Santiago, Chile, December 18, 2017

My first stop today was at the Canadian Embassy.  It's in the World Trade Centre, a skyscraper of steel and glass.  I was the first in line and after hearing about my options, decided that the temporary passport wouldn't work because it's only 4 pages and now I more or less have 4 pages left so my only option was to order a new passport, keep my old one until Buenos Aires where my new one will be waiting, then exchange old for new.  My only concern is that my Brazil and Paraguay visas as well as my Argentinian reciprocity fee/tax grab will still be good.  I found out on the Internet that Brazil should be okay but can't find anything about Paraguay.  Who has even heard about Paraguay I say?  I spent over $150 US getting that damn visa and we're only going to be there 5 days. The whole passport business is such a rip off.  We can get a 5 or 10 year passport with THE SAME NUMBER OF PAGES!!! And a lot of countries allow a person to have 2 passports - not us!  So, my new passport will be shipped, after 20 working days - come on, even a government office can work faster than that!  Luckily today until January 17 when I arrived in B.A. is 20 magical days.  At that time I'll have to turn in my old passport to have the corner clipped which means it will no longer be any good and then I'll get my new passport.  And, I had to sign my life away and pay $45 to keep my passport for a month!  Whatever.  I'm not beating myself up because I know I should have gotten a new passport this past May - let it go.  It probably cost me an extra hundred dollars and I'm not sure about my visas.  Oh well, let's wait and see what happens.

A cake shop along the way: a black tuxedo, cheese and a mouse, Santa in a jacuzzi and Feliz Navidad-

This afternoon, Richard and I went to the Concha y Toro Winery.  It was such an awesome opportunity because that's the Chilean wine I drink at home-

We had to sample some before our tour started-

The "family' started the winery in 1883 and built this lovely house where they lived until just recently.   The house is over 4000 square feet and is now used for offices-

Not sure what kind of tree this is but the blossoms were gorgeous-

The company ships wine to 114 different countries and has 11,000 acres of vines in Chile, Argentina and the U.S.-

They grow many varieties-

Our guide told us an interesting story about Carmenere.  It's a grape from France but in 1994, a person who could identify vines visited Concha y Toro and told them they had a strange grape growing amongst the usual vines.  They discovered it was Carmenere and ever since then, have been producing that wine!

We had the opportunity to taste 3 wines-

The first was Sauvignon Blanc - a white wine that gets the saliva flowing.  White wine is made from the juice only - no skins and no seeds.  The newer the white wine, the better - just the opposite for reds.  Our second was a Carmenere - lots of tannins that made my tongue do backflips but it was still smooth.  The third was Cabernet Sauvignon - an expensive one that I wouldn't pay a nickel for.  And that's the thing - it doesn't matter how much a wine costs, it's how it tastes- to you.  Another interesting thing is that at Lider, we pay 3790 for a bottle of Merlot or Cab/Sauv but at the winery itself, it was 4200!  Funny,  We got a free wine glass for attending the tour too so hopefully I won't break it on the way home.

The humidity and temperature are controlled in the keg room.  Oak kegs are bought from the US and France.  French oak is very expensive so the very best wines start here.  There are about 300 bottles in one keg-

In the original cellar, the depth controls the temperature and the humidity.  This is where we listened to a legend about the theft of wine back in the 1800s and the involvement of the devil, hence the name-

In the private cellar of the family are over 25,000 bottles of the best of the best-

It was a great tour and I'm really glad I went.  Coming back I spied this drink in a tienda.  I'll have to try it-

Tomorrow we have a 6 am start for Pucon.  It's going to be a long drive!

Pauwel  Adams is from Belgium and 26 years old.  He has a degree in finance thanks to a scholarship from the University of Boston.  He went on to study at Peking University and got his Masters.  He played professional basketball in Shenzhen for 2 years.  He decided to take a break from work to do this overland.  He loves to travel and plans to do a lot more of it, maybe in Africa-


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