Some highlights and some lowlights
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Firstly, a highlight:
We decided to check out the lakes district from the Chilean side of the Andes by taking a combination of busses and ferries to get to the boarder town which was located approximately 100km east of Puerto Varas. We had been told by a few people that the ferry ride through this area was extremely picturesque and peaceful... Of course, this was only true if you could see past the very low lying grey clouds that had decided to grace us with their presence. As things weren't looking too good, we chose to do something a bit more adventurous in a bid to ensure that we hadn't wasted the day and a whole lot of money
This turned out to be a whole lot more adventurous than what we had anticipated. Having done horse riding once before back at home, Jaclyn and I had been privileged enough to experience a safety briefing on how to ride and control the horses correctly. Unfortunately we had forgotten everything that we had learnt and being in South America such a briefing didn't seem to be necessary to the guide who was taking us... To his credit though he did give us one hint; apparently riding a horse is like driving a car! Hmm, I'm not sure what kind of car he drove, but I can't remember the last time that I got out of a car with a sore bum!
Sure enough within 10 minutes of us leaving, one lady had been bucked off her horse and the rest of us were left to ponder who would be next? Fortunately we managed to cross two fast flowing rivers and make it to the lookout unscathed! To make things even better, the cloud had started to lift and we were able to marvel at the huge mountains that were surrounding us. On the way back, our guide in all of his wisdom gave us the opportunity to 'take the horses for a test drive.' Maybe this is what he meant by "it's like driving a car." Naturally, I chose to see what I could do with it, as I had only experienced a trot before. Now the thing that I had learnt about horses when I went riding in Australia was 1) If a horse runs beside another one, they may feel as if they are being challenged and their natural instinct is to race and 2) if one horse starts running, the others will follow, especially if you haven't been shown how to control the horse
Now for the Lowlights:
Unfortunately all good things must come to an end and this was the case in Puerto Varas. Over the past 3 months I had become accustomed to travelling with my best friend and lovely girlfried, Jaclyn. Yes there had been times where she had driven me crazy and left me confused due to her constant complaints about walking in El Chalten, just to later state that she really enjoyed the hiking... Yes there were times where I was required to curve my level of perving in Rio de Janeiro and Punte Del Este so as to not offend... Yes there was even a time where I was tempted to push her into a crevase on the Perito Moreno Glacier.
As her departing wish, Jaclyn asked me to write about my attempts to woo her in our last two nights together... If there is one thing I know about girls, it is that they like to be pampered with romantic gestures... If there is one thing I know about myself, it is that I will try to do this but generally screw it up somewhere along the line! So naturally when she asked me to take her out for dinner in the nights leading up to her departure, I thought how hard could it be? I did some reading up in the lonely planet and decided to take her to a place that looked nice. After some time had been spent on her hair and make up and I had even donned on some jeans (a rarity for me) we arrived at the restaurant only to smell a horrible stench of rotting fish..
After Jaclyn left I felt myself feeling the loneliest that I had ever felt! I was in a hostel where only one other person spoke English and my new room mate drove me nuts by continually trying to have conversations with me in Spanglish (predominately spanish with the odd english word thrown in). I had to get out, so I chose to visit Volcan Osorno. It was a beautiful conic shaped volcano that towered over the surrounding towns and provided stunning panoramic views of the lakes and national parks below. However, as beautiful as it was, it didn't provide me with the stimulus that I needed to take my mind off the feeling of loneliness that I was now experiencing... My solution to this was to go canyoning the very next day
For those of you who don't know what canyoning is, it has got to be close to one of the most extreme things that I have ever done! It is basically natures response to water amusement parks! It involves you putting on a wetsuit and treating a sequence of waterfalls as if they were water slides, sometimes heading down them head first on your back! There was also some repelling down a 30m waterfall that was thrown in there, as well as jumping off ledges into the rock pools below! The highest jump that I did was 14m and it required me to keep my body as stiff as a board as I hit the water... Unfortