Before setting out for Chile, I knew this for sure: I have loved Pablo Neruda's poetry since I was a teenager. So, I board a micro 612 in Valparaiso to La Sebastiana, its four quirky floors overlooking the scenic Oceana Pacifico. Like a child in fairyland, I took in the ambience of poetic magic: the gilded figures and historic panels near the entrance, the famous wooden horse amidst the chaise lounges in his sitting room, the green goblets on a dining table set for one of his lauded dinners ~ and a door that made me laugh out loud. Marked Pedicure, it marked the restroom off the pink bar where Neruda tended to his guests' drinks. As a writer myself, I could barely tear myself away from his study, decorated with maps, Delft pottery and book-lined shelves. By evening, I was in love with Neruda and his Chile all over again. Sans doubt.
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