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We like to think of Peterman’s Eye as an old fashioned interactive community newspaper (if there is such a thing) focused on travel and curiosities. Talk with us about today’s post. Tell us about the places you’ve been. Or take a trip using J. Peterman’s exclusive travel services (coming soon). Read more...

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“The houses became colors: a blend of amaranth and yellow, crimson and cobalt, green and purple.” 

--Pablo Neruda on Valparaiso, from Memoirs.

The front desk calls to say that Hector is waiting downstairs with the car. Funny, I only recall consuming two Pisco Sours last night. My attenuated morning routine puts me in the lobby 15 minutes later. We’re off to see the historic port town of Valparaiso and the nearby resort of Viña del Mar.  

Hector cruises along Highway 68, slicing through the rolling vines of Sauvignon Blanc, Syrah, and Merlot in the Casablanca Valley. By mid-morning, we stretch our legs at the open-air market at the entrance of Valparaiso. We examine the curious choclo, a large grain Andean corn roughly twice the length and width of an American ear, and can’t quite figure out why people at this hour are buying the now slightly pungent fish and shrimp. A little farther down, the produce gives way to the flea market. Following a quick inspection, we return to our car. Hector then deposits us by the port.  

We spend the next 90 minutes climbing the steep paths and labyrinthine allies of the Cerros, admiring the brightly painted bohemian houses and the spectacular view of the city. From these heights all things are clear.  

We circle back to the port and idly watch some cargo being offloaded when Hector’s horn summons us to lunch.     

We follow the coastal road through the popular summer resort of Viña del Mar, continuing on to the neighboring town of Concón and our restaurant, Don Chicho, where I heartily recommend the corvina (sea bass) with pink peppercorn sauce. Corvina, sometimes translated as sea bass, is really weakfish--a dense fish with sweet firm flesh. What we call "Chilean Sea Bass" is really Patagonian toothfish. The great Argentine boxer, Luis Firpo, who once sent heavyweight champ Jack Dempsey through the ropes, attributed his great strength to a daily diet of corvina. 

From our table we can see a family of abalone clinging to the rocks below. All this sun, sand, and surf raise the obvious question: Why don’t we travel like this all of the time?


J. Peterman


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Under Construction: Design Stuff & Member Commenting - Changes Soon.
3 Members’ Opinions
January 23, 2009 12:07 PM
790 10photoviews10videoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoFirst-videoHr-1Hr-5 MissIve said...

Had never seen labyrinthe used as an adjective before reading, nor had I ever heard of a Pisco Sour. Love it. Learn something new here every day. 

January 23, 2009 12:52 PM
First-comHr-1 jobug said...

Again, this entry totally transports me to this incredible place - I can practically taste the sea bass, the Pisco Sours, and feel the sea breeze on my face.  I also love the Pablo Neruda quote; he is one of my favorite poets, and his words here bring me immediate images of what this place must be like. Why not travel like this all the time indeed! Your descriptions and handy links are great - maybe I'll fix myself a Pisco Sour tonight and wish for the sun, sand and surf to appear along with it!

January 23, 2009 2:22 PM
First-com MidnightSail said...

Somehow Patagonian toothfish doesn't sound quite as appetizing as Chilean sea bass!  --but your journey through the Casablanca Valley certainly does!  Love the sights and smells, and stretching legs on the steep hillsides for a better view.  Thanks for taking me with you to a place I've never been....

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