The litoral central is what we call the central coast of Chile. If you speak Spanish, there's nothing funny about it. But if you speak English, it sounds a little like literally, the most central place. Which maybe isn't funny, but it does show that no matter how long I spend speaking Spanish, English is never far away.
This little caseta (house/booth) is where our wander around a little wetlands began. It was staffed by a man whose main job seemed to be giving out pamphlets and sitting in the house. He also watched our bikes, which was pretty sweet, since I no longer have a lock since the great lost key debacle of late 2009 (you know I always name these events, don't look away, it's who I am).
I supppose our first glimpse of the place was actually this sign, which to be honest, between the hand lettering, the crack and the layer of something (what is that? dirt? mold? dust?) didn't lend generate great expectations on my part.
And the fact that we could see houses across the way made the place maybe a little less, oh, I don't know, natural-feeling than I might have hoped.
But sometimes you just have to adjust your gaze a little, and take a better look of what's right in front of you, instead of what's farther afield.
Like lupins (lupino)
and ice plant (doca)
and this pretty plant, that no one knew the name of (got any answers?)
or huingan, this pretty berried plant we'd seen in the pre-cordillera the weekend before. Sonia, who tastes berries to deem them edible or not, deemed this one inedible. Sonia is audacious, and from the south. Don't try this at home.
Oh! and the birds. There were many, but these are not my forté. There were ducks that were reddish, and blacknecked swans, a heron, a small bird called siete colores and a bunch of other winged creatures (including dragonflies).
or here, where I've black and whited the photo and made maybe what looks like a colorblind impressionist's version of a heron flying over a marsh.
blacknecked swan (cisne de cuello negro
And speaking of looking at what's right before you, for goodness sake, walk softly and carry a big camera. Or you might miss the female lagarto llorón. With identification props and thanks to Manuel Jara a Chilean biologist whose website is a good source of info (and pictures) on Chilean fauna. I didn't see this lizard on his blog, so I emailed him and asked, and he provided a very complete, swift response. And all was well in herpetology.
And if you can't take time to look at what's right under your nose, you can always contemplate the road that lies before you.
Details: Laguna El Peral, Las Cruces, Chile.
I'm not concealing info from you, that's pretty much the only address the place has. Las Cruces isn't big, you won't get lost. It's before the entrance to the beach part of the town headed away from Santiago and after if you're headed back to Santiago.