One of my best friends and then, coworker, was a project manager for Latin America at Delta Air Lines. Angelo traveled every six to eight weeks to Santiago, Chile for business. He has become accustomed to that area and in November of 2004, we made Viña del Mar our next destination. Viña del Mar is a coastal area about one hour and forty minutes away from Santiago. The city boasts great beaches, lively entertainment, and friendly people. Upon arriving in Santiago we take a private limousine ride with several stops along the way to appreciate the beauty it offers.
My friend Christine and Nathalie decided to come with us on this trip. Two great women, great friends and so much fun to be with. Something about Delta and its employees that we all shared the same passion. Ben, a friend of mine from the gym, also accompanied us on this trip.
The road trip allows us in having a great time in the limousine by exchanging stories and jokes. We also stop by a local church followed by a street market to buy some local appetizers.
We check in our hotel and seeing the rooms are quite small, Angelo myself and Ben share one room, while Christine and Nathalie share an adjacent one. The front desk is manned by this individual called Francisco. He would go above and beyond to ensure we have a perfect stay and I quickly realize that Chileans are so friendly.
With the night slowly settling in, we decide to call it a night and rest for the following day’s festivities. Like I mentioned earlier, the rooms were quite small and fitting 3 of us in one room was a challenge. There were two single beds, and upon our request, Fransisco brought a folding bed cot. Ben, the 6 foot 3, took one single. I took the second single and Angelo was stuck with the folding bed. That wasn’t the worse of it. During the night, both Angelo and I were awakened by this continuous and clockwork breathing sigh. We tried tossing and turning, tried blocking our ears and even tried moving Ben. All proved unsuccessful. Angelo turns to me and says, “I know just what to do.” He later explained to me that he saw this on some television show and it seemed to work. What Angelo did was either a fluke or an answer to all snoring problems. All he did was when Ben would be at his exhale, Angelo would whistle very lightly keeping the sound going the same length as Ben’s snore. It sounded like a kaleidoscope of sounds, but after 3 takes, believe it or not, it was all gone. No more snoring, and both Angelo and I had a great night sleep. Okay, not so sure about Angelo’s back though!
Rise and shine, while Christine and Nathalie are getting ready, we have the full breakfast that was included with the hotel and head for the coastline. Let me rephrase the full breakfast part; one piece of cheese, one piece of salami cold cut, one croissant and a coffee. Needless to say we were starving.
Walking along the huge rock infested borders separating the street and ocean, we take many pictures, see beautiful structures and notice corner street performers doing their act. One Gypsy confirms eye contact with Angelo and decided to read his palm. His objection is not taken seriously and he’s forced in giving some donation. A little further in our walk a percussionist stops me to participate in the rhythmic beat but before he can ask for donations, I continue walking with the group.
Some fair must have been going on, for the people where growing in numbers as we approached the Muelle Vergara Pier. Almost like the pier in Santa Monica, it had quaint food courts and souvenir stands. A really picturesque area that allowed us to venture deeper towards the ocean. In returning back, we see the Castillo Wulff with its impressive architectural design and a massive gate being under surveillance with interior guards.
That evening, we have supper at a local restaurant and the best recommendation from our very own Angelo was a Chilean Bass with some white Chilean wine. What a great suggestion. Ben may have had just a little too many Caipirinhas but his tall stature allowed him to enjoy the evening. We ended the night by visiting the gorgeous and classy Hotel del Mar.
The running joke for that trip was the fact that Angelo, Christine and myself would time our chap stick application since we received the high end lip palm from the complimentary business class toiletry bag.