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When Kate invited me to go to the races in Viña, I thought many things. I thought, no, work! and then I thought no work! And in the end, I decided to go because who else is going to make me get up and out of the city and go see horses run around a track and people lose their hard-earned money on them.

Kate was staying in Valparaíso somewhere, but I convinced her to come and meet me at the bus station, and after a wholly delicious and crispy fresh vegetarian lunch at the restaurant called Tropical which seems to have no website (silly rabbits, I’d give you free publicity!), and then a coffee at Samoeido where I snuck this pic of Kate while she was snapping me.


We (she, I am sense-of-direction-free) then navigated over the Club Sporting, which is on the other side of the Marga Marga, which at least one tourbook calls “a stagnant, stinking lagoon” that runs through Viña. I take umbrage with this, since in parts, it does not even run anywhere, and also, is completely dry, so dry so that there’s a giant fería in it, and hey, that’s not fair, the ferias in Viña run until nighttime! In Santiago you snooze and you lose with the veggies.

And then we went in through what is not the official entrance of the place, but where employees and the like wander through, and thank goodness we did, because got to see the spraying tanker truck filling up with its characteristic bra and undies flag above. Didn’t know? Me neither.


And we wandered around and placed a bet or two with the kid with braces who didn’t seem even old enough to bet himself.


And we were a giant spectacle, the gringas (women, even!) with their English, and their skirts and their mega cams. But then the horses started running and everyone forgot all about us, as they should.


And the flags flapped.


And we studied the racing forms carefully.


And made merciless fun of the strange English-esque names, but not of the horses, nor the jockeys, because look (and horsehats with earsleeves, who knew?):


and someone who was as lucky as I was did a little origami with his losing chit.


And then we ambled back, and I got back on the bus, having worked not a whit, (which I am paying for today) and Kate went on her way, up to La Serena, and later to Copiapó, where she will hopefully join the media circus re: miners, about which I am simultaneously a little jealous and not at all jealous.

But hey, horses. uyyyy, bad joke.