I am currently typing from one of the nicest views I have seen in a while. My friend, Carmen, and I are staying in a “tiny house” in a small coastal town, called Cartagena, Chile. This town is NOT one of the popular tourist destinations that many of our friends go to on many long weekends (I see you over there people in Matanzas!). Instead, this town is a CHILEAN beach town.
¿De dónde eres?
Within a few minutes of walking around the main strip (it’s only about 200 meters long) in Cartagena, we found a nice spot to eat with a lovely view of the Pacific. By the time we finished our camaron y queso (shrimp and cheese) empanada we had 3 different people ask us “¿De dónde eres?” (where are you from?) Usually, this might come off as rude, or have a hint of “build that wall!” This was different, however. These waitresses and patrons were truly curious about why we were visiting and where we were from. You could tell that not many New Yorkers and/or South Africans make their way to Cartagena.
Small Town Kindness
Before finishing our delicious “merluza frita” (fried whitefish) and “pastel de jaiba”(crab and cheese casserole) we were wished “buen provecho” (think Bon Appétit) by 3 different people, welcomed to the town, and given advice to see the port of San Antonio. I am not saying that people in Santiago are rude. But, this would NEVER happen in the hustle and bustle of the capital city. After an uphill walk back to our pad, we decided to play “codinca” and call it an early night.
A Simpler Life
Today’s big decisions: Nutella or butter on my marraqueta? Sit on the bed and type/look at the ocean or sit on the balcony and get a little sun whilst writing? Red or white wine with lunch? It is amazing that when you hear the sounds of the waves breaking against the rocks, all other worries go away. I have not thought about parent-conferences, lesson-planning, or writing report card comments since I took my first whiff of the salty air.
Viña Casa Marin
After Carmen ran a 15km race in the hills and heat of wine country, I picked her up for a well-deserved lunch at Viña Casa Marin. This small vineyard was a perfect “tranquilo” spot to go for a relaxing lunch. The food was delicious and the ambiance was exactly what we were looking for. I thoroughly enjoyed the “reineta en crocante de maracuyá,” and the “plateada desmechada.” But the magnificent views of the vineyard from our table, the Syrah, and the lovely conversation with my amiga really made my day. After our late lunch it was time to make our way back to Cartagena.
Not Your Typical Sunday Evening
Apparently, we have impeccable timing. Instead of it being a sleepy Sunday afternoon, there was a Reggae music festival at “playa chica.” Due to our proximity, we actually had quite the live performance from our balcony. After some more wine and board games, we decided to take a stroll down the hill back to town. It’s at this point where we realized every type of person was out and about; there were high school students hanging out, families relaxing on the beach, and elderly couples taking an evening walk. It was great to see all walks of life enjoying the festivities without seeming to have a care in the world. After some yummy churros, we decided to get back while it was still gringo hour.
I’m Going Going, Back Back, To Santiago
48 hours of rest and relaxation was exactly what the doctor ordered! No plans, no to-do list, no “adulting” for the weekend was worth its weight in gold. But alas, it is time to pick up Kristen from the airport and get back to reality. However, I definitely see another weekend getaway in the near future!