March 1, 2019
Getting to La Vega Market was an adventure in and of itself. We took a subway, walked a few miles over a bride, through some sketchy areas and I kept asking Brandon if he thought we were safe to keep going. Haha. The parts of Santiago that we frequented felt very safe, but walking in this part of town made me feel more nervous. All the travel guides I read said that it wasn’t safe to be there in the evening and having been there I can see why. The crowd of people is rougher and the buildings are run-down.
On our way there, we saw a man sleeping on the dirt by the river. Blake asked what he was doing and we explained that he lived there and slept there. Blake was astonished and it led to a great discussion as we walked to the market about blessings and gratitude.
Our first impression of the market: STINKY. The door we walked in was right by the fish stands. We laughed and wondered if coming here was worth it after all. But after we got through the big crowds and could enjoy the ambiance and culture of it, it became a memorable experience.
We got 2 kilos of berries for $1000 pesos each, which means for 2.5 lbs of strawberries and blueberries, we only paid $1.50. The food is so cheap there! But I wouldn’t make the effort to go all the way out there to save a few dollars.
The highlight of our experience (for me anyways) was watching a violinist play “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” I have loved that song ever since I heard it so many years ago in Maine. Hearing that took me back to a very fond memory of being in Bar Harbor, Maine on my 19th birthday when my friends from Camp Vega requested to have the pianist play the very same song as we ate our fancy desserts in the restaurant that overlooked the harbor.
Going to the market checked off one of our final Santiago bucket list items and helped us finish off our Bip! cards (the metro cards). There was a McDonald’s strategically placed in our metro station right by the elevator and our children would beg for a cone anytime we passed it. On our way home from the market, we crossed that off our bucket list, too.