Shit, shit,shit your pants, gently down the stream
Trip Start Jun 13, 2012
115Trip End Jun 14, 2013
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A 10 KM south-west drive on a bus which awaited us on the chilean side, and we arrived at the little "Kibbutz" of Futaleufu. A 1000 people cute tiny town structured in grids, and made up of only wooden houses bulky like it was the 18th century, with a charming plaza in the middle concentrating basically ALL the important facilities humans are in need of in the 21st century. A bank, and a tourist information desk.
The bus dropped us off at a hostel. Apparently the bus works for the hostel (Great business idea), and right away some teenager came up and said; "Achi, Rafting?" it was a reminder that I have arrived to the second best river for rafting in the world, second only to the mighty Zambizi in southern Africa. I noted the option, but had others things to do. As we headed towards the information centre we realized money was going to be a great issue here, not only becuase it is expensive but mainly because the only bank in town doesn't expept Visa, and Vsa was the only card we all had. "Mierd" Tonio said when Daniella from the tourist infomation desk explained that the next place with a bank that accepts visa would be 350 KM south. For an hour we all sat in the plaza trying to figure our plan. I had cash but only Argentinean Pesos, they had neither, and were in much more trouble. "Why did no one inform us of this in Argentina?" Funny asked
So peaceful at the riverbed, it was so peaceful that we all fell asleep under the warm sun. My ants in my pants woke me up and I informed the charming couple I was off to explore. "I am not sure when I shal return, but I shall return with food" I told them in Spanish, seeing that was the language we all comunicated in. I headed up towards the "La Vandera" a hill overlooking the town just a 45 minute hike. Prefect I told Daniella, "Nos vemos en un rato". And I was off. The view from above was beautiful. I could see the structure of the little town, and how much it resembled a Kibbutz back home. People walking around with trolies filled with kids, an odd tourist wondering around the many identical houses in search of a rafting company, actualy that was me the next day, but I am pretty sure I did see someone. Surronuding the town were two tall mountains with snow on top, and a blue wide river cruising alongside the town heading south
The next morning they left back to Argentina, we planned to meet up in El Chalten my ending point of the Caretera Austral through Chile, and they were going to hitch rides its equivelnt, Argentinean route 40. Sad, but also happy. Happy to be alone again, and to be able to adventure as I please. I sat on top of a rock right above the river and admired the beauty. As two kayakers came down I knew what I had to do. I packed up my equipment and headed back up to town through the bushes and trees to find myself a rafting trip for the afternoon. It was not an easy decision seeing I had been traumatized together with my entire family in the Zambizi as we took on the mighty river and almost died. At the time I couldn't find mum for minutes which seemed like years and ever since I have stayed away from the white rappids fearing death. "I gotta do it, I just gotta" I decided.
Prices for world class extreme excursions are ridiculesly expensive as one would imagine, therefor deciding I was gonna do it meant I have to do a little survey in order to understand the prices, the packages etc
Seeing I was going to be on the road for a week or so I had to sort out my flights. I got on the phone hoping it would be a matter of minutes. Unfortunately it was 25 minutes of anguish having to apologize to the other tourists waiting only for me, being pissed off by Jorge from LAN who gave me a run for my money litteraly, but finally I had changed over my flights. My South America trip had been extend until the 11th of March. Bullseye! Half a year exactly in the incredible continent. Listo! (I wasn't very happy at the time seeing I got charged extra, and the staff that was awaiting me wanted to tear me apart, but in retrospect pretty pleased about it)
Not knowing what I was in for, I was surprised to see wetsuits awaiting us together with a staff of 6 accompanying us 6 tourists
Half an hour of practicing the commands in Spanish down the tranquil Rio Azul until we met up with the mighty Rio Futaleufu. Time to level up, enough with the games. Our first big rapid was a class 5 rapid by the name of Terminator. "Great" I thought to myself. Sarcastically. "Why did I sign up to this trip??" going down the rappid I was totally oblivious of the commands and of my responsibilities flashbacks from the Zambizi were coming back and I was so enclosed by the huge rapids and white froth everywhere that as we arrived to calm water at the bottom of the rapid I got told off as if I almost caused us all to die. "You have one more chance" I was told by Muller in a super serious tone. Shit, this is serious business I thought and quickly reassured everyone that I am back on track and that I just need Fernanda behind me to repeat the command lowdly because going down level 5 rappids is not easy to hear much
After 2 hours of waiting, only three cars passing and ignoring my pleads and the fact that the it was around 19:00 I came to a conclusion that it was only natural for me to spend my night sleeping side by side with my beloved Futaleufu river
For those of you who are interested, "Patagonia Azul adventure trip" are a company run by Pedro who told me that most important for him is the safety and staff. And to tell you the truth, safety wise I give them the full 10 points. Staff wise, they could do better, at least with Muller and that annoying kid.. "Let the truth be told!" a great experience overall, and thankfully I am alive to tell it.
Pedro Aguirre cerda 436, 65-721424, firstname.lastname@example.org