Only one road goes in and out of this town. No one goes to work in an office. Kids don’t play organized sports of any kind, and although there is a big open dirt field to play futbol, hardly anyone does. There are three nice bars and 2 divey ones. Everyone hates the foggy coastal city La Serena. I have yet to meet someone who doesn’t do some kind of art, craft or music. You can get Pisco Sour flavored ice cream. When we need to buy one or two things for a meal, we go to the local almacen that has stuff behind a counter. When we want to stock up on meat and produce, we drive 45 minutes to Vicuna, a bigger town that has one store for veggies, one store for meat and dairy, and one for dry goods like beans and rice. The kids get a comic book and use their pocket money to buy "Gogos," the latest craze in small, collectible plastic playthings, or maybe we’ll indulge them with a Bilz, the Chilean "Bebida de Fantasia," a bright red soda that tastes like heaven. We are always happy to come back to the warm embrace of the dry hills that envelope our valley cabana.
In the Greek classic the Odyssey, and in Tennyson’s poem "the Lotos Eaters," Odysseus and his men get mired in a land of languid air and intoxicating flowers which the sailors want never to abandon. Why go back to a land of toil, they ask, when one can spend days looking at the view? From their awesome terrace? Drinking wine and eating cheap avocados every day?? To hell with the crappy internet connection. Oh, wait, what was I talking about? The Land of Lotus Eaters or Pisco Elqui?
We settled in here 2 months ago, and have been loving it. However, when the boys break for Summer vacation in mid-December, we will take off. We spent the last month diligently researching areas to live for the next couple of years, and it was a hard decision to rule out Pisco Elqui, on the grounds that Forest’s business will be very hard to manage out here with the internet infrastructure being sub-optimal, adding time to international travel (it’s another 1-hour connecting flight up here from Santiago and only one a day).
Staying with the "Ch" theme, we will move to Chicureo in January: 20 minutes outside the capital, semi-country, semi-urban, great Montessori school, lovely house with big yard.
I feel like Robert Plant when he sang "Baby, you know I’m gonna leave you. I’m a leave you in the summertime. Leave you when the summer comes along."
People have asked how we are able to do this. Move around. We have our methods. But it isn’t so so so easy. My feelings get all stirred up. I cry. We talk. And then we ramble on.