I Walk In The Park

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Flag of Chile  , CL.09,
Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Now the week is over and the entire week has left me physically, mentally and emotionally drained. There is no time to rest because there is still so much left to see.  Lucky for us Karen has a friend, Shelly a fellow English teacher, which lives in the nearby port city called Puerto Varas.  Shelly came down to hang out with us for the night and in the morning will travel with us to Puerto Varas and show us the sights. 

I will miss Puerto Montt and the routine that I have become accustom to.  The warm hotel with the steaming hot showers, the fabulous restaurant with 3 course meals, American Channels on the flat screen TV, and the little chocolates left on my bed every night by the turn down service.  I will miss walking to school every morning and laughing to myself every time I see the sign for Moe's Tavern.  If you have every watched the "Simpson’s" you will know that MOE’S is the bar that Homer goes often, and Bart calls to make prank phone calls.  Well they have a Moe’s Tavern in Puerto Montt with pictures of Moe, Homer getting drunk and Moe throwing Homer out of the bar. It is funny that of all the American shows the SIMPSON’S is the most recognized all over Chile; which is sad because this is what most Chilenos think of Americans and that is a bad representation of our country.

It is now Sunday July 26th, and we take a bus to Puerto Varas and the great thing about Chile is that it never costs very much to travel by bus.  From Puerto Montt to Puerto Varas the fare was $700 pesos ($2.80 USD for roundtrip ticket).  That is not bad for a 20 minute bus ride.  Puerto Varas is a town surrounded by a lake.  Unlike Parral it has lots of large beautiful hotels for tourists and while in Puerto Varas you feel as if you were in a small European village. 

When we arrive to Puerto Varas we go, straight away, to Shelly’s house.  She needed to pick up some money for our day trip, which gave us the opportunity to see more of the city.  Her home (the home of her host family) was very quaint, but what would a house in a small Chilean town be without a flock of chickens roaming around the yard.  These chickens were plump and adorned with plush earth toned feathers.  Inside the house was warm and cozy and decorated in a bohemian fashion as if Chilean Hippies lived there.  Shelly says the house is always filled with people because her host mother runs a hostel out of the home.  There is always a gentle flow of new faces; travelers stopping to rest here as they travel from one place to another.  The family also has a holistic lifestyle and all their food is organic. 

Just when I think that nothing else can surprise me in Chile from the window I see the strangest sight.  The craziest chicken I have ever seen in my life.  I thought Pookie was odd (Crackhen from a previous blog) but she had nothing on Ella.  I call her Ella because this buxom bird stood out from all the rest.  in Spanish Ella (pronounced AA-YA) means she or her, but the name Ella brings a picture in my mind of a robust, no nonsense sassy woman like Ella Fitzgerald.  Her feathers were frazzled and disheveled making her look much larger than normal.  I don’t know how she came to look that way but the look matched her demeanor even the cone on her head looks like one of Ella Fitzgerald’s wigs.  She strutted around the pen, head held high as if to say,”The Queen has arrived make way! I almost expect her to belt out a verse of “I Gotta Right To Sing the Blues.”

We leave the house and decide to take a walk to the local grocery store, Santa Isabel, to buy lunch.  It was a smart choice because eating at a restaurant would be more expensive, and we were all extremely hungry at this point.  After paying for our groceries (cost $10 Mil pesos = $20 USD =$4 per person) we caught a bus to Salto de Petrohue, a National Park about 45 minutes away (cost $4 Mil pesos = $8 round trip). We heard there were beautiful waterfalls and we were anxious to see them.  On the bus we talked about our schools and quickly opened our grocery bags and made sandwiches for lunch, drank water and munched on potato chips.  It was an economical and filling meal.  As we drive I see rolling hills that turn into volcanoes, and many beautiful lakes.  The 10th Region of Chile is called Los Lagos which means The Lakes, and that is evident because you cannot drive for more than 5 minutes without seeing a lake or large body of water.

The park was unbelievable; living in a big city I often forget that there are virgin places in the world untouched by commercialism and high rise construction, void of brutally piercing resonance of rush hour traffic, and unblemished by discarded waste and debris.  Trees sprung from the ground to mammoth heights.  I walk in like Alice through the looking glass, the world behind me disappeared leaving only a faint memory of a former reality (cost of admission to the park $2Mil pesos = $4 USD).  The air was chilled by the crisp winter breeze, and I was in need of a hat and gloves.  I stop at a little shop and purchase a few garments to warm my frozen ears and hands.  The shop had hand made items made by the shopkeeper’s wife.  They sold a lot of Mapuche (pronounced Mah-poo-chay) handcrafted items and outside the shop was a typical Mapuche statue.

