Thrills, Spills and Roast Potatoes.

Trip Start Jan 09, 2005
Trip End ??? ??, 2005

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Monday, March 21, 2005

Apparently, Volcanoes do not count as mountains, or so Gordon told me in order to get me climbing once again no fewer than five days after our last excursion.
This time, however, we went with a guide and after five fairly gruelling (for me anyway) hours we made it to the summit. Did I mention it was active? Oh yes, lava blowing out of the top and everything, a real once in a life time sight that IŽm really glad I put the effort in to see.
We spent about an hour at the top and saw 10-15 eruptions whie we were there, all the while breathing through jumpers or coats to try to stop the sulphur fues from clogging up our lungs.
I was quite scared at the thought of the descent as I knew we were to slide down on our bums, through the snow, and some of the drops had seemed fairly steep on our way up, but it turned out to be loads of fun and I was paddling away with my ice-pick by the end of it trying to make myself go faster!
Obviously not content with all that had happened to us of late we decided we needed yet more excitement and so went white water rafting. It was great fun... For about 5 minutes! Our guide rammed another dinghy, trying to flip it over and ended up flipping ours; and of course out of everyone in the boat it was Gordon and I who ended up underneath. Being trapped under rapidly moving water is pure and simply a living nightmare. I managed to pull myself out within a few seconds, only to then find myself floating off down stream with no way to control myself and was mightily grateful to the guy in the rescue kayak who grabbed me and dragged me coughing and spluttering back to the dinghy. Where I found Gordon, holding his knee in pain, as heŽd been trapped under the boat for about 8 seconds-according to our guide (12 seconds and youŽre in real trouble apparently...)-fighting against the current and had strained his knee trying to push the boat away from over him.
Our guide said that he owed us a beer for flipping the boat (his first tme this season he claimed) and we did not discourage him.
That night a very friendly local invited about 10 of us to a barbeque at his house, despite none of us being able to remember his name for any longer than 5 minutes; he seemed to like his nickname of ŽEl DuderinoŽanyway.
We also went to the hot springs a couple of times, the second time with our new buddies. We took a few bottles of rum and some coke, after which it seemed like a good idea to go in the mud baths...Wrong! Something similar to falling in a toilet, I imagine.
I did some horseriding, saw some beautiful countryside and watched another poor girl get kicked in the leg by a psycho horse, while Gordon hired a mountain bike and went on his own personal Easter pilgrimage to El Christo.
I managed to catch a mass taking place in the middle of the main road, with some poor fella dragging around a huge wooden cross and everything-interesting.
On Easter sunday six of us prepared a proper roast meal in our hostel, a feast our mothers would have been proud of, particularly mine I think seeing as I was on potato duty due to my knowledge of a secret ingredient for extra crunchiness...!
In fact, the best thing that happened in Pucon was the great people we met, spent time with and were loathe to leave behind, so to Sammo, Mick, Jess, Madeline, Mike and Pete, you guys are the coolest and weŽll see you along the road somewhere.
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