Red Bougainvillea, Bougainvillea glabra

St Marys, Georgia

Elqui Valley, Chile

This bougainvillea adorned balcony in Santiago’s Barrio Bellavista rests around the corner from “La Chascona,” Pablo Neruda’s home named for his lover and third wife, Matilde Urrutia.  The name means “the uncombed.”

Street art surrounds the curious homes in one of Santiago’s most bohemian enclaves.


In the center of Santiago, some college kids spent an afternoon of their winter break giving away free hugs, or “abrazos gratis.”  In stark contrast to the youthful positivity, the man standing next to his bike was prosthelytizing about brimstone and hellfire, and the second coming of Jesus.

At times it was safer to pull out a handheld recorder, than a bulky camera that could easily get snatched.  Listen to a stroll through the heart of Santiago:


Later, we came across a blind couple and their young daughter singing for change.  The girl sat on the ground between her mother’s legs.  Listen below:

Excerpt from Neruda’s Ode to a Violin in California

Ode to a Violin in California

by Pablo Neruda

…That hungry man’s violin

was like family to me,

like kin,

and not just because of its sound,

not just because it raised

its howling

to the angry stars,

no:  because it had grown up


how to befriend lost souls

and sing songs to wandering strangers.