Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Next Installment

In Chile, we met another vet friend of Fran's, Catalina.  She was vivacious and friendly, and when she heard we were interested in going skiing, instantly volunteered to take us -- any excuse to hit the slopes.  She also had two daughters very close in age to our kids, and could loan us clothes and equipment.  She made it hard to say no.  So we made plans, and pre-bought lift tickets to get a discount.

Then, Colin started vomiting at around 3 am and continued every 45-60 minutes thereafter.  Anthony took one for the team, and stayed home with the sick boy while Anna and I went up the mountain.  Here's Anna in the car:
It takes about an hour to get up to the slopes.  We were so high!  Above the tree line!  Los Andes were SOOOO beautiful.  Here's Anna and I, just before her lesson.
Anna did not get taught very much in her lesson.  However, it did give Cata and I some time alone on the slopes.  I hadn't been skiing in nearly 15 years, but was pleased to learn it was like the proverbial bicycle.  I forgot how FUN skiing is!
And this resort was incredible.  Efficient, modern lifts, and so many runs!  We had access to 4 large areas of trails.  And no one was out there -- usually I skied right onto the lift.  The longest line I encountered was 4 people long.
Look at those beautiful mountains!  No trees makes for safe, wide runs, but it was so very bright.  I was grateful for the goggles Cata loaned me.  After lunch we had a few slow runs down the bunny slopes with Anna, and Cata tried out her snowboard.  Here's the only picture I have of her that day, my ski angel, taken by Anna after our last run.
I also forgot how very uncomfortable ski boots are, and how great it is when you take them off at the end of the day.  Skiing in July!  Incredible!

The next day Colin was BTN (back to normal).  He wasn't sad about missing skiing, just sad that he missed the snow.  Fortunately, Fran's mom, Carmen, and her uncle, Felipe, planned to take us to his rustic little cabin in Cajon de Maipo.  There was snow!!!
I love this view of his adorable cabin, with the mountains reflected in the windows.
Felipe lit the gas for his oven, and we heated up the empanadas we'd brought and opened the wine.  Felipe and Carmen speak about as much English as we do Spanish, but we had a lovely meal together, and a lively conversation.  Colin and Anna went outside to have a snowball fight, then we all went on a hike around the area.  It was a beautiful day.
We were also invited to be the guest speakers at Fran's niece, Elisa's kindergarten class.  The kids were supposed to ask questions in English, but they asked in Spanish.  They loved Anna, and asked her what her school was called, and what her friends were called.
Anna said, "Heather... Katherine...Benjamin...Vannida...Christina... umm..." A little boy said, "Tienes solo cinco amigos?"  (you only have 5 friends?)  It was hilarious.  We also sang them a little song we knew from her school in English and Spanish. 
What else did we do?  We ate out a lot.  One of Fran's favorite restaurants is Tip y Tap, a little Chilean restaurant that we loved for its dining room with windows that overlooked a play ground.  One wall had a forest scene, so here's Fran and I, correr en el bosco!
Here's what Fran liked to order:  tartar.   Fran! Someone forgot to cook your hamburger!
Here we are eating in a Patagonian restaurant with Catalinda.

This is from a high-end steak house where we ate with Fran and her brothers.  Oh man! that grass fed beef is good!  We started with Pisco Sours, then had wine, steak, and salads.  At the end of the meal, every table got a complimentary plate of cotton candy.  It seemed hilarious to us to get circus food at such a fancy place.  Good thing the kids weren't there to get so silly on all that sugar!

There is one last thing I have to post about, the amazing tiny winery we visited.  Until next time...


Lisa said...

Ooh, wonderful post and wonderful photos. That mountain cabin looks perfect. This was definitely worth waiting for!

grandad says said...

I liked the school experience. And those Andes are amazing.

Anonymous said...

Lovely post,Jennifer..I couldn't eat that Tartar if I was starving though..yuck! did you have a taste? :)


Emily said...

Oh, looks like such a great time! Anna is just beaming in the pictures at the school. I love skiing, too, but I agree, it feels great to get those boots off at the end of the day. A jacuzzi at the end is also nice...

Fran and her family were certainly wonderful hosts! The cabin looks fantastic, and the dinner pictured at the end looks like a lot of fun.