Today is the day my grandmother passes, and it seems fitting to spend it doing something that reminds me of her, a day in sun-drenched walls, vibrant, outdoors, messy, Mediterranean.
Somewhere colorful, bright, bold.
Somewhere like Valparaiso, a town of endless cul-de-sacs and wrong ways and snail trails into neighborhoods upon a hill, endless possibilities for thoughts to echo surroundings, a meditation labyrinth through a city famous for its stroll, the purpose none other than the pleasure of discovery.
So, here we are, riding up the funicular to the Naval Museum, pastel Victorians and haunted houses reminiscent of plaster painting with my mother come winter, Christmas town of miniature homes growing with each passing year, my skills markedly improving as I graduate from big brush to pencil strokes.
Valparaiso is a hilly New Orleans meets our sexy cool imaginary of 1950s Cuba, palm tree weather chillness with a hint of classy sophistication, always on the brink of one pisco sour too many to release floodgates of undercover romance and mystery.
We follow the beat of our hunger to a local joint, our older-than-ancient hostess greeting us with entirely too many deviations from the norm that we fuddle through, sure to order anything than what we expect, and yes, indeed, lunch comes, vermicelli soup and meat and potato concoction, our presence a disruption to the coming-and-going, tourists outside the trodden path of overpriced pizza.
But, we are happy to continue drumming through town to the rhythm of our own curiosity, me in serious like with this town’s funky jive, my Mamouchka in my heart.
And, just like that, we hop on colectivo 605 for the coast-to-coast bargain rate ride back to Viña.