Sendero Group Travel Blog

Follow Sendero travelers on their adventures using accessible GPS.

Friday, August 19, 2005


Permanent Ties to Chile

As we begin our 24-hour series of return flights from Santiago to Sacramento, I have pangs about leaving this country where my grandfather is buried and where I have cousins living. There just wasn’t enough time to deepen connections and at the same time, I am so grateful for the time we had and the opportunity to share these connections and this country with Jennifer and the boys.

In spite of the language barrier, it was fun to see Wyndham and Carson playing games with their Chilean cousins and children of friends. My cousin Carolina and her husband Jorge had us to their house for dinner. Our boys understand Spanish pretty well but speak it reluctantly. After being pretty good table guests, they happily ran upstairs with their three cousins. We wished we could have been flies on the wall to see just how they communicated. The same was true when we had lunch with friends and our kids all migrated to the trampoline and computer games. We hope some day the boys can stay long enough to really connect and to become fluent speakers.

May family in front of the tomb

We hoped to see our cousins again before leaving on the last day but we had time only for a quick visit to the Santiago general cemetery to locate the tomb of my grandfather, Origen James. I had visited it before but had no idea what its location was. Our friend Andrea Mujica and her mother enlisted the help of staff at the cemetery and after wandering its many streets, we found the building owned by Codelco, the company which bought Braden Copper company, with whom my grandfather was associated. The gate to the tomb, which contains my grandfather’s coffin, was completely made of copper. He died in the 50’s. I recorded a GPS mark so it can be located more easily in the future although there was talk that Codelco would be selling the plot and moving its inhabitants.

As we wound our way back out of the cemetery, Andrea pointed out the resting places of her family and friends and those of famous people from Chile. This would an important symbolic walk through the past but also the future in a place that is very much a part of me and consequently, part of Carson and Wyndham. I hope they and we return for more ski trips and exploration of the beautiful country and to reconnect with friends and family.

We visited the Cousino Macul winery near Santiago but will have to do more Chilean wine tasting on a future trip. We were very pleased with the Vitacura Radisson, which was our base for 5 nights in terms of service, the staff, the price, the location and the room.

Hey Mike. I'm really surprised to read this. i've read about you a couple of years ago in the Guardian while I was living in London. That same year I came back to Chile, my home country. I've been following your website every now and then, since I'm really interested in blind people recovering sight. Now I see you have a Chilean connection. Very funny.
Good luck and I really like the way you write. Unfortunately my blog is in Spanish, so you won't be able to read it, but...
All the best
hi mike. it's rhonda smiles. Well i love reading your travle journal. The Gps rocks. take care,
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