We’d already become acquainted with the sea lions of Valdivia on our first night in town. But even that experience could not prepare us for what we would see at the fish market.
From a distance you hardly notice its inconspicuous structure on the riverbank. But as you get closer, you hear it.
The din of pelicans, cormorants, vultures, seagulls, hawks, sea lions, not to mention the shouting of vendors as they hauled, gutted and cut their produce was quite something.
Wings flapped through the air whilst webbed and clawed feet grappled for balance in the spot most likely to allow a quick swoop down to catch the innards being thrown into the water.
Huge, blubbery bodies lumbered up on to the docking areas, or skimmed gracefully through the water, back and forth, in anticipation of a chunky fish head or other unwanted scrap.
Knifes filleted, descaled and cleaned; huge shellfish were piled high, weighed and thrown into shopping bags; colorful home-made liqueurs and oils sat in reused bottles; cheeses, fruit and bundles of seaweed towered in piles.
A misty rain drizzled down and all the while people kept coming; to buy, to chat, to photograph…to eat.