Cold Beach, Warm Memory

valparaiso chile by carlos varela on flickr

Valparaiso, Chile

This essay is part of the series: Pa’ la Playa: Beach Week on the Tiki Tiki.

By Helena Osorio

We are caribeños, we love the sun, the salty smell of sea, and the warm weathers of Venezuela and Puerto Rico where Mami and Papi come from respectively. I would love to say this means my parents were beach addicts and my childhood is filled with beach memories, but I would be letting my imagination run wild.

When we lived in Venezuela going to the beach meant driving down to La Guaira, which we rarely did and we did we ended up going to a hotel’s pool. When we visited Puerto Rico I honestly don’t remember the beach being a priority.

My best family memory of the beach is not from a Caribbean beach but from a gray sky, dark sand, wintery day in the Pacific Ocean.

In August 1986 we moved from Dominican Republic to Chile. I was only 11 and it was the first time my family experienced winter!

Road trips were one of my Dad’s favorite family activities and one cold Sunday during the middle of our first winter in Chile he decided we would drive to Valparaiso – we were all very excited about going to the beach and getting a little warm weather.

I remember putting on my favorite purple shorts and a big smile, after all the beach meant hot weather, sunny skies, clear sands and warm waters.

The drive from Santiago to Viña is a blur but seeing an older woman walk down the street in a fur coat is a vivid memory. It made no sense. Why was every one wearing coats and sweaters at the beach? Now I know that the average temperature during winter in Valparaiso is around 50°F.

We started laughing and joking when we realized our mistake. We only got out of the car to buy lunch, walking around or getting in the water was absolutely out of the question. ¡Ay mi madre! ¡Que frio!

After a quick lunch we immediately drove back to our coats and heater in Santiago.

Helena Osorio lives in warm and sunny Miami with her husband and son. She shares her love for writing and story telling on her blog PinkGuayoyo. You can follow her on Twitter @pinkguayoyo.

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By Contributor on July 10, 2012 · Posted in the habla habla

8 Comments | Post Comment

Rachel says:

Que cosa! The beach is beautiful in both hot or cold weather. :-)

Posted on July 10th, 2012

Bren @ Flanboyant Eats™ says:

beach in the winter?! Love it! Nothing like it! LOL. Glad you got warm back in Santiago! I’ve never done beach in cold weather. Other than being near one, but surely not purposely to enjoy the agua. Brave souls you were.

Posted on July 10th, 2012

Ruby says:

How cool I think the same happened to me when i went to the east coast. I didn’t understand why there were people in sneakers walking in the sand and why their were paths… it turns out summer on the east coast makes the sand so unbearable to walk in This was def. a new for my west-coast self. Thanks for sharing amiga and reminding me of my beach memories.

Posted on July 10th, 2012

Maria Amelia says:

The truth is the beach is beautiful in every season. The water may not be so inviting when it´s cold out, but the sea is always amazing to, er, see. See?

Posted on July 10th, 2012

Comiendo en LA says:

Afortunadamente en CA podemos disfrutar del maravilloso clima a lo largo del año y la playa siempre es una opción. No vivo muy cerca del mar, pero cada vez que tengo la oportunidad visito una de las playas porque es maravilloso el sentimiento al estar cerca del océano!

Posted on July 10th, 2012

Viane says:

I miss the beaches I went to as a kid in Dominican Republic. I’m an ocean lover, and sadly, the cold California waters just don’t do it for me :-/

Posted on July 10th, 2012

Viviana Hurtado/The Wise Latina Club says:

Funny and fantastic! Like you somos caribeños and I always think of a beach as tropical. Then my parents immigrated to San Francisco where I was born. Let’s just say that the ladies aren’t wearing fur coats (it’s SF after all) but their Patagonia fleeces!
Viviana Hurtado/The Wise Latina Club´s last [fabulousness] ..Open Letter to Ann Romney

Posted on July 15th, 2012

Ana L. Flores says:

Jajaja! I can totally relate because I grew up in El Salvador where the Pacific Ocean is boiling hot. You can’t even dare walk barefoot in the sand most of the day.

After that I’ve lived in Miami going to the beach almost every weekend. Then a year in Playa del Carmen, near Cancun. So when I moved to LA and dipped my feet in the water I couldn’t believe I wasn’t going to be able to get in! It’s just never warm enough for me, but my girl doesn’t know better and loves it!
Ana L. Flores´s last [fabulousness] ..When Parenting Gets Tough

Posted on July 17th, 2012