An Afternoon in Pomaire

Trip Start Aug 15, 2007
Trip End Jun 01, 2012

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Flag of Chile  , Región Metropolitana,
Sunday, May 22, 2011

With the boys farmed out to a few friends houses for a Friday sleepover, followed by a 4:00 Saturday pick-up,  Deb and I decided to head off to a small village on the other side of the mountains surrounding Santiago.  Which mountains are the questions, as the city is hemmed in by multiple sub-ranges of the Andes... after getting a bit turned around in the core of the city we found our road and headed out... leaving the hustle and bustle behind... Pomaire bound. 

Pomaire is a small village neatly tucked into the rolling hills that rise out of a green ribbon of farms filling a neighboring valley.  It is famous for it's utilitarian and decorative pottery that the locals have been creating since Mr. Pomaire, a christianized native who settled these parts back in the 1700's, nestled in amongst the clay colored hills. Today one finds a town filled with small shops selling handmade earthen wares, made mostly by a few dozen families that have passed on their craft through generations. The clay is still scratched out of the cliffs and delivered by horse and cart from the hills on the edge of town, and made into various bowls, vases, cups, trays, piggy banks and other treasures, before being carted by bicycle rickshaw to the many shops lining the town's two main streets.  

Deb and I arrived early so as to have a quiet walk around, to get a feel of the place as we watched the locals coming to life on a Saturday morning... it's always best to experience a town without a crush of tourists to mar the feel.   After meandering through some of the neighborhood nooks and crannies, we headed back to the main cobbled strip and poked into some of the shops... Deb bought a few of the items she had come for, and I talked her into one of the traditional and "tacky" piggy sauce bowls... perfect for the salsa that is often used on many meals we whip up after our long days at school. To be honest I really hate shopping... HATE shopping... as I age I find I am not able to spend more than a few moments in most stores until I start feeling cagey... making a zip for the exit... waiting outside for my family to join me. That being said... small towns with local lore, filled with crafty trades, passed on through the ages are more interesting and range higher on my rankings of "stuff"... it makes the "You'll see that in a garage sale in a few years." kitsch more interesting as one can see the place and the process that the locals live through to produce their livelihoods... it just feels different than the piles of stuff wedged onto the shelves at a local Wallmart.  There isn't too much of the "kitsch" here... most of it is tasteful and simple. 

As the town began to fill with tourists, we escaped the streets and headed into a local restaurant to grab a bite to eat... an empanada of course... as Pomaire holds the Guinness Book of World Record for the largest empanada ever made. Empanadas are Chile's famous midday meal... often cooked in a traditional clay oven called an horno.  With a bit of spicy salsa poured over it and a glass of fanta to wash it down, we sat back and listened to a street musician that came into the restaurant, guitar, chillador and over sized pan-flute in hand. One of his pieces reminded me of a Latin American version of a Bob Dylan style song... as he strummed his guitar and blew on his flute, like Bob would have blown on his harmonica... Very Cool!
On our way out of town we picked up a few cheap pots for some plants, stopped off at a roadside fruit & veggie stand for some figs and honey, and off we went to pick up Aidan and Carsten in close, yet seemingly far away, Santiago... loving Chile just a bit more.    
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