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Written on: Saturday December 26th, 2009

A journal entry from: South America

November 29th - December 3rd

Jean, Barrie and the two of us flew down from Santiago to Concepción to spend a few days at Jean´s aunt Buffys (also called Fluffety).  Andy hadn´t seen her in nearly twenty years and thought she looked just the same! She has a lovely English style home in Concepción where she lives together with Theresa, her maid and Pompey the dog. Pompey looked just the same as twenty years ago too, but this was due to him being Pompey III. Next door live her daughter Mary Jane and family.   

On our first full day in Concepción we visited the market in town. Jean and Barrie tried the "Erizos" which are sea urchins, a local delicacy. Andy tried a bit but didn´t agree... Barrie bought a green cap for the Paine trek, so we could identify him as an American tourist from a long distance :) We went back to Buffys for lunch and Theresa had prepared "Fidel Castro" for us which was rice with an egg on top and fried bananas. Delicious! In the afternoon we drove up the beautiful coast to a nice but windy beach. We didn´t spend long there before heading back and going next door to Mary Janes for dinner. Mary Jane, her husband Ruben, four of their six children, son-in-law and grandchild were there. After a few pisco sours and some barbequed sausages on their terrace we went inside for a lovely dinner. The barbequed steaks were great and we tried "manjar" for the first time, which is a sweet fudge flavored dessert sauce made from condensed milk. We had it with "chirimoya" which is a delicious fruit, known as custard apple in English.

The next day the five of us headed out to uncle Charlie´s farm in Quilacoya. On the way we saw a huge tarantula crossing the road! We stopped to admire it and photograph it and made sure it crossed the road ok. Even Yasmin liked the big spider! The farm was beautiful, and we were welcomed by Charlie with a tray of pisco sours and some snacks. Andy remembered the farm from the last time he was in Chile (20 years ago). We had a nice lunch (bbq) and went for a walk around some of the farm. The scenery was spectacular, especially by the lake. After that we had a ride on one of Charlie´s horses, which was great fun. We also saw the farming being done the old fashioned way with oxen pulling the plough. On the farm were also some nice chickens (some of which laid blue eggs), dogs, and a very friendly and clever cat. 

In the late 1800´s Jean´s great grandfather was on his way from Europe to the gold rush in California, when the boat stopped in Concepción. He was a mine engineer, and it was here that he decided to stay due to the abundance of coal mining. So it was interesting to visit the nearby coal mining town of Lota. We went down Mina Chiflon Del Diablo, an undersea coal mine that operated during 1884 to 1976. We went on a tour that took us through some tunnels 40 meters underground. It was interesting to see the mine and learning about the lives of the workers. Luckily Jean could translate for us since the guide only spoke Spanish.

It had been great to stay at Buffy´s, and learn about her life as an English teacher in Chile. Andy is named after her late husband George, who was headmaster of the school they worked in Concepción. We had some some nice evenings  and interesting discussions in front of the fireplace and were sad to leave. Ronan (Andy´s friend) arrived the next day and the five of us, plus all our bags, crammed into our rental car and headed south.





From Libbet on Dec 27th, 2009

Lovely pictures of and around Concepción. Mummy looks fine, haven´t seen her yet. Quilacoya is looking lovely, I even recognized Eladio and Anita working away. Have a Happy New year!!!!! where???? We´ll be spending it here in Santiago and are then off to Lican Ray; our camper should be arriving this evening. Chao, Libbet