National Geographic : 1973 Oct
all but roadless; the northern end virtually rainless. In between: lushness. Santiago, the capital, is home to at least a third of Chile's ten million people. Many cities are more beautiful, but few nestle against so magnificent a backdrop: the soar ing Andes just to the east, looming blue-gray tipped with white. Soon after arriving in Santiago, I hailed a taxi and headed for the home of Alfonso Go mez Pavez, a government engineer. A Chilean friend of mine in Washington, D. C., had writ ten Alfonso and asked him to show me the city. Looking back, it's hard to think of Al fonso as ever having been a stranger, for he became one of the most valued friends I've ever had. He was waiting at the door. "Welcome. My house is your house, Gordon." And surely he meant it, for immediately I was surrounded by his wife, six pretty daughters, and assorted relatives who had assembled to meet this norteamericanojournalist. "You must come Friday to my son's en gagement party," Alfonso demanded. "And let us drive over to meet my mother. And why must you stay in that hotel when we have room here?" Always my fondest memories of Chile will be of the Gomez family. That afternoon was filled with laughter.