropolitan area and in no time we were unloading our bags on the curb of the departure terminal.  I was, for a moment, transported back to so many midnights spent sleepily wading through the Jeddah airport.  Yet again it seems that most flights out of our country of residence occur in the middle of the night.  groan.
But, one benefit of the red eye… you can breakfast anywhere!  We landed in Bogota and had a few hours to kill before our connection so we indulged in a hearty breakfast at Crepes & Waffles.  This Colombian chain is well known for both its artfully prepared dishes and also for employing mostly women, and women who represent the head of their families.  After some sweet bread, coffee, crepes, and a waffle, we were more than ready to tackle our next flight.
We waved good-bye to mainland Colombia and headed off to San Andres.  San Andres is a Colombian island in the Caribbean off the coast of Nicaragua.  This tropical island is a popular destination hotspot with many large hotels crowded around the beautiful beaches.  The moment our flight neared the island I was amazed at the bright blue water and tropical splendor.  Winter in Chile had made me forget how colorful the tropics are!  I was positively beaming as we landed, I could see ocean just on the other end of the tarmac.  The amount of pictures that I took just of the San Andres airport (which is pretty lackluster) is ridiculous.  But Pablo reminded me that we still had one more flight to go…
…because we had decided that we were looking for a slightly more quiet and remote vacation destination; a place were we could walk along a beach and potentially not see anyone else, a place where we could hear the ocean from our bedroom window, a place where we could feel close to the local culture, and a place where we could disconnect completely.  So, we boarded one final teeny tiny plane for… Providencia.

^Bogota ^
so much reading.. he didn't even notice me taking the picture :)
^San Andres^ Our teeny tiny plane... with no AC... our thick Chilean blood is not used to the heat!

11 August 2015

After climbing up the Cerro Santa Lucía, we headed back down and wandered around Barrio Lastarria for awhile.  This trendy neighborhood is full of bicycles, artsy cafes, and men with impressive beards.  Why do all of these things seem to congregate in the same area?  Je ne sais pas.

I snapped a few photos, marveled at some oddities, and then we met up with one of Pablo´s cousins and her boyfriend.  We are always joking that no matter where in the world we travel, there is often a not-so-distant cousin nearby.  Thank you large Catholic families.  But Mari and Mateo were wonderful hosts.  While we enjoyed beers and well-crafted sandwiches, they told us all about life in Santiago, which seems quite different than life in southern Chile.  Then, as the sun was setting, we headed over to Parque Bicentenario to check out the flamingos and goldfish.

We had a great day in Santiago, thank you Mari y Mateo!!

06 August 2015

Twelve hours in Santiago!

Leaving Valdivia is a bit of an ordeal.  Sometimes it feels like we are at the end of the Earth, though in fact quite a bit of Chile lies south of us.  Most global map projects are skewed toward northern hemisphere biases, so usually Chile doesn´t appear so large.  It is, in fact a very long country.  But to leave Chile for any international destination (with the exception of visiting southern Argentina), we must first get ourselves to Santiago where lies the country´s only international airport.  As our international flight north did not leave until late at night, we opted to take a bus the night before, arrive in Santiago in the morning of the day of our flight, and spend the day tooling around Santiago.  

I first must note that the “cama superior” night bus is pretty awesome.  It is straight out of Harry Potter.  You board the double decker bus at 9pm, the bus attendant makes up your fully reclined bed, and then ten hours later you wake up in Santiago!  I was quite impressed.

Our day in Santiago was a lot of fun.  I had never spent really any time at all in the city so we had fun walking around, taking pictures, eating empanadas, and marveling at the surrounding Andes.