Pucón-Living the Mapuche Life

Trip Start Jun 17, 2012
Trip End Jul 03, 2012

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Flag of Chile  , Araucanía,
Friday, June 22, 2012

    "This soil is inhabited by the stars. The water of imagination sings in this sky. Beyond the clouds that emerge from these waters and these soils our ancestors dream of us. Their spirit is the moon, they say. The silence, their heart that beats."
    Elicura Chihuailaf (Contemporary Mapuche Poet)

We spent last night in our hostel eating cheese, salami, crackers, and a frozen Chilean pizza. We passed the time chatting with our fellow travelers and playing cards. It started to rain during the evening and has not stopped yet. During the night it sounded like the roof of our hostel was going to fly off with the wind.  This morning, a group of workers came to fix it so hopefully tonight we will be able to rest a little better. 

Today, we walked around the town of Pucón.  We even tried visiting the casino this morning, but it was closed so we returned to the market where we bought our hats to look around. An Australian girl traveling with us bought a hat from our friend from yesterday, Ana Flores. 

Later in the afternoon, we ate lunch in the hostel with about half of our group before heading out to visit a local Mapuche village.  The Mapuche (mapu = earth, che = people)  are one of the most important groups of indigenous people in Chile and Argentina, and they have retained their beliefs, customs and identity in light of Spanish colonization.

We learned some of the typical customs of the tribe by touring a ruka (living quarters), playing their instruments, sampling food, and even dressing up in traditional clothing. We talked to Rosario, a native Mapuche, about the history of her people and their most important beliefs. Unfortunately, we were not able to play a typical game outside because of the rain. At the end of our visit, we sampled some bread and drinks made of wheat.  Before drinking from our glass, we were asked to give some back to Madre Tierra (Mother Earth) by sprinkling a small amount on the ground and giving thanks. This night reminded us of our experiences with Pachamama in the Amazon Jungle of Ecuador and our Peruvian homestay on an island in Lake Titicaca.

The weather is supposed to be pretty much the same tomorrow, but hopefully it willl clear up a bit by Sunday. Tomorrow, we are planning to go to the local volcanic hot springs.  If we have better weather, we may even do the trek around the volcano.   
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Denny and Sue on

You are having quite the experience!! Wild that you can meet with people who live so differently. They must have a high tolerance for the cold weather. It was odd to see everyone sitting at the table with coats on.

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