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Fear and Loathing Before Valparaíso as our Chile trip begins

When the thread attaching us to this life is revealed, senses become sharper.

And so it was on an easy drive after picking up our rental Kia Sorento at the Santiago airport. We had a delightful lunch at Casas del Bosque winery near Casablanca and were making our way toward Valparaíso on the main highway.

Seared Tuna
Seared Tuna from Casas Del Bosque, Casablanca, Chile

Without warning or understood reason the window next to Lizzy in the back seat exploded, covering her in glass and forcing Charlie to exit the highway in a hurry.

The first place to stop was next to the gate of a seafood processing facility on the outskirts of Valparaíso. We were shaken and confused and opened the doors to pick pieces of shattered glass off of Lizzy and her bleeding bare feet. None of us could provide a reason for the violence. We hadn’t seen anything hit the window, there was no recognizable sound or foreign debris in the car. It remains a mystery.

The security man, the gatekeeper at the fish plant, was compassionate. He helped us with calling the police and getting some paper towels to wipe the blood from Lizzy’s feet. He got a worker to walk us to the toilet facilities.

Liz wasn’t hurt much but was shaken as were we all. We could only speculate on what had caused the breakage and exclaim how it could have been much worse. It could have broken the windshield or come an instant earlier and broken the driver’s window with a much different result.

Avis brought us a new car, though it took a few hours to arrive. The thread of life was pulled tighter and colors in the murals of Valparaíso got brighter. They loss their sharpness as our stomachs calmed.

The next morning we walked through Paublo Neruda’s house and imagined sharing a dinner and hearing the poet now alive only in his work. Our real welcome to Chile was a sharp crack of the breaking window. Wake up, pay attention, none of us are here long!







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