World’s largest, make that the second largest, swimming pool in the World!

We can’t miss going to this HUGE pool! Watch this video for an overview of the pool at the San Alfonso del Mar private resort, about 62 miles west of Santiago. The pool holds 66 million gallons of water, water filtered after it is pumped from the Pacific Ocean. The salt water pool is 115 feet at its deepest and covers 20 acres.  This longer video will give you more awesome views and facts about the lagoon.

Are you interested in the technology involved in building this type of pool ? Crystal Lagoons, a Chilean Company, invented the processes that make these huge man-made bodies of water possible. The company has been busy. A pool in Egypt opened in 2015, breaking the wool record for size at 30 acres and it is slated to be dwarfed by a pool in Dubai in 2020 with a planned size of 90 acres!.   If you want to know more about the technology that makes this all possible watch this video.

What’s so great about a tree?

This beautiful tree is the Chilean Wine Palm.  It is endemic (unique to) a small area in Central Chile. If we don’t spot one on our own, we can see it at the Jardín Botánico Chagual, a botanical garden in Santiago. This tree is a very slow growing tree, taking nearly 20 years to become a tree rather than what appears to be a shrub. It can take 18 months for a seed to germinate. Obviously patience is key. Bri, Damien, and Elias, if you start a seed now, you might see a trunk for this tree when you are in your late 30s!

I learned a lot about this palm by reading this BLOG post. The tree can get up to 80 feet tall but if you see one that tall it is probably 100 years old. The trees are at risk and protected by Chilean law. Collection of the sap is limited as it comes from cutting the tree down and collecting the fluid that runs from the upper part, sometimes yielding nearly 80 gallons. The sap can be used to make a wine or can make a sweet syrup.

Mercado Central

The Mercado Central is an indoor experience market that we shouldn’t miss. This building has been in Santiago since 1872 and is filled with vendors selling fresh produce, meats, candies, souvenirs, and fresh seafood – live crabs, lobsters, mounds of oysters and a variety of fish.

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Live music entertains us as we get closer toward the center of the building. Imagine wandering through this huge wrought-iron building listening to the music, smelling the fresh fish, hearing the beautiful Spanish language and eating ice cream.  There are restaurants and fast food vendors in the market and we could stop to try Locos or Chilean Abalone, large edible sea snails.

 

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See Santiago from the 62nd floor!

The Sky Costanera , the tallest building in South America, stands tall in Santiago, the capitol of Chile.  At 300 meters (nearly 1000 feet high) you can see the surrounding area from the 62nd floor.   The beautiful city is framed by the majestic Andes Mountains. If you get there at the right time you can watch the sunset and the colors of the city change right before your eyes.  Take a look at the short clip to see the building and the views.

 

Rainstick

Rain-sticks can be found in many different parts of the world.  People from different cultures may have discovered how to turn a cacti or other similar plants into rain-sticks on their own.  Some say the rainstick was used in ceremonies to call for rain.

This photo shows the Capado cactus from the southern part of Atacama Desert, the driest place on earth.  This type of cactus lives about 60 years and when it dies, after it dries out, the cactus is hollowed out, creating a tube.  The spines of the cactus are cut off and pushed inward so they protrude inside the hollow tube.  The tube is then filled with small pebbles or beans and the ends blocked off.  When the cactus tube is turned the pebbles fall inside, hitting the spines of the cactus creating the sound of rain.

Take a look at this video of a lady explaining the Rainstick and demonstrating how it is played.  Stay with the video because it really sounds cool when she turns it on the side to play it.

I know you must be curious about what it looks like inside but please don’t cut it open.  Here is a video of someone doing this so you won’t have to.

PS – Confusion arises over the plural of cactus because its original plural form (cacti) derives from Latin and native English speakers are drawn to cactuses, which adheres to the standard ruling for forming plurals. Both cactuses and cacti are acceptable. Of note, cacti is the more common plural.

It is Chile!

Everyone should have received their boxes by now.  As I post this month, the items in the box will become much more meaningful.  You should have a Chilean flag, a book, a fidget spinner made of copper, a rainstick, a Lapis stone, and Night Sky playing cards.

Chile is a beautiful country bordered by the Andes mountains on one side and the Pacific Ocean on the other with a small section bordering the South Atlantic Ocean.  North to South the country is 4,270 km (2,653 mi) long.  The width is narrow however with an average width of 110 miles.  At the most narrow point it is only 40 miles wide!

My hint was “you would need to dress for cold weather if we left right now.”  That is because Chile, a part of South America, is in the southern hemisphere.  They are in their cold season when we are in our warm season.  If you look at the way the earth tilts in relation to the sun at this time of the year, you can see why there is this difference in our seasons.

Chile has one of the driest places on earth, the Atacama desert. The mountains are so high that they block moisture-bearing clouds from this desert. Long stretches of rainless periods can pass in the region but when rain comes it can leave the desert floor covered with beautiful Mallow flowers, occurrences that can be many years apart.     imrs.php

Chile has active earthquakes.  The biggest Earthquake of the 20th century occurred in Chile May 22, 1960.  It was so strong that it showed that our whole earth can vibrate like a guitar string.  The tsunamis that resulted from this quake hit Hawaii and Japan.  The waves, traveling 200 miles per hour, landed on Hawaii nearly 15 hours after and Japan 22 hours after the quake.  Can you imagine being a boat at sea and seeing that nearly 90 foot wave coming?  I plan to post an in-depth explanation of the earthquakes and tsunamis this month.

The playing cards you received have constellations on them to remind you that Chile is the best place in the world to view the night skies.  We will travel to the sites of scientific study of Astronomy and learn about their findings.

Every country we have been to has had very unique features….the biggest, the best, the driest,…..  Do you get the feeling that every country has something very special for us to see and learn about?  I do and I can’t wait to see where we go next.