Trip Start Jan 28, 2008
28Trip End Feb 08, 2008
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We are asked if we would like something to drink; having had lunch not that long ago - it seems like a reasonable request until Claudia recommends a certain drink made of apricot (including the pip), grain, sugar/syrup and water (with a few 'secret' ingredients). The drink is refreshing, cool, filling and it floods each of us with curiosity as to what else they have to attract our taste buds
The water in which the peaches were re hydrated is mixed with some sugar, and the wheat is mixed in a glass with the peaches and the sweet peach flavored water. This drink is usually sold on streets, from carts and stands, during the summertime. The boiled wheat and huesillos are also bought in markets for domestic preparation. The industrial preparation of this drink has had only partial success in Chile". This is where the Spanish speaking crew members of our group come to the fore. They are now recommending pastel choclo to accompany the drink. Little did we know that the drink would be like a meal in of itself.
What is this next dish you ask? It is a Chilean corn and meat pie or, I call it in English, a corn grain shepherd's pie. And it is well worth the opportunity not missed. It is a specialty of the region and has been a basic recipe for any time of year for centuries. Press the link above if you wish the recipe. Wandering through the restaurant we are introduced to a young lady peeling and/or splitting green beens by the hundreds.
She is doing it patiently. There are several chefs/sous chefs and one can tell already by what we have tasted that the food is undoubtedly excellent and the tables full at night.
These tables are all set on a compacted dirt floor; there is room for a small musical band at one end. The tables are like rows of picnic tables where I can already imagine the socializing of the hundred plus people that would come here most evenings to drink, eat, dance and talk of the day in their lives that they have just traded for all the experiences and joy they sought and received
It is like a few blocks of stores emulating a department store for household wares with a specialty area for artistic pieces for the local home or the tourist. We must be well into one hour or perhaps 90 minutes now and no one is making a move to head for the bus. Purchases are accumulating and no one is getting a bad deal. The day is coming to a close or the evening is entering our agenda and we are all realizing that we are going to be about 2-3 hours over our scheduled arrival time. Does anyone care? My god we even linger at each stop as passengers get off; holding back for 'good byes', hugs from David and Claudia, exchanges of email addresses (hey this is the 21st century - what did you expect - telephone numbers?)
One hell of a trip, one helluva way to keep our life-cycle's friendship wheel in constant repair.