Thursday, March 12, 2015

Chilling in Chile (Again)

Mentioned yesterday how I’d had a chance to dine with some of the Brazilian players and media on the last night of LAPT Chile. Started out as a small group with just me, Brazilian blogger Sergio and his girlfriend Rebeca, and Andre Akkari.

Eventually a few more showed to fill seats at the other tables we’d had the waiters at Tierra de Fuego slide together. Then we had more tables moved as more and more arrived. Eventually there were more than 25 in our party, and I joked with Felipe (another of the Brazilian media) how the building wasn’t going to be big enough for the table.

“They’ll be able to build an extension after tonight,” he grinned.

Indeed, it turned out to be quite the feast (and quite the bill). Most had steak, but since that's what I'd had the night before I went with the swordfish, which was scrumptious. As happened the night before, I found myself surrounded by Portuguese, a language about which I haven’t the first clue. Some (like Sergio, Felipe, and others) spoke some English, too, but I’d sometimes go several minutes only listening and watching.

It reminded me a little of living in France years ago where I knew some French but occasionally would be thrust into situations where I couldn’t keep up well enough to speak myself, and thus could only listen. The fact that there were so many top poker players among the group made me think about non-verbal “tells” a little, and how one can develop a kind of literacy in that realm that is analogous to learning a language.

Unlike in France, though, here I didn’t have much chance of picking up words, except when the conversations had to do with poker in which case I realized I could follow pretty well the gist of what each speaker was saying even without the vocabulary. It’s interesting how a bad beat story transcends verbalized language, with expressions, shrugs, polite nods, sympathetic smiles and laughter, and other gestures adequately conveying all.

Got up early Thursday to get some work done before being forced to check out at noon, then spent much of the afternoon with Caue, another of the Brazilian contingent. We enjoyed a ceviche lunch at the Peruvian restaurant, Ica, where I had eaten once before last year, then explored the city a bit before he was due to leave. Caue and I had a chance back at Panama to visit the Canal together before, and again we had a good time discussing various subjects, seeing some sights, and enjoying what turned out to be a beautiful sunny day.

Was on my own near the end of the afternoon and so spent some time on the beach reading and people-watching, and also looking out on all of the cruise ships passing to and fro not far from the shore. At the center of that one to the left is El Castillo Wulff, which hangs out over the sea not far from my hotel and the Enjoy Casino Viña del Mar. (Click any of the pics in this post to enlarge.)

Eventually I caught my shuttle to Santiago, winding back through the mountains and vineyards as the sun started to set on the day. The overnight flight was about as good as it gets, comfort-wise, as I drew a row to myself and was able to sleep a little after watching an episode of Ken Burns’s The Roosevelts -- the one in which TR gets shot while delivering a speech and continues on another hour before getting medical attention.

After stopping through Dallas finally touched down around noon today, getting back to the farm an hour after that. The horses remembered me, or at least they pretended to after I greeted each with a carrot. Vera definitely did, and while it was another fun trip -- made more so by the great LAPT staff and others with whom I got to work again -- I was glad once again to be back in my home hemisphere.

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