Chile Day 2: The Pacific

It's amazing how hospitable people can be sometimes. Through a recent friend I made while working at a client in DC, I was able to meet up with his friend, Marcel, who lives in Santiago.  At first I wasn't sure if I was going to take them up on the offer since I only had three days to spend in Chile and thought I might want to explore Santiago the entire time, but I am extremely glad I obliged.  After picking me up around noon, we stopped off at his house to pick up Eliana before heading off to Zapallar on the coast of Chile. The drive was around an hour and 45 minutes and I must admit I might have taken a snooze or two along the way, but I did manage to grab a shot or two from the window.

Upon arriving in Zapallar I was extremely excited to finally witness the Pacific ocean in all its glory. We drove down through many small streets down to a restaurant on the water front called El Chiringuito de Zapallar. The food here was nothing short of amazing, and even though the prices were on the higher side for Chile, the portions were very generous.  Here is my order of Reineta (a Chilean white fish) and french fries.  Delicious!  One cool thing about the location is being on the water which means LOTS of birds, and they aren't shy.

Following our late lunch, practically dinner since I didn't eat any more that day, we hiked up to the top of the hill just behind the restaurant which provided some great views.  I'll just explain with pictures instead of words.

Thinking the views couldn't get any better, we drove just a mile or two south to the next beach where we walked along a stone walkway for probably half a mile, watched the waves and sunset, and headed back just as the sun was setting. As someone who has always lived on the east coast, this was my first beach sunset, and I loved it!  Again, words can't describe it, so I'll let the pictures do it more justice.

 

With the sun completely set, there was not much else to do except prepare for the long ride back to Santiago, and long it was! Apparently Chileans love their weekends, so much so that they enjoy it all the way up until midnight on Sunday. There was an incredible amount of traffic going back since there are only a few roads to take and everybody was on that road. I didn't get any pictures, but some of the highlights of that trek were vendors at every toll booth trying to sell you water and snacks, gas stations with nearly a hundred cars waiting to get gas or use the bathroom, and people just hanging out at the gas stations at 11pm on a Sunday enjoying a hot dog and conversation, not caring about the fact that they have to get up the next morning and go back to work. I couldn't do much except sleep on the way home, which was actually a challenge because I think we listened to just about every brazilian samba CD ever produced during the three-hour ride!

When I woke up from my nap we were outside of my hostel and it was 12:30am, so we said our short goodbyes and exchanged emails and handshakes and I thanked them so much for the wonderful day we shared together.  Next time I go back to Santiago I am definitely going to say hello.  Thank you, Marcel.

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