Making our move over and down Chile

Trip Start Dec 07, 2005
Trip End Apr 10, 2007

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Sunday, January 22, 2006

here is a quick update on us in Santiago Chile:

we are about to make moves--we're heading to Valparaiso (just northwest of the city, famous for its beaches and one of neruda┤s houses and hillside elevators) this week and then this Wednesday, we are heading south to Futaleuf˙ for a 12 day hiking expedition along the Futaleuf˙ river with Daniela's cousin Cathy, her boyfriend Miguel, and his cousin. to any concerned parties: Daniela's cousin Cathy has worked as a guide with her father's rafting business and has spent many summers on these trails. so we┤ll be in good hands.

we┤ll be staying at different camps built by Daniela's uncle--who runs a white-water rafting expedition company on the river--during our trip. one of the camps is comprised completely of large tree houses. you can check out where we┤ll be hiking at the company website: (we┤re not doing the white-water rafting part, but following trails along the river).  if you need to get in touch with us (while we┤re in Santiago--which is until Wednesday night), you can call Daniela's parents and they can give you contact info.

if you need to get in touch with us after Wednesday (while we┤re hiking) until the 10th of February, call Daniela's parents and they can figure out how to get us on the phone. but this should only be for emergencies, because Daniela's parents would have to call Daniela's aunt in Santiago, who would in turn have to contact people along the trails who would in turn have to find us somewhere along the trail.

then it's on to Argentina...

we are doing well and enjoying our visit with Daniela's family. we've visited one of Pablo neruda┤s houses (his eclectic, boat-themed, pop-art soaked pad in Santiago is largely bookless because of the ransacking it received from the army during the coup preceeding pinochet┤s assumption of power. how's that for some passive voice?) last week. the house was great, and the guide was well-informed and perceptive--he identified Daniela as a mexicana after only three words (we think it's the ĘchavitaĘ that did it). the only thing he could not explain was why the house looked so much like it belonged to one Nydia Currie-Gutierrez. we suspect that mr. neruda┤s eccentric taste was reincarnated and is living in Portland, Maine. with a pet rat.

we've even taken a couple of salsa lessons...last night (second lesson) we had to switch partners and dance with an advanced student and i stepped ALL over this girl's feet. the gringos aren't making many Chilean friends through the international language of dance. but Daniela and I are learning the steps together pretty well.

among some of the other things we┤ve done in the past week are: road testing some massage beds they┤re trying to sell in Santiago, going to a cookout at a friend of cathy┤s house, and cooking lunch one day.

As a promotion and in an attempt to sell the massage beds (which are supposed to heal a large range of maladies), the company that sells the beds offers 40 minutes of free seat time downtown. On top of that, there is no limit to how many times one person can come for 40 minute sessions. The beds are supposed to mimic hot stone massages, chiropractic massages, and acupuncture techniques, and some other technical terms that were lost in translation. To me, it felt very much like lying on a bed of hot stones while a chiropractor dug into my back. Daniela enjoyed it very much, finding it very relaxing. The massages seem to be popular, and lots of people claim to be cured and show up for regular sessions.

We also tried our hand(s) at making dough this week. It was semi-successful. Luckily, we made two different batches, because one didn┤t rise at all. The other didn┤t rise much, either, but it tasted ok. We made calzones for lunch (the big meal of the day in Latin America). Some were filled with spinach and cheese, and some also had ham. Overall, it was a success-everyone ate at least one and no one got sick.

We wanted to visit and tour a vineyard, but we shopped around and found the prices to be steep so we┤re putting that off for now. We may get a better shot in argentina. In lieu of a tour of a vineyard, we bought a one liter box of Chilean cabernet/merlot for about $1.60 or so. There┤s a lot of cheap local wine here, and the box we bought was a tremendous wine for the price. I┤d buy it again.
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