Sunday, December 28, 2008

Cajon de Maipo

On Saturday afternoon, after borrowing money left and right, I finally went looking for a money exchange but was disappointed to find that they were all closed. I had to settle on an ATM and took out way too much money because we were confused by the exchange rate. I took out 200,000 pesos which wound up being around $300. 

Our plan was to go to a community called Cajon de Maipo, which is about an hour and a half away from Santiago, yet is still considered a part of the city. We had heard that there are vineyards there and wanted to go on a tour. After the long trip via the subway and small "collectivo" bus along a beautiful drive towards the mountains, we got off in the small town. By the time we got in it was 5 p.m. and we were all hungry, yet we weren't sure what to do. 

The bus driver had recommended a restaurant, so we walked around trying to find it until we saw a sign that said "Donde Bruno". The restaurant would go unnoticed by most people, as it's actually in a house with the tables in the backyard. With a view of the surrounding hills, we were given a few options and settled on the lomito a la pobre. The enormous portion of steak was topped off with two fried eggs, delicious fries, and amazing onions. I don't even like onions, but I actually ate these because they were so good. We had bread with a great, spicy sauce that cleared out the sinuses and drank some delicious wine that went down so smoothly.

I'm loving the food in Chile. The empanadas are all good, the meat is juicy and served with nice sides, and I've still got so much to try. The drinks are tasty (except for the beer, Escudo, which is just like any other beer in South America) and the wine is terrific. Sitting there in the beautiful town with the great meal, we truly were enjoying ourselves. We thought of how our friends could be sitting in their houses in New England, unable to go outside, and we were happy with our decisions. 

After our late lunch we walked around the town and then headed home. Our plan was to have a barbecue on the 18th floor roof of the apartment building at night but we were so full from the late lunch that we just had some bread and dip around 12:30 a.m. after our late naps. The rooftop view was great, giving a vista of nearly the entire city and the surrounding hills. Somehow I was even able to see some stars, despite being in such a big city with pollution. I'm not even sure how it's possible, but I think I saw Orion's Belt. I'm pretty sure that should only be in the Northern Hemisphere. 

Sitting on the roof with a couple of drinks, listening to music, I even saw a shooting star go by around 3 a.m. An end to a great day. And today we're going to watch football from 3-12. For the first time all season I'll be able to see the Patriots play. Hopefully they'll have some good luck. In a couple of days we'll be heading to Valparaiso, a city two hours away on the coast. The New Years Eve celebration is supposed to be one of the biggest in the world, so it should be a crazy time.

No comments: