Saturday, November 28, 2009

Southern Chile...

Our Brazilian mate. Don´t think he had much luck with the fish..

Ramshackle boho town in Puerto Montt

Volcan Osorno


And so comes the end of our first week..
Since being in Santiago we have been in the South of Chile, where the volcanoes are huge and the weather miserable. There´s truthfully not much to say about Valdivia, the first place we went. According to Lonely Planet (bastards), its supposed to be a very interesting, arty university town. We didn´t see much evidence of this. However, we slept a lot of the time we were there, trying to get our pattern back in order. (We tried having an afternoon siesta, the done thing in Chile, just like Spain, but we ended up sleeping until 10 pm that night, then getting up and going out again - thus defeating the purpose of having a siesta.) The highlight of Valdivia were the sealions that just hung out in the harbour around the fish market. One maaaassive male sealion was like the compost bin for the market. I don´t think it was a happy animal. It was bizarre, to say the least. I think we watched them for about an hour...
Anyway, we fanged it out of Valdivia the next day, leaving behind a whole lot of important stuff including our LP guide. Ah well, such is travelling. After a day of jumping on and off buses we arrived in Ensanada in the pouring rain. We set up camp by Lago Llancique (a lake), to the shock of the locals (crazy gringas..), in the shadow of Volcan Orsono - a fuck-off-big snowcapped volcano, the top of which we couldn´t see until the sky finally cleared on the second day. Basically our time in Ensanada involved trekking, a boat trip and gasping everytime we saw the mountains around us.

Now we´re in Chiloe, an island off the coast of Chile, in Ancun - finally, a Chilean town that I can truly say I like (Can you tell I´m hanging out to get to Bolivia??). Its a town of political graffiti, much of it seems to be about Mapuche rights (Indigenous people of Chile), which is brilliant to see, and ramshackle houses that seem to defy gravity in the way they´re built up the hills. The people are very friendly here. It seems people who live on islands are always happy, like the sea around them is a buffer to the woes of the world.
Speaking of the sea, we are camped on a headland looking over the sea and the town. In the distance we could still see the mountains, I think you can see mountains almost anywhere you go in this country.We arrived at sunset, perfect timing, perfect colours, perfect weather, dreamy.
However, its not all dreamy. Grace and I are sitting here writing this as we nurse our seedy hangovers. Turns out there are pros and cons to free drinks all night...
To get to Chiloe, we stopped in Puerto Montt for a few hours, another seedy Chilean city. But we stumbled upon an old section of the city where the artesans and bohemian musicians were hanging out. They serenaded us and we spoke with them to the best of our ability in our broken Castillano (South American Spanish). We were invited to come work for our keep on an organic farm, but it proved to difficult to find our way and get there..

So, my impressions so far of Chile.. It is a fairly westernised country, very European in comparison to the rest of SA I believe, but this was to be expected, its widely known of both Argentina and Chile. Although, on Monday we will be picked up in Temuco and taken to an Indigenous community, something we organised through contacts before coming over, so this will be a good change I think. I´m not really sure what to expect, or what we will do there, ´we´ll just wait and see I suppose. In saying all this, I think what people come to Chile for is the landscape, rather than the culture. In this way, this country has gone above and beyond my expectations so far. I´ve only ever seen mountains like this in postcards, having never been to the snow. They rise up around you like ancient beings watching over you, with their heads in the sky. (I know this is a tacky metaphor, but thats how it felt to me)
Okay, I think this is all for now. We´ll put up photos later, haven´t got my cord, so yep..
Missing everyone back home already. Feels like so much more than a week.

1 comment:

  1. Ohh... ull love bolivia if you love the islands there. Lake titicaca is beautiful. Its sad to hear your dissapointment in Chile but seems your getting more out of it in the bits you dont expect.

    Love you and miss you much