This was going to be a blog about the brollie battles. But, as is so often the case with life in the slow lane, that was yesterday and today is today. Yesterday we woke to slow, soaking rain and it continued into the morning so the brollie brigade was out in force. The streets are quite narrow in Providencia and there was a constant tension between the right and left lanes of pedestrians hurrying to work. Umbrellas clashed and got pulled from hands; clothes got caught in protruding wire; bright colours a contrast to the drab colours of the winter attire.
It was an umbrella type of morning.
But oh my goodness, how it was NOT an umbrella type of evening. ; It was a grand adventure. We found the BEST BAR EVER; THE BEST HOUSE EVER; THE BEST DRINK EVER; THE MOST CROWDED TRAIN EVER and so, so much more.
Our school, Ecela, (which may be a short form of the Spanish word for school which is escuela or just a complete coincidence) puts on activities. Last night our homework was to visit the home of Nobel Prize winning poet Pedro Neruda. Called La Chascona, the house is layered into the side of Mt St Cristobel in the heart of Santiago’s Bohemian quarter. It’s eclectic style and contents are a delight; reflecting Neruda’s whimsy and charm, his love of the ocean and all things collectable. La Chascona sings for his love of his wife Matilda, and her devotion to him. It bears the scar of revolutions when communists and fascists warred for the hearts and minds of the people of Chile. The wooden walls and floors resonate with the thousands of words Neruda wrote, discarded, recited and ultimately made public. A glorious place.
There were two bars in Neruda’s house, but they were nothing like the bar we tromped across half of the city to get to; a bar not out of place near the fish markets which were next door to it; a bar that swallowed the world, just as its clientele swallowed the local speciality Terramoto (earthquake).
Seething with activity the bar which covers several levels of rooms littered with dirty chairs and trembling tables, well reflects its name el Piojera, The Lice. I’m told it’s more than 100 years old and I can well believe it; we think it’s not been swept or cleaned for the last 50 of those 100 years. There’s tourists, locals, musicians, bad people, good people and all people in between – all drinking the concoction that knocks the drinker like its namesake.
Our companion, Scott, drank two of the innocent looking pink concoctions (that have gelato floating on top) and had to skip school the next day.
We shared one. www.lapiojera.cl (it's in Chilean but you get the idea).
I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!