Sad, but not tragic. A forced opportunity. Maybe even a fortunate adaptation…fuck it. Let's make taco salad.

Santa Cruz

After picking up my friend Becca in Santiago after a 6-month teaching stint in Cusco, it’s time to drink some wine and chill out.  We head first for Santa Cruz (~35,000 people, ~550 feet), the central city in the largest wine-producing region of Chile.  It seems like Becca is the first of several who are bailing out on The Cusco Syndrome in the next few weeks and will be joining me on the road.  The more the merrier!

It is immediately clear that Santa Cruz is not the tourist destination we were expecting.  Good little capitalist that I am, my first thought is, “Why aren’t these idiots exploiting their wine country for profit?”  Maybe this is the place to buy some property and open a gringo-oriented B&B/winery?  If this is not Napa/Tuscany/Mendoza yet, it certainly will be.  The Capitalismo will come for you, Santa Cruz, whether you want it or not.

Our hostel seemed a bit “new agey,” but it was the only one I could find on The Internets.  I did dig the fresh juice made from on-property organic fruit three times a day and the wood-fired hot tub, but I passed on the tarot reading and aura analysis session.


Since there were no wine tours to be had, we settled for buying 3 bottles along with some fresh fruit and cheese and just getting drunk at the hostel.  Not a bad way to spend the afternoon.  After Becca crashed, I went out back and jumped in the hot tub with the owner’s son Gabriel and his two buddies and we had a few hours of rum, sweet Españolish, and a lot of laughs.  And a midnight run to the convenience store for more rum, wine, and smokes, of course.

We spent 24 hours here and never saw another gringo face.  Not one.  Which was actually pretty damn cool.  The locals were genuinely happy to see us there.  If not for the lack of anything to actually “do” in Santa Cruz, it would be a place worth sticking around for a few days.  It’s a very “cute,” if sleepy, town with lots of palm trees, fruit trees and quaint residential areas.  Very “nice,” so to speak…good place to raise kids, if you’re into that sort of thing.

(Someone is currently playing “You Give Love a Bad Name” on their cell phone while we are bussing to Pichilemu.  Bad fucking ass!!!  They do dig The Bon Jovi on this continent…)

The Becca is two days removed from The Cusco Syndrome and is very much on the mend.  Time for the sleepy beach town I’ve been meaning to find for several weeks now and get in some serious laziness. (Mom says I need to quit hiking around the mountains and let The Foot heal.  I will obey…for once.)



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