The string bean country

Trip Start Nov 28, 2005
Trip End Jan 20, 2006

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Flag of Chile  ,
Sunday, December 18, 2005

Took a six hour bus ride to Chile today. Now six hours in a bus seems like a blink of an eye. Most of our time is spent on busses and our last bus was close approaching 20 hours. Most of the Chile - Argentina border is mountains and mountains it was. Really quite amazing. Stopped at two different border crossings, got searched, had to change currencies and apparently Chile is quite a bit more expensive than Argentina.

Valdivia is a town where the confluence of three rivers meets and forms and island (where the town is located) and emerge into the Pacific Ocean. We have so far seen the Atlantic coast South America (Buenos Aires) and the Pacific side, as of tomorrow, when we take a boat ride through the rivers and towards the ocean. When we arrived in the town of Valdivia, people were assaulting us to stay at certain hotels. The least you can do is politely say no and wait for them to bug off, but one in particular followed us for a few blocks before we lost him. The street we walked down was quite run down and our guide books had said that Valdivia is the most attractive city in Chile. So we started to wonder if we really wanted to see any more of Chile.

As it turns out, the rest of the town is quite nice and the people seem to be friendlier than at the bus station. Although the prices around town are about twice or even a little more than a similar town in Argentina.

I think the best surprise so far has been walking down to the fish market by the side of the river and to our utter surprise, sea lions everywhere. These guys are astonishingly huge and scratch themselves not unlike perros. Making all kind of foul grunt, burp and growling noise you can imagine, they bask on the concrete piers. A couple of locals (i think) said that in the morning, they come up onto the street while the fisherman give them gutting scrap and apparently some are friendly with the sea lions, giving them hugs. I personally would not dare such a show of compassion with a beast of that size. Sophia and I are definitely going to see them in the morning. And yes, we do have pictures of the beasts. Ciao
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