The artisan markets are very popular in Chile. They're much like a flea market here in the U.S., only the wares are much nicer. Real artisans occupy the booths offering all sorts of unique items, from toys to homemade clothes (my Mapuche jacket came from Rodrigo's friend at the market.), jewelry, knick-knacks and much more.
The experience of walking through the market to Rodrigo's booth with him helped me see just how much of a sweetheart he really is. His place was towards the back, and we stopped at least three or four times because fellow artisans wanted to chit chat with him. One such vendor, Evelyn, was just getting ready to close her booth for the day and apparently she needed a ride somewhere from what I could discern from their conversation.
I was right. The woman needed to get to Algorrobo, a seaside town up the coast where her son was working in a restaurant. They were going to meet and make their way home. Of course, Rodrigo offered her the ride in Jorge's car, and once Rodri had gathered his belongings, we took a nice little ride up the coast.
Algorrobo is a beautiful, touristy place about a half-hour ride north from El Tabo. The entire ride up was filled with scenic vistas everywhere and spectacular views of the Pacific. Somewhere along the ride, Jorge pointed out the Pablo Neruda House, a place where he'd once been a curator in his younger days. For any of you who don't know Pablo Neruda, he was a famous Chilean writer and poet and Jorge has some pretty fascinating stories from his days there.
I sooo wanted to stop somewhere along the way, and after we dropped Evelyn off, that's just what we did. A little bit past where we dropped her at the restaurant, there was this spectacular beach laid out in front of these resort-like apartments. Jorge had told me about the place because I remembered him talking about the world's largest swimming pool, which sat right there between the apartments and the Pacific. Unfortunately, the pool wasn't open to the public, but it was immense and a site to see!
Jorge parked the car and the three of us walked around a bit and took some pictures. We didn't stay long, though, because by then it was already almost 8:00 p.m. and we had more things to do. The next day was our trip down south and we still had to take showers (a luxury) and dinner at mama's, get home to pack, and get some shut eye before the long, twelve hour drive. We got back into the car to go back to El Tabo and that's when the phone rang...
to be continued...
Check out the first three parts of Christmas in El Tabo:
A Christmas Morning Surprise
Christmas Lunch and a Visit to Patricio's