Day 16: Santiago to Macmahon Camp 4 (airport in Chiloe)
Weather: Cool in Santiago, mid 60s and breezy and a few raindrops in Chiloe (think Bay Area before the Noah-like winter rains)
Quote of the Day: We’re having trouble with the elevator
THB and DB head to the 8th floor for breakfast. For $5 you can order something extra and THB corrals the first person he finds that looks official and orders pancakes. We then put together other stuff and DB finishes her breakfast. Where are the pancakes? THB asks the official person: there’s a problem with the elevators and the chef (the only one we can see, who always seems “busy”) is making them now. Elevator problem = no pancakes? They turn out to be more like crepes and not near as good as Tierra Atacama’s version (well, THB isn’t surprised at that). BTW, THB warned you in the last post he would go back to bitching and moaning about the minutia of traveling, and this certainly qualifies.
At check-out, there are no pancakes on the bill.
|And thus, there are long lines at the ones that are working|
|However, there are long lines at the Starbucks (the Starbucks 50 meters up a short escalator from this one has no line)|
Our transit to the airport is early and we’re through security in no time (no line) and sitting at the gate almost two hours early. While we’re waiting, they start waxing and vacuuming the floors. We lift our feet up as the vacuum comes right under us. THB knows this is done at 3am in the O’Hare airport because he once slept on the floor when a blizzard swept over Chicago. Not here…or maybe it is done twice a day here. Oh, look, it’s not even 10am and THB has a second thing to bitch and moan about.
The flight is not quite full, which is too bad for THB cuz a guy sitting four rows in front of THB moves to right behind him, leans forward and proceeds to shout across the woman in the middle seat at someone he knows on the window for at least a half hour (bitch and moan #3).
|DB grabs the front row|
Okay, enough moaning and bitching: LAN delivers us on time to Chiloe. We’re greeted by the Tierra Chiloe pick-up crew and have our choice of vans: DB immediately goes to the one in red and sits in the front row…GOOD MOVE!! Turns out none of the 8 of us that are on the flight are in the grey van anyway, that appears to be mostly for the bags. The other 6 are photographers and journalists. Hmmmmm…we are not sure why they are here, maybe we’ll be able to figure out over the next few days.
|And at night, the other wing|
|The ceiling of the dining room|
|There is a window high up in the bathroom and the bedroom|
|The controls for the bath are at the back of the tub (and not those for the shower)|
We’re greeted by Andres, the manager, and discuss if he can arrange a visit to the Modern Art Museum (MAM) in Castro. While we’re eating lunch, they verify that the museum is open and they’ll arrange a visit to Castro for us. And, after lunch we discuss the excursions and tomorrow we’ll be going for oysters (okay, along with a lot of other stuff, it’s the oysters that decided it for THB) and in two days we’ll be doing a boat excursion and most likely an easy 40 minute kayak ride between islands in the Canal Chacao (inland sea).
|The "living" room is down from the dining area|
|Just outside the bar/reception area|
|We're in room 8, it looks like the room art is based on the local churches|
|The view from our room (which also means anyone standing in the meadow looks into the rooms)|
And, the Tierra Chiloe is just as special in design as the Tierra Atacama. They are doubling the size of the hotel and Andres explains that basically construction only goes on while guests are at excursions. Perfecto! The view from our room is of the Canal Chacao, the mussel beds, the boat that we’ll be on in two days, and farmland. Makes for quite a contrast to the Atacama.
Lunch is the usual: pick a starter, main course and dessert.
|Local King Crab salad|
|scallops and shrimp on black risotto|
|THB has lamb chops on smashed pumpkin|
|Marquise (THB didn't like this one)|
|Espresso ice cream (THB liked this one a lot)|
Time for our excursion: DB has found a wonder!!! MAM is terrific, especially for a small place on the outskirts of a distant and far away planet. The space is used for residencies and performances along with putting on exhibitions. We appear to be the first people at Tierra Chiloe to ever go there. Valentina, the same young woman that met us at the airport, is our guide and she translates the all-Espanol descriptions and appears to be enjoying the art as well. Another convert?
|The floor was a part of an installation some years back|
Coco Delgado did these pictures of his "Amigos de Perfil"
|Sergio Guzman and Mauro Jofre|
We're going to see a video by Tomas Espina entitled Ignicion...the person overseeing the museum (she's the only one on duty) comes and resets the video
Work by Mauro Jofre: Five different protests seen from same point of view
Back to Castro to see the old-style houses along a tidal “river” (more like an estuary), boats left dry during low tide and one of the “famous” Iglesias (churches) in this area. There is a whole ruta de Iglesias here and we’ll have several more visits in the next few days.
Mingas: houses are often not "attached" to the foundations and thus you can move them in a kind of barn-building event where the house is floated to another spot and then relocated using oxen teams and help from the locals. Then people only need to buy a piece of property and install the house
|All the guides have videos on their phones showing a house in motion|
|A video showing a house moving...sure looks a lot like a house boat|
|Houses on stilts to stand above the high tide and also not attached to land, avoiding buying the land|
Valentina also explains about the local drink made from apples, chicha. Unfortunately, the Tierra doesn’t have it.
We’re back in time to see dinner being made, it is called a luau…no, that’s not right…it’s called a steam bath for shellfish, meats, chicken, potatoes in several forms, a large bowl of what looks might be used for making shabu-shabu, and maybe a few other things. Wait, it is called a curanto: rocks are heated over wood, water is poured on, huge Chilean rhubarb leaves are used as layers, then a tarp is laid down and covered by sod. Come back in 65 minutos!
Photos of the curanto:
|Start adding the meal|
|Another layer of food|
65 minutes later, we’re back with our pisco sours and a 50ish guy in all black starts explaining what is going to happen.
|Yep, there's an accordionist and some sing along, some dance along, and some sip their pisco sours as the meal is unveiled in reverse order|
We engage with our man in black in conversation, mostly on art. After we get done saying how much we enjoy the hotel (and the Atacama Tierra), it turns out he is the architect for Tierra Chiloe! His Santiago-based firm has also done one of the new subway lines in Santiago and a variety of other projects. He’s here with a team working on the extension along with a team working on the interior design and landscaping, meeting and dining with the owner. They are all here basically because high season has ended and there’s a bit of breathing room with decent weather. Who knew that THB’s necrotizing would lead to another fascinating connection.
|The curanto in a bowl (sorry, pic a bit dim)|
We enjoy the mussels in two sizes (one is called the zapato for its large size) and the clams (better). After about 45 minutes of fresh-from-the-pit shellfish, we head back to the dining room. The upshot: the chicken and sausage and broth are terrific, the shellfish is as above, and the pork and potatoes (particularly the ones cooked in the foil) are pretty much inedible. THB has ceviche to start which is mostly the local farm-raised salmon (good) and DB has the salad repeat from lunch, ice cream and sorbets for dessert, and sauvignon blanc for DB and a local bottled brewski for THB (very good).
Shots in and around Chiloe:
|Only two couples are deeply committed (sadly, this awful tradition is even here in Castro)|
More palafitos (house on stilts):
|The mussel beds from our window|
|One of the photographers is using a drone|