A Trip to the Fish Market, Valparaiso
So today was supposed to be Joel going with Cecile to finish the process of getting Joel’s cedula (id card) and our landlady coming by to finish our inspection of the apartment. While they left for the id, I cleaned. Suspiciously early, they returned. Apparently things open earlier than we thought, and the place was packed by the time they got there, and we can go back tomorrow morning before the feria, as before, and hopefully finish up without the wait. When they got back, Cecile checked her e-mail and found that our landlady couldn’t make it at the schedule 11:00 a.m. time, but maybe would be here at 10:30. So when it got to be after 11 with still no word, we decided to go out and do something.
The Fish Market at Valparaiso, Chile
Cecile HAD gotten an e-mail from her friend Sara that she had just been to the fish market in Valparaiso, and it was great. So we decided to check it out. It’s just two metro stops down, and was supposed to have yummy restaurants in addition to fishmongers. We knew we were getting there late, and weren’t sure if the market would still be open, but decided to give it a shot; at the least, we’d be able to have lunch and enjoy another gorgeous day.
When we got there we saw that the market was still open, though it was clear pickings were a little thinner than they would have been earlier in the morning (which is when we’ll go in the future). We walked around a bit, talked to some of the sellers to try and get a sense of what was what, then decided it made sense to have lunch first, then come back and buy fish.
First we took a little walk on the beach and among the various life forms saw a sea lion (well there were others out at sea, but this is the one we could really see) and a pelican that seemed to be having trouble eating its fish. At one point another one tried to grab it out of its pouch, and then some dogs came running down the beach and sent everything flying (the camera’s never out when you need it).
But First, Lunch (almuerzo)
There’s one larger restaurant set apart from the others, and then a longer building holding several additional spots. Cecile had read some reviews that the larger one was good, but probably more expensive, so we decided to go for the row. At the first one, a gentleman was waiting outside encouraging customers (we still do these things at the wrong time, this was around 11:30/12:00, easily an hour before most customers would be expected), and it turns out he speaks quite good English, having lived in California for several years. So after some chatting and perusing the menu, and Joel & I taking a quick look at the menu one door down, we decided we’d just take the first one.
We went upstairs and had a seat at a table next to the windows looking over the bay; we were, in fact, the only customers this early. One suggestion was a plate of all sorts of different seafood items, priced I believe at about 17,000 chilean pesos (I’ll let you do the math, the exchange right now is about 560 pesos/dollar). So we decided to do that plus a seafood empanada and some rice (most items here come a la carte).
Most importantly, Cecile decided to have our first pisco, a pisco sour, which is a common way of drinking the native alcoholic beverage (see sidebar for links to more info, and I’m sure we’ll have more to tell over the next few months). It was good, and while not large lived up to its reputation of being strong, so I had to give her some help. Sacrifices must be made, and Metro was driving.
And then the plate of food arrived. Wow. Most things we could identify, and even what we couldn’t was good. Except for the fried fish it was all cooked but served chilled, with the biggest chunks of lemon you’ve ever seen and a little plate of a salsa that had a nice little kick to it. We did our best, but being weirdo estadounidensans (U.S. folk) we couldn’t finish it, so it’s going to be our dinner, too.
Sorry Fish Market, We’ll Be Back Another Day
Knowing that we had seafood for dinner, and that it was early afternoon and the fish had been sitting out for awhile, we decided it made sense to get the leftovers home asap and come back to the market another day. So I came home while Joel and Cecile went to the port and came back without leaving the train, but you’ll have to read her blog to learn about that.