Saturday, May 31, 2008

San Antonio, Chile

San Antonio is a port city about 30 or 40 minutes from El Tabo. On our first full day in Chile, this was our destination. May 21 is a national holiday in Chile and we were not sure anything would be open but the guide book promised sea lions in San Antonio and I figured they would not have clue about the Chilean navy.

As it turned out the promenade along the waterfront had several artisan shops open and people were out and about despite the rain. This part of Chile reminds me of California and particularly San Francisco in the way houses are built on the steep hillsides overlooking the bays. I guess Mukilteo and Seattle are this way, too but the flora and fauna in Chile remind me more of California than the Puget Sound region.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us
San Antonio

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us
Dave and Lucas getting a snack on the promenade.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Notice the two dogs in the photo above. The dog situation in Chile was fascinating to me. They seem to have a significant feral dog problem. Dogs are everywhere. There were dogs on the beach, in the villages, and running all over the place in Santiago. But unlike Puerto Rico or Mexico where you also see a lot of dogs, the dogs in Chile do not all look alike and some of those that are loose appear to be pure bred or nearly so. I saw German Shepherds, Greyhounds, and Golden Retriever mixes. They are smart and streetwise and seem to know just what to do to have their needs met. A couple of times as we were walking along, a couple of dogs would join us for a little ways. The whole dog culture was really interesting to me. In addition to all of the dogs, there are also a large number of pet food shops so I assume that many families claim some of these dogs as pets. Naturally, I wanted to pet all of them but some were mangy, cut, and full of fleas. You really could not tell which ones might be pets unless they had on a collar.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us
Sea Lions

The sea lions were hanging out near the seafood market. These two guys seemed to be a part of the neighborhood. While we were looking at them, a little girl ran up and waved, "Hola!" at them like they were old friends.