Saturday, May 9, 2009

Pomp Goes Global: Mom Writes from Chile, Valparaiso

Querido Mijito,

Greetings from Chile's charmingly seedy second largest city! No Big Macs, I order "guaton" a triple decker 5 inch round sandwich layered with meat, melted cheese, lettuce, tomato, and guacamole. Taking a launch boat in the harbor I motor past ocean liners, tankers, the Chilean armada, and sea lions basking on buoys.

My calf muscles aching climbing the city's 45 hills, I turn a corner and there's a street art version of your psychedelic dream girl. My favorite, winding through a maze of streets with only my camera. Do the colors of the houses match the cars or is it the other way around? The streets play tricks on me. Last week I passed the statue of the national poet and a local look-a-like was posing with him. This week, on the poet's birthday, they painted him silver, turning him into Elvis!

The hundred year-old indoor markets remind me of the Lower East Side's Essex Street Market when you were a toddler in the ‘90s, except for marisquerias on second floors, where proprietors beseech me to try caldos de mariscos while stray cats scrounge for scraps.

Street marionettes performing tango music lured me to Teatromuseo - a puppet and clown museum. I can take a funicular for around 20 cents, I hop one of these vintage cable cars to ascend the hills and then take the stair path down checking out graffiti.

About a half hour from the city, I visit Laguna Verde - a green lagoon surrounded by mountains where awkward and mysterious, masked birds congregate. A two hour bus ride takes me to Horcon, a seaside town, where men on horseback pull a fishing boat to shore.

I visit the home of Pablo Neruda, the Nobel Prize winning poet and national hero, at Isla Negra, with Neruda's many collections; old glass bottles, masks, wooden ships' figureheads, butterflies, naughty postcards. A sailboat in his side yard never entered the water. He traveled farther in his imagination.

Abrazos y besos,


Anonymous said...

Very lovely, indeed!

Anonymous said...

that's a pretty cool mom, i love the street art!

Kastoory said...

um... that was the most beautiful post ever. happy mothers day mothers.

Anonymous said...

Super Fabu!!!
More of these blogs, please!!