Sunday, April 27, 2008


On Saturday morning, we left my parents behind for another week with Brother. C and I caught a ride for the long 3 hours from Villa Alhue to Santiago so that we could explore the city before our nighttime flight back to the United States. At the airport we stored our bags and found a taxi to take us downtown.

Our driver spoke a little English and wanted to practice. He drove around showing us the important sights and asking questions about pronunciations and contractions. Eventually he dropped us off by a statue of Pedro de Valdivia and gave us explicit instructions to call him when we we were ready (he even gave us the pesos for the pay phone) and he would pick us up in that exact spot and take us back to the airport. He repeated those instructions several times and we were planning to follow them to the letter.

We saw many sights including the Presidential Palace and statues of various leaders including Salvador Allende. We enjoyed watching street musicians and performers and walked through a book fair and what we thought might be some sort of recruitment fair for the military.

The city was very exciting and the architecture was old world Europe and beautiful. Finally, though, our feet which had taken us up mountains and across a dance floor and all over the historic district of Santiago started to wear out, so we called our driver and went to the precise spot where he had dropped us off.

While leaning against a building and resting as we waited, I noticed a man on a bicycle in a pink silk outfit--I thought that might be something my daughter would enjoy seeing so I snapped a picture--BIG MISTAKE. He was a street performer--a mime--we don't have those in Dixfield.

He did not need any more encouragement than the click of my camera to come over to where we waited in our precise spot and begin performing.

I think that he realized we were waiting for a taxi so he stopped every one that came by. He was very entertaining even if we did become part of his props. I put my camera away, hoping that without encouragement he would move on--but he didn't. A large crowd gathered--maybe 300 maybe more--who knows. We couldn't walk away because we were to be picked up in that precise spot. I tried my best to melt into the sidewalk but C, who is the best sport in the world, played along and got plenty of applause from the crowd when finally our taxi arrived. C handed the mime some pesos and then the mime opened the front passenger door of the taxi , stood on the edge and wrapped himself in a red, white and blue scarf and saluted the crowd. It was about the funniest thing that I have ever seen.

Home now, only a few snow piles remain on the north side of the house--the kitties, the bunny and the houseplants all survived and tomorrow it's back to the real world. What an adventure it was! Thanks for sharing it with me.


Ruth said...

You are back far too soon!! Still snow around your place?! I loved your travelogue

SJ said...

Maybe D.U. could look into hiring a mime for the weekends. Maybe C would be interested.

Crayons said...

Wow Beth,
These posts on Chile are wonderful! I've been posting/reading just once a week, so I missed most of them.

I really like the photos a lot. I also like your open mind and spirit when it comes to travel. Thanks for sharing these.

beckie said...

Beth, so glad you had a great time. It seems you took advantage of every opportunity presented you and that is sometimes hard to do in a foreign land. Wonderful pictures and narratives. I enjoyed every minute of your travels. Thanks!
(glad you are home safe and sound and the homefront was all okay)

Jayne said...

What a neat city, and how funny about the mime. Thanks for letting us experience your journey with you. :c)

Beth said...

Ruth, yes we only had a week--Charlie teaches school and so we had to pack a lot into 7 days.
SJ, I don't think he would enjoy it as a permanant gig, but you never know.
Crayons, thank you so much. I was happy to be able to post along the way so I could record the impressions. I'm sure some of the thoughts and interpretations of what we experienced will come out slowly over the next few months.
Beckie, thanks for all your nice comments during my journey.
Jayne, thanks for all the nice comments and it was my pleasure. I enjoyed writing as we went along and sharing the experience. Now I'll be back to posting whining entries about the weather!

The Texican said...

Hi Cuz, Glad you made the trip safely. Thanks for dropping by and leaving a comment. Sounds like you had a great trip. Barb and I both enjoyed the travellog. Until we get together for that Grapette this will have to do.

TheElementary said...

"Our driver spoke a little English and wanted to practice." It's a beautiful thing to meet such people and I'm sure you left an impression on him too.
You told your Chile tales wonderfully and we were all there with you :)

Beth said...

Texican, thank you I'm glad you enjoyed it--maybe you should plan a trip down there! Charlie has been researching the American School in Santiago, I think he'd like to apply and have us try something different for a year--you never know.
The Elementary, thank you for the compliment. I enjoyed being able to get the facts out as they happened but I think the impressions and the meaningful stories will come out slowly over time.

The Texican said...

How much trouble would it be to pass the bar in Santiago? Glad you're both back safely. Keep us posted .

Anonymous said...

The more I think about it, the "mime de la calle" we saw in Santiago was one of the funniest, most entertaining acts I've ever seen. A quick google search lead me to other accounts of this pink performer's perilous street work. One is listed below and I'd be interested if anyone else in the blogosphere knows more about our pink friend.


andrea_frets said...

That sounds really amazing! My husband and I have been talking about a trip to South America one day and your posts make me want to go even more.

Thanks for sharing this!

Rondi said...

Welcome back! Our kids are back too.
they had a great time and will present an assembly on Friday about the trip. Reading your posts, I already feel as if I know where they've been!

RuthieJ said...

Oh Beth, I'm so far behind!! Your pictures and stories from Chile are wonderful. My favorite picture was the beautiful strawberries! It sounds like you had such a nice trip and I'm glad you made it back safely.