We decided to stay in Chiloe an extra day so we could check out one of the rural festivals happening this weekend. So, today around 11 we boarded a boat across the bay to the peninsula where the village of Yutuy is located. The weather was raining but the cloud cover seemed thin and the rain, a tolerable drizzle. From the boat we saw dolphins leaping in the waves.
The boat landing was on a rocky beach. There was a tiny water mill used for grinding grain, which ran powered by water from a stream.
Water Mill in action
A short path led to a church and grassy are surrounded by little wood booths where people were busy preparing food: empanadas, kebabs, hunks of roasted meat, sopapillas and other local specialties. The women were rolling out dough for the empanadas.
The men were out back deep frying sopapillas and other foods in big cauldrons as well as roasting the meat over open fires.
Since the food wasn't quite ready (and we had just eaten breakfast), we took a walk to the town mirador which provided views of the rolling hills and fields that made up the town, as well as Castro across the bay.
We were about to enjoy a walk on the beach when the evil giant flies caused us to flee back inland.
Back at the fair, we ordered a plate of asado (roasted meat) with potatoes and salad to share. As we finished we noticed a commotion over by a huge pile of steaming sod pieces. Men were pulling off the sod revealing a fabric cover. This was removed to reveal a steaming pile of large leaves which in turn were pulled off to reveal plastic wrapped parcels that looked like some kind of tamales. Then more leaves came off and shellfish, hunks of meat, beans, peas, potatoes, and sausages appeared. The food was scurried into a wooden booth where women quickly divided portions onto plates. We joined the mob waiting in line to get a plate, relieved that we had split the previous plate of asado between us instead of getting two.
It was good (though a bit heavy), a Chilean version of Pachamanca. The dish was called curanto al hoyo and is the signature dish of the Chiloe region. I'm beginning to think you can't go wrong with these social party dishes cooked in holes in the ground.
After eating we had some time to relax and people watch. I believe a lot of people were tourists but from other parts of Chile or other Spanish speaking countries. However, there were a lot of locals, too. There was the usual drunken unruliness to be expected at these kind of things. But there were also children delighting in balloons, bubbles and water pistols. Balloons are such simple things but it is neat how delighted children are by them and how distressed they are when they pop.
There was music and dance provided by a local group including 6 children performing dances. The music was mostly waltzes and polkas. One song was about the church in Yutuy and I think the other songs all dealt with local life and traditions. In one, the singer, a boy who also was one of the dancers, saluted the fishermen, navigators, woodsmen and women of Chiloe.
Yutuy Dance group
The entertainment turned a bit risque when a drunk guy with the scary fashion victim combination of off the butt pants but without the boxers, decided to dance.
We went back down to the beach after the music finished, stopping by the water mill, sampling chicha manzana (which is a salty bitter apple cider) and getting a demo of the water mill in action.
The boat ride back was pleasant and we chatted a bit with one of the guys driving the boat. He informed us that the dreaded giant flies did in fact bite. Rowshan discussed soccer with him. It is funny how it seems some of the most pleasant moments of our travels occur in small towns even though we both are city people. Perhaps the forced relaxation is a welcome break.