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November 16, 2004

Relaxing on Chiloe

I just got back from two days on the island of Chiloe, south of Puerto Montt (I'm back in Puerto Varas, which is just north of Puerto Montt). It was really pretty there, and really interesting. I ate an enormous bowl of seafood and meat and potatoes called curanto--I took a picture of it, which will be up in a few days probably. It was a little weird, having ham and sausage and chicken mixed in with the shellfish, and it really was too much for one person, but I'm glad I tried it.

The towns were really picturesque--it actually reminded me a lot of New England, and made me think of summers on the Cape with my grandparents and of the town where my friends Rich and Annie live. But the buildings are all really colorful, and a bunch are built on stilts out over the water. Even the churches are painted--I saw one that was yellow and purple, and another that was bright yellow and bright blue!

But that's about the extent of the brightness I saw, because it rained almost the whole time I was there. I did get to stay in a cool little town called Chonchi, in a place right on the water, but there wasn't a long enough stretch of dry weather for me to venture too far. I had grand plans of renting a bike and taking a ferry to a nearby island to explore, but I just couldn't bring myself to spend another day soaking wet on a bike! I think not having other people to convince me this time made a difference.

I also didn't have anything to read, since I just finished Innocents Abroad a few days ago and haven't picked up anything else. There's a book exchange at my hostel here in Puerto Varas, and I'm just going have to suck it up and pick something out, even if it looks terrible! I hate not having anything to read except guidebooks. But I did get a lot of writing done!

Yesterday after lunch, during which I treated myself to the wine left behind by an Australian couple I'd met the night before, I sat under the gazebo in the wind and rain for 2 hours, watching the tide come in, the seagulls and other birds fly around, the boats load and unload... and hoping to see some sea lions and dolphins, but they didn't come by that day. While on the ferry back to the mainland today, though, I did see some sea lions cavorting in the water, and I think the one picture I tried to take of them turned out to be of only the water.

So I didn't see much of the island, unfortunately, but tried to just appreciate it as a day to relax. Finally, the weather is looking much better--it's beautiful and sunny today, and I was able to see the huge volcano, Osorno, just on the other side of the lake. As I was coming in on the bus, I thought I saw the edge of it through the clouds, and I had to rub my eyes because it looked so unreal. But as the clouds cleared, it was very clear there was a huge, stunning, snow-covered volcano out there! Its sudden appearance was as impressive as that of the Villarrica Volcano, but I think this one's setting is more dramatic because of the lake. Oh, the lake is called Lago Llanquihue.

The best part about the improving weather is that I've booked a trip tomorrow that would be miserable in the rain, from Puerto Varas to Bariloche, Argentina across several lakes. I think I mentioned this before--it's pricey, but supposed to be phenomenally beautiful and I'm really looking forward to it. The lakes we cross are Lago Todos Los Santos, stop in Peulla for lunch, Lago Frias, and then perhaps on or next to Lago Nahuel Huapi, on the edge of which Bariloche is situated.

Things are totally up in the air right now about the tour down south from Bariloche, so I'm not sure if I'm doing that or not. I'll have to spend a little time in Bariloche sorting all of that out, unfortunately. But I'm determined to get all the way down to Ushuaia, and to relax and enjoy myself in the meantime! I don't know why I'm having a hard time with all of the unknowns right now, but lots of things depend on other things--can't figure out what I'm doing in Torres del Paine park in Chile, for example, until I know whether I'm taking the tour in Argentina--and there's definitely a lot unsettled at the moment. I'm sure it'll all work out in the end.

Posted by Amy on November 16, 2004 12:36 PM
Category: Chile

Seems you are getting there just ahead of me! I'm in Puerto Varas at the moment and will be going to Chiloe tomorrow. I'm on an organised group thing because I am also pushed for time so I thought that would save me some, but I find it does cut me off from the Chileans, whereas before I got to talk to them... But I guess that's my compromise... Beautiful clear views of Volcán Osorno today!

Posted by: Nathalie on November 17, 2004 02:18 PM

Yay! I feel like a celebrity now that I've been mentioned in your blog. Hope you aren't letting the details stress you out too much. You are doing and seeing such incredible things!

- Annie

Posted by: Annie on November 22, 2004 10:11 AM
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