It was a truly joyous reunion and smiles, hugs, & high fives abounded. Our connecting flight to Coyhaique didn’t leave for an hour or two, so we elected to head to the airport bar for a quick glass of wine to catch up. The last time we were hanging out, I was getting ready to sail to the Galapagos (and my parents were probably wondering if I’d get struck by lightning or eaten by a whale), so we had plenty to catch up on! The flight went smoothly and we got beautiful views of the Andes when we weren’t shrouded in clouds.
That was a mistake, it turned out. As I passed him, he lost his shit and started waving his arms around and chasing after us. I immediately pulled over and he came right up to my window, asking in rapid (and barely comprehensible) Spanish why the hell I didn’t stop when he gave me the universal “pull your law-breaking ass over” hand signals. I explained that I wasn’t familiar with that particular hand signal and offered a thousand apologies for the ignorance of a stupid gringo. We were directly in front of the airport at this point and several amused locals and tourists looked on with great interest. He carefully inspected all of my documents for a few minutes and let us go on our way. We all let out a sigh of relief.
After checking into our little B&B, we set out to explore town and get something to eat. Coyhaique is a cute little town with the classic center plaza and lots of restaurants and bars. We happened into one that specialized in roasted meats (surprise, surprise) and started off our time in Patagonia right with a couple bottles of wine and a bunch of tender delicious carne.
Predictably, eating so many glorious empanadas sent the Haney clan into an afternoon nap tailspin and we (also predictably) woke up just in time for cocktail hour. We quickly found a bar along the beach, had a few snacks and pisco sours, and watched the surf roll in. Pisco is a type of Chilean brandy that is absolutely delicious and gets nestled right behind wine as the national drink. Its almost always sold as a “pisco sour” which tastes something like a boozy lemonade.
Unfortunately, Chile’s lunch and dinner timing doesn’t match the internal clock of your average Haney and we found they were closing for a two hour break between lunch and dinner just as we were getting fired up for a good sunset.
When your vagabond son convinces you to eat some strange critter, make sure you have your stomach fully fastened down. This was just one of the incredibly weird things he forced me to sample. Perhaps one of the worst was black harry seafood ball in a mixed soup of 5 inch muscles, fish of some unidentified type, clams, and a random little shrimp. At least he didn't force me to eat the red insides of massive barnacles, of course, he didn't taste those either. But seriously, when your son invites you on a family extravaganza trip like this, make sure you savor every moment of it! Life is short!
There's always one thing that happens on a Haney family trip. You never know what that one thing is going to be, but you will know it when it happens. In the past it's been everything from singing The Beach Boys - Kokomo so many times that we wore the tape deck out - to saying "Bonjour" every time your brother is peeing in the woods pretending there was a family of French Canadians around the corner waiting to bust you for peeing in public.
On this trip to Southern Chile the thing was --- Street Dogs!
There are a bunch friendly pups that hang out on the sidewalks and alleys of every town. They're looking for a bite of steak or a kind pet from a passerby. Unlike a lot of street dogs, these dogs are very friendly. In fact, a quick rub of the ears might make you a day long friend that'll follow you through miles of city walking. These dogs seem to have developed a sixth sense for not getting hit by cars, kicked by surly humans, or in fights with theirs peers - by and large they're living the doggie dream.
You might ask what do these fellas have to do with that one thing on a Haney family trip? Well, Mom ended up taking pictures of every last one she could get to sit still, and even some she couldn't! And, Dad, well he couldn't help but whistle at each and every one of him. Turns out his whistle could be construed for the whistle the young men in Chile use to harass the young women! Tsk tsk!
These dogs were an absolute highlight of the trip. They were everywhere, they were friendly, and they didn't mind a little loving from a Haney.
I have to admit that my love for the "Chile Dogs" was only out-done by my love for Chilean wine! Walking back to our hostel each night we'd see lots of dogs sleeping (or passed out) on the sidewalks. Too much wine you ask? It's totally possible.
When we were in Mexico, it was tough to get wine with dinner, but beer was available on every street corner. To my delight, the situation was reversed in Chile! Chilean wine is cheap and tasty and it doesn't make you have to find a bathroom every hour. You can drink it cold or room temp. It's great to take to the beach (one of my favorite spots) and it always makes life seem more simple. The Chilean folks truly have it figured out.
I didn't think I was a Cabernet drinker, but that all changed in Chile. Dwy had the whole "boxed wine" thing figured out and he even knew to get the screw-cap type so we could carry it around like a bota bag. He is my child! So smart! He even brought a couple of metal cups from the Rascal to keep us from breaking glasses. David, who doesn't usually drink a lot of wine, managed to fall for the Chilean wine too. It was wonderful to sit in the hot springs and drink wine with the rain hitting your shoulders.
It was also great fun to tour all the different vineyards with David and our boys. So yes, I did love the wine and the dogs of Chile. Of all the dogs I saw, however, I loved the three big dogs I was traveling with the most. They made the trip!
Next on the docket? A couple weeks of skiing volcanos in southern Chile with long-lost buddies!