We venture on down the path and cross a bridge and waiting for us at the end of the path was a rushing waterfall.  The thunderous sound of the water breaking against the rocks could be heard even before we made it to the end of the path, like the suspenseful music in a movie leading to a climactic episode.  The vibrant water, pouring swiftly into the basin below, was creating a masterpiece of sound and color.   The frothy white waves emptying into a turquoise blue, the kind of colors only seen if fine hand guided jewelry.  We stood in awe drinking in, with inaudible amazement, the wonder and beauty of nature in its rawest form. 

We continue to walk following one trail after another, talking pictures of everything that we saw.  If only the lens could capture these moments the way my eyes saw them, that I might share this memory with others more accurately.  Unfortunately there are some things in life that cannot be reproduced; a picture is worth a thousand words but a memory is priceless

The day had passed so quickly and soon the park would close and we would have to leave our little piece of paradise.  I don’t believe in Heaven on Earth, but I do believe that only an Almighty God could be so awesome as to make places such as this for even the lowly of creatures to enjoy.  You could hear peace whispering through the trees, and joy laughing in waves against every rock.  We wait about 15 minutes for the last bus to Puerto Varas to arrive.  Five city slickers reflect on their day in the wilderness.  It was a good day and a perfect end to a long week

We take the bus to Puerto Varas and then another to Puerto Montt.  By the time we got our luggage from the hotel we had missed the last bus to Chiloe, a small island off the coast of Chile.  We would stay another night in Puerto Montt and leave for Chiloe in the morning.  We say goodbye to Francisco, he has been our companion and partner in crime for the past week.  He took his vacation a week earlier (his school has a different vacation schedule) so we will not be accompanying us to Chiloe. He has been the man in our little quartet, the lone rooster in this small flock of hens (I don’t know why I use so many barnyard references).  He has become like our little brother.  We tease him; beat him up, still keeping a protective watch over him.  We gave him a hug and a kiss on the cheek knowing that in a few weeks we will see him again.

We buy our ticket for Chiloe and ask the cashier if there was lodging near by.  Within 2 blocks there were 2 hotels and a hostel.  We chose the hostel because it is cheaper and we are traveling on a budget.  Plus the sign on the door advertised free WiFi, private bathroom, and cable TV and for $6 Mil ($12 USD) we could not beat that with a stick.  We lug our bags up 2 LONG FLIGHTS OF STARES to a freezing room with 3 beds.  It wasn’t as nice like the Ritz Carlton (Heck it wasn’t as nice as a Ritz Cracker) but is was a place to lay our heads and that was very important at this stage of the game.

We still had some food left so we decided we would walk to the store and buy some bread and have a beverage, bread with palta (avocado) fruit, pastries and chips for dinner.  I think that I have been in Chile for too long because that actually sounded delicious at the time.  Because it is Sunday all of the stores are closed; the days have just melted into each other and we forgot what day it was.  I spot a street vender and see that they are selling Completos (hotdogs).  I am sure they will have bread so we walk over and ask if we could just by the bread and maybe something to drink.  We pay one woman for the items and another gets our package together.  Somehow they thought we wanted the Hotdog and not just the bun and the other lady had already made the hotdog with all the fixins.  We told her of the mistake and she apologized, but since the dog was already made, and we had paid for it we took it back to the room to divide into 3 parts.  They don’t have containers so we walked down the street carrying this HUGE hotdog looking quite strange. The rest of the night is spent eating our dinner and watching “Sense and Sensibility,” which is the ultimate chick flick

Thanks for giving me a little bit of you time and remember to embrace the great outdoors and do your part to protect our planet it’s the only one we’ve got.

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nakiaford on

Glad you like the blog
I had so much fun, and you are so silly with you comment about the hotdog. It was pretty big. I am back in parral but I am writing the rest of the blogs about my vacation so I hope you read it. I got your box today and tried to call but only got the voicemail will try later. thanx 4 reading talk 2 u later.


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