I've always had the idea that the beach was a summer place, deserted in winter - but in Viña it has a life of it's own in winter. Complete with a boatload of characters.....
- swimmers: yes that's right, people actually swim in this weather! Today I saw a young man in his blue underwear, wet from the water - walking all around. A girl in her bikini, enjoying the water and teenagers with their pants rolled up, letting the waves lap at their feet.
- vendors: their booths set up, or just a sheet on the ground.... Selling handicrafts, food, and more. They range from old to young, they are male and female, friendly and gruff..... Some sit there and make more of their products.... But today most were listening to their radios: Copa America in Argentina.
- couples: the beach is a paradise for couples to cuddle up to each other...
- friends and family: Eating, laughing, playing....taking photos - enjoying the beach. Some flying kites...
- the sand artist: always there, sculpting in the sand. Today he was working on an alligator (or maybe a crocodile)
- solitary folk: people such as myself, sitting enjoying the view, the feel of the sun....watching the waves, reading a book, napping
- the dogs: like Santiago, Viña has a ton of strays as well. They enjoy running and playing on the beach and resting in the sun.
A lovely day at the beach....
Just behind the beach is a grassy area where students play soccer and parents buy a pony ride for their young kids. Typically the kid is put up on the pony (small horse - slightly bigger than a pony really) and is walked around for a ride.
I don't know what exactly happened, I was sitting on the bench, engrossed in a book when I heard screaming. I turned to look and saw one of those aforementioned ponies running wild. Had it been spooked? Where was the man who typically leads it around? A young boy was on it's back. He was about 4 or 5 years old and terrified. As the pony ran wildly, he couldn't hang on, and he fell off. The horse kept running. People watched, stunned for a moment, then ran to the boy. A man flying a kite let his kite go and ran to help. Others tried to catch the horse - it ran and ran, towards the road. The boy lay on the ground, not moving, not crying. The boys Mother began to scream in terror and ran to her son. At this point the boy began to scream and cry out. He was moved to the grass. The horse continued running, at first I thought it was going to run right into the high trafficked road, but it knew better and turned away. He turned and ran towards a group of people, who jumped in a panic out of the way, but the horse veered right and ran on. He ran a distance, out of sight.
First aid was being administered to the boy who luckily lived through the ordeal with nothing more than bruises and scratches (gaining perhaps a fear of horses?) and was picked up and comforted by his mother, who herself needed comforting. In the distance I saw the horse was captured and tied up to a tree.
After a few minutes, people went back to doing what they had been doing before, the man with the kite went to look for his kite, and to my utter disbelief a man comes by walking a pony (not the same one) with a little girl on its back.... Life has returned to normal on the beach.
The afternoon ended and the sun set, another spectacular sunset in Viña.
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Location:San Martín,Viña del Mar,Chile