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I mentioned that last night we were invited to attend an end of year demonstration of Flamenco dancing by the school where Florencia and her sister have been active for some 30 years. It was the first time that this end of year party was held out of Santiago and the organisers did not really know what to expect in terms of numbers. They were very pleasantly surprised that over three hundred tickets had been sold.

We were treated to two hours of fine performances by the ladies only flamenco school. The whole evening was recorded for a DVD, but just in case, I made my own video recording. As my camcorder has a limited battery life, I could only record the bits that Flo took part in.

It was quite an eye opener for me, nothing like the tourist presentations I had seen on family holidays in Mallorca, or near Barcelona. These dances went back to the origins of Flamenco dancing and I thought I could recognise a lot of Indian and Middle East influences, which were later confirmed by Flo.

Although still only 11:00 a.m. the Cactus Explorers were dead on our feet and ready for bed. All except Juan and Flo, that is.

This morning we woke up for a 9 a.m. breakfast and he and Flo only just returned from the party which had gone on all night. Oh to be young!

As a result we had a relaxing day, excellent BBQ with Victor and other members of the family and then ready for a visit to the Concha y Toro wineries. (S2070) This was my third visit and I noticed that the cellars were not as full as they seemed previously. Our guide confirmed that although last January’s earthquake had only done some superficial damage to the cellars, it had been strong enough to cause the barrels that in places were stacked five high, to start moving. As one broke, others followed so that the morning after workers were ankle-deep in wine.

I had noticed that during the UK summer of 2010, supplies of Chilean wine in the UK seemed to have halted for a while. This was the reason why.

S2070a was a brief stop on a scenic drive into the Andean foothills. During a scenic stop along the Maipu river, Juan and Flo had spotted some cacti – Echinopsis (Trichocereus) chiloensis – and could not resist a quick look at closer quarters. The European cactus explorers were wearing the wrong shoes, had brought the wrong camera and were generally in the wrong mood for a stop into the hills. I followed to the Tricho stand where Flo had soon found some Eriosyce curvispina to make the exercise worthwhile.

Back home we managed Spag Bol and a beer before crashing out. Not a typical day, but still a great day.

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