What is Ovalle?

December 11, 2005
Day 74

Not knowing what the atmosphere around town would be like today, last night I stocked up on food and beverages, and prepared to sit in my hostel all day. It was election day today, and in order to allow everyone to vote, all businesses would be closed. There was a good chance that I'd have nothing to do all day.

For the first time since I got to La Serena, I was delighted to wake up to the screams of "Ovalle, Ovalle" over and over outside my window. My hostel was near the bus station, and all day long, employees would walk up and down the sidewalk shouting the name of the coveted destination to which their bus was heading. I had no idea where Ovalle was or what there was to do there, but it was good to know that at least the buses were still running today. Having nothing better to do, I hopped on a bus, hoping that Ovalle would be so good I'd be shouting its name all day, too.

Luckily, Ovalle was only about an hour away. For all I knew, it could've been ten. The first thing I noticed when I got off the bus was that the streets were almost empty. I guess they really take their elections seriously here. The next thing I noticed was that there were flowers everywhere. I'm not sure if a lot of botanists live in Ovalle, or if the city just needs to cover up the other plants that grew there, but wherever I turned, there seemed to be more flowers growing. The town was a nice, tranquil place, and after a few hours of walking around and taking in the scenery, I caught a bus back to La Serena.

There wasn't much else to do today. It seemed that the bus station was the only thing that was open on election day. Tonight, I ended up cooking the food I bought yesterday and chilling out in my room. Tomorrow I'm going to head out to Vicuna in the Elqui Valley. It's a prime location for space observatories and vineyards, so I should have plenty to do there.

The photo album for this entry is here.

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