The last Saturday of August we drove out on Ruta 5 south for Los Angeles, a city of about 185,000 situated between the coast and the Cordillera. It is a farming region, so when Elder Kennington saw farm equipment dealers on either side of the highway, he started to feel at home.
It isn't ConAgra--it's Coagra, but Elder K. was impressed by the big tractors.
We even passed -- wait for it -- a silage pit covered with plastic sheeting and tires. Vanessa, Carrie, Conrad, Casey and Jeff will know all about this.
We stayed two nights at the Diego de Almagro, which needs to change the address on its website and on Google Maps. Fortunately someone told us where to find it.
We keep seeing silver crew cab Nissan pickups wherever we go in Chile, just like Wendy's Troca de Plata. Here it is again, parked next to our Outback in the hotel parking lot.
We ventured into Los Angeles, which we were told has spectacularly bad traffic, especially in the center of town, which is where we are, above, on Avenida Colon. Still, Los Angeles is more spread out and there aren't as many tall buildings as in Conce, for which we were grateful.
We located the Los Angeles North Stake Center so we could find later it among the winding one-way streets. We met with the stake president and the Self Reliance Committee for an informational presentation, which went very well. Sunday evening we met with another group of people interested in applying for Perpetual Education Fund loans.
The Pendleys, who come to Los Angeles regularly on South Mission business, told us they prefer the Verona hotel, so we stopped there for lunch at the otherwise empty restaurant.
Outside there were banks of blooming poinsettia shrubs losing their red bracts. The Chileans call poinsettias the Corona de Inca, Flor de Navidad, Flor de Pascua, or Nochebuena, their name for Christmas Eve.
Elder Kennington ordered a sliced beef sandwich with porotos verdes, green beans. My sandwich was the same except with paltas, avocado. It was delicious.
Sunday morning we got lost looking for the Barrio Galvarino chapel, which the stake president had asked us to visit. Fortunately we came upon these elders walking along the street, and they showed us where it was. This happens to us often. They were thankful for the ride.
The chapel where the Galvarino Ward meets, which it shares with another ward. Something more common outside of Concepcion.
Following the meetings, we were invited to lunch at the home of Stake President Pauvif, who happens to be the head of Promasa in Chile, a wood-products business owned by friends of ours at home in our Ontario 3rd Ward. Two hungry elders had also been invited. Fortunately, Hna. Pauvif is a terrific cook, and she cooked a LOT of food for us.
I love the hanging photo display.
Following our dinner of vacuno, beef--a cut called choclillo, which Elder K. says is the best he's eaten so far--chicken, peas, choclo (sweet corn), salad, and "pie limon," which is a round vanilla cake topped with lemon-flavored meringue, all very delicious, the elders left us with a message from the Book of Mormon.
The handsome Pauvif family. Hna. Pauvif has a delightful laugh, and we had a very funny conversation. They have traveled widely, including to our very own Treasure Valley in eastern Oregon.
Monday morning we left Los Angeles reluctantly. We kept telling each other "I really like it here!" and how we wished we could stay. At the crest of the hill driving out of town is the famous Cross landmark. We never did locate the Promasa plant, which means it's very easy for anyone except gringos to find, or the El Rincon Bed and Breakfast which is supposed to be just off the highway. Some other time, I guess.
Another reminder of home. I do like the windbreak poplars, which mark the boundaries of fields.
Fortunately there were lots of signs for Salto del Laja, the Falls on the Rio Laja, so we were able to find it. Since it was quite cloudy and rainy, we had the place all to ourselves. We were early enough that the feria artesanal sellers had not yet set up their shops, which Elder K. was thankful for.
The Falls were big, loud and spectacular, with all the rain this winter.
The fine mist on my camera lens makes the picture a little blurry.
Here I am, also a little blurry, which is not a bad thing.
Thursday afternoon we made a return trip to visit Hna. Truxell, who is doing much better. The cancer surgery was successful, and she and her husband will be leaving their Conce apartment for the U.S. next week. Above is a photo taken from their pleasant apartment balcony.
A photo of Elder K. visiting with the Truxells, if only to remind myself of how much nicer their apartment is than ours.
Friday Andrea did not make it into the Centro for her weaving class, since her mother in Coronel was very sick. Manuel's father was in the hospital in Los Angeles as well, so he didn't make it to the Planning for Success Workshop since he wants to sign up for a PEF loan. We were going to celebrate Andrea's birthday this week, but that will be on hold for now.
Above, one of the ladies shows a page from her weaver's notebook, very typical of Chile. She has a design for a poncho, the yarn she is using, and the tag from the yarn so she can find it again.
Our favorite weaver working denim yarn into her squares.
Our felting teacher has, naturally, turned out to be an outstanding weaver. Here she shows several dresses she has made, which she has joined and decorated with crochet.
A poncho she has decorated, naturally, with a very pretty white wool felt flower.
In the Corta y Confeccion class, Hna. Dagnig shows us a dress made for dancing the Cueca. Since the Chilean Day of Independence comes up on September 18th, all the stores are now stocking child-size cueca dresses and ponchos, and red-white-and-blue table decorations.
More Lirios de Cala, Calla Lilies, Zantadeschia Aethiopica.