Today we tried to experienced the local culture and set off on the local community bus across town. Now these buses are a little old and ratty, but the good thing is that they only cost 400 pesos ($0.80) per person. There are not a lot of defined bus stops so you just try to find a bus number going in your general direction and flag him down. And in the evening just hope you remember the bus route back.
Well the bus dropped us off at the by the fish market. You could smell you were approaching it before even setting foot in it. Didn't buy any thing, just looked at all the ugly fish and tried to remember their names in case we see them on the menus. The big attraction was outside of the fish market on the wharf. It looked so beautiful when we first laid eyes on it with the all the colourful boats in the water. Some fisherman were coming and going. The show stopper was the fisherman cleaning the fish near the water's edge. There were lots of pelicans lined up on the dock and on the roof of the nearby buildings just waiting for the leftover scraps. The pieces of fish that did make it to the water were quickly eaten by the sea lions. Now these were not the small little seals, some of them were definitely on the big and heavy side. But they did no how to put on a show swimming along the wharf's edge.
We later walked through the historical downtown section. There were nice parks with lots of colourful flowers blooming and historical buildings that had a European architecture to them. Continued on to the open markets, where they had about a dozen city blocks permanently blocked off to traffic. The streets were filled with local vendors and musicians. We did buy our quota of alpaca socks, mitts and sweaters.
Just before heading back we headed off to one last shopping center. Actually it was really just one really big grocery store with everything you could imagine. It makes a Walmart at home look like a corner store. Still can't get over it that they have Chilean wine in the stores (Gatro Negro and Gatro Blanco) at 669 pesos ($1.30).