Monday night we went to Fina´s house for dinner. Josefina and Sofia, her daughters, were there, along with Juan Pablo, Josefina´s boyfriend (who seemed very nice, and kinda looks like Adam Levine from Maroon 5). Carlos, Pachin, and Ñiñi also came over, and "Pollo", Fina´s husband, came home and joined us halfway through dinner. I´ve had such a great time hanging out with the family, and it was nice to have a smaller group together. It´s so cute to see Daddy laughing and telling jokes with all of them (my dad is very witty, you know), and how they all get his humor (which I guess is very Chilean... I think many people don´t quite appreciate it in the same way in the states).
Yesterday, tuesday, we took the bus out to Viña. We´re staying at this hotel that´s literally right over the water-- friggin gorgeous. The best part is that this place would easily cost several hundred dollars per night, but here it´s only $120. We have such a gorgeous view, I´m tempted to just sit on the patio all day and watch the ocean. In the afternoon yesterday we had seagulls and pelicans flying by within a few feet of us, and we saw a sea lion swimming down below. We walked around a bit at dusk, watched the sunset, then went and grabbed an early dinner. As we walked back to the hotel, we spotted this stray dog on the street, a very cute german shepard mix with one droopy ear. He came over, immeditely smelled the leftover pizza in Zach´s hands, and started begging. He followed us all the way back to the hotel, every so often looking at us and letting out a little howl. I didn´t feel too bad for him, he looked to be in pretty good shape (not very skinny, nice coat). We did give him one small piece of pizza. ; )
Today we took a bus over to Valparaiso... that was an experience. The buses here are kinda crazy... no maps, we had no real clue where we were going, and just stood up t get off when we figured we were at aboput the right place. We made our way up to La Sebastiana, one of Pablo Neruda´s houses, up on Cerro Bellavista overlooking all of Valpo. My cousin Elisa works there as the manager-- the house was converted into a museum in Neruda´s honor by my aunt, her mother, Myriam, and then Elisa took over. She gave us the tour, then we sat outside for a coffee with her and another friend. The house is amazing-- it´s funny, I remember going there when we were in Chile in ´96, but I don´t remember it very distinctly, didnt´t leave a big impression in my memory. This time, however... wow. Neruda shared the house with a couple he was friends with, and he woman was an artist who designed all these mosaic pieces that decorate many parts of the house. The house is very coloful, painted all sorts of different colors, and the decorations are all very eclectic-- it truly is an artists´home. You can tell a lot of thought went into that house, and I can just imagine what it must have been like to live in it. Breathtaking.
We then took some time to wander down the hills, seeing all the cute, if somewhat run down, colored houses along it, then had lunch overlooking the ocean. We rode one of the ascensores up Cerro Conception then walked back down it again, and just now took the metro back to Viña.
Tonight we´re going to Elisa´s house for dinner, she and Felipe may not be there as it´s their 27th wedding anniversary, but we´ll get to hang out with the kids again. Tomorrow will be a full day... we may sit by the beach for a bit before taking a bus back to Santiago, then we´ve got some dates for the afternoon and evening. And then it´ll be friday... our last day here. Time really flies.