So I jumped off the bus at this rural location, with the bus guy eyeing me twice to make sure I knew where I was going (I didn't). I waited at the stop and saw a guy riding a horse, and carrying the reins of another horse -- ah! this must be Juan I thought. I stood and looked at the man as he approached, gave him a "qué tal?" as he neared, and watched him silently clop-clop past me. I guess that wasn't Juan.
After five more minutes Juan arrived, wearing glasses, sporting a great moustache and a tan hat that covered his neck. He led me through the woods to the field of grapes, where I spent the next few hours filling baskets with the sweet, sticky fruit.
The group of about 25 Chileans and gringos loaded up the trucks and ate a few sweet grapes along the way. We climbed up to the house and spent the evening eating grilled meat, drinking wine and punch, and singing songs -- some of them fairly salacious. We gringos felt like failures because we couldn't think of many good songs to sings as a group, only "Yesterday" by the Beatles.
The next morning we woke up late, rolled big barrels -- made of a clay/mortar substance -- to prepare chicha, a wine/liquor drink made from grapes. We spent some time smashing grapes then shared a hearty lunch among good company and made our way on the bus back to the big city.
|Getting off the bus, at the bridge "Las Garzas" near the town of Cauquenes, 4.5 hours south of Santiago.|
|Waiting for Juan, a friend of friends.|
|I mistakenly thought this guy on the horse was Juan.|
|Juan leading me to his family's house and the vineyard.|
|The fields of grapes, with the house in the distance.|
|Loading the truck.|
|Piling up the grapes for loading on the truck.|
|Loading up the truck at the end of the day.|
|Carne, mucha carne.|
|Singing campfire songs, great fun.|
|The drummer keeps getting more and more outrageous as the night goes on.|
|View in the morning.|
|Getting the barrels ready for chicha, a strong, sweet wine-type drink.|
|Rolling the barrels into place.|
|Cleaning things out.|
|Long-armed Joe climbing in to place the plug.|
|Preparing the grapes for smashing.|
|Smashing the grapes.|
|Don't forget to remove the twigs and leaves.|
|Lentil soup, very tastey.|
|The house, being constructed with mud and hay.|
|Tarantula found in the vegetation.|
|Waiting for the bus back to Santiago.|