Sunday, June 30, 2013

Marcela and Mariano visit us in Chile

Arriving back from the island, we were greeted by a very exuberant Winston. Isabella and her family had taken very good care of him and he had even given up his bed to their dogs in return for sleeping on the couch. He also looked a little “gordo” (fatter) than when we left him. Hmm, must have been eating well! One thing, it assured us that this was a great family for us to leave Winston for our upcoming three week trip back to the States. We are renting a car because Mariano and Marcela are flying from Argentina to visit us. The last time we saw them was in February when they took me to San Martin de los Andes for Carnival (Mardi Gras), Tom has not seen them since before Christmas, so we are really looking forward to the visit. They are only coming for two days and we want to make the most of it. As soon as we get back to Algarrobo, we book them a room at the Pacifico Hotel which is only a block from Hans’ place where we have the motorhome parked and a short block from the beach. The rest of Friday evening, we played with Winston, cooked dinner and unpacked. Saturday we drive back to Santiago to pick up Marcela and Mariano from the airport. By the time we parked and got inside, they had cleared immigration and customs and were waiting for us. It was so good to see them. During our time in Rada Tilly and their subsequent visits to various parts of Argentina to see us, we have become remarkably close. Now they are here in Chile for yet another short visit. On our travels into Santiago on the bus, Tom and I had passed a really pretty bodega (winery) called Indomita up on a hill in the Casablanca valley. Since they advertised having a restaurant, we had decided that we would stop there, wine taste and have lunch. We told them our plan for the afternoon and they readily agreed. Indomita winery is beautiful and the restaurant is very clean, well lit and definitely upscale. After consulting with the waiter, we ordered lunch and a bottle of the winery’s best wine. Everything was delicious and the service, excellent. From there we went to the tasting room and browsed their vast selection of wines, while sipping on a few of their samples. I also checked out the small store they had and we bought two pretty wine stoppers which had a top featuring a globe of the earth made from lapis lazuli and the continents depicted in a variety of other colored semi precious stones from Chile. We also bought a case of their best wine, Zardoz in Cabernet Sauvignon. We then drove to Algarrobo and Winston gave our friends a happy welcome although we think he wondered where Pelusa was. We took Winston for a walk on the beach and showed Marcela and Mariano the small town. They loved it and started eyeing a house for sale close by, even going as far to check out prices with a local realtor. Mariano’s father had lived in Chile, as had his mother and he is currently looking into the possibility of getting a Chilean passport, so this entire visit has a particular meaning for them. We ate dinner at Ahi Azul, a restaurant recommended by Hans. Serving primarily seafood, it was delicious and with a bottle of wine, we had a wonderful time catching up on friends from Rada Tilly and telling of our trip to Easter Island. Sunday, found us heading back to Santiago, this time to meet up with Felipe for lunch. We had told him that Mariano and Marcela were going to visit and he wanted to see them again. They had met once before when visiting with me in Bariloche and they too had liked Felipe and were looking forward to a lunch together. As it is Sunday, Felipe has to say two masses, one in the morning and one in the evening but his afternoon is free and he picks a restaurant close to his parish. Another seafood restaurant but this time a small local neighborhood gem that was fantastic. I ordered the sea bass which was really good while Tom and Marcela followed Felipe’s recommendation and had a crab dish which was spectacular. Mariano opted for another of Felipe’s favorites; a beef stew that he said was extremely good. After lunch, Felipe took us to another area of Santiago that hosts an artisan fair. Filled with arts and crafts made by local artisans, we happily browsed the stalls and we realized that Felipe knows a lot of people and is stopped frequently to converse with friends of his and his family, parishioners and people he didn’t know who simply wanted his blessing. We have noticed that Felipe is very happy and content with his new parish and his role in the church. He is, quite frankly, an ideal minister and we can see he is very well liked and respected in the community. The time together flies by and by four o’clock we say fond goodbye’s to him and start the one hour plus drive back to the coast. After another walk on the beach with Winston, we part company to take a rest and agree to meet for a pre dinner drink at the hotel bar in a couple of hours. When we get there, Marcela and Mariano are waiting and we order the Chilean specialty, pisco sours. The Pacifico Hotel makes them just the way I like them with a rim of sugar to counteract the sour of the drink. Delicious. We also give them a gift of the wine stopper and a bottle of the wine from Indomita, to remember their trip with us. In addition, I had made a slide show for them from photographs of all the trips we have taken together and put onto a USB drive. They are surprised and are looking forward to watching it. Dinner is at another small seafood restaurant along the beach and whilst it was not as good as Ahi Azul, the food was still delicious and filled with laughter and chatter. Tomorrow, Tom will drive them to the airport, return the car and come back to Algarrobo by bus and I will stay with Winston. For tonight, it was just fun to revel in my time with these wonderful people who have become very dear to us, laugh about some of our trips and experiences and try to come up with a plan of meeting again. Soon, I hope!

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