at home in Algarrobo


Here is my father’s house in charming Algarrobo, a weekend town of visitors from Sanitago. It is a real adobe house about 150 years old. I love the small, idyllic back garden that ends at the rocky shore of the cold Pacific.


The house next door recently became a five room b&b with a fashionable and expensive garden restaurant featuring ‘mariscos’ – seafood.


Still, the dog’s got to play. The oversized orange squeaky ball catches the eye as my long throw takes it high over the tree. The weekenders’ cell phone conversation trails off. The wind is strong but the ball comes down in the correct backyard again. Just as conversation resumes, the big dog crashes into the geraniums along our side of the fence. When her jaws find her ball the privacy fabric will not be enough to screen the diners from a harsh squeak, heard via Blackberry back in Santiago.

Jacinta the unruly dog does not return the ball. The restaurant enjoys a deceptive moment of quiet while I work to corner her. The moment ends in a fierce squeaking as I fight with the huge dog for posession of the ball. Another moment of quiet follows as I pick myself up and return to my thowing position. I hope the food is good next door.


Of course townies get the pick of the seafood. When the fishermen have something good they bring it over and knock on the door.


We ate abalones, giant hunks of tuna, a bunch of other fish, a bunch of kinds of seaweed and an animal locally known as Piure that I don’t really know what it is. Imagine if a sea cucumber were sessile and colonial, a bit like a giant coral polyp.


With hair. The online encyclopedia suggests I might have eaten Pyura chilensis. Anyway, we ate them as ceviche, rather than cooked.


Thanks to my father’s wife Marietta and her helper Sandra for the every-day-at-two-o’clock feasts.


It prepared me for my 7:00 appointment with the good stuff dad had been saving for a ‘special occasion’. It had been in the closet fifteen years.


Everyone who tried it said it was ‘too strong’ so I was left to do the work of drinking most of it. That took four evenings. Thanks dad!

More Algarrobo images here.


6 thoughts on “at home in Algarrobo

  1. Except for the hairy ceviche, I believe you had the best and certainly most unique holiday of anyone I know. I enjoyed sharing it. Happy New Year!

  2. I have this itch to go south of the equator. A friend of mine did a riding tour of Chile about 5 yrs ago. Its just that my Spanish really doesn’t exist… It’s good to see Noel’s place. Thanks for all the pics.

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