Cold Beach, Warm Memory
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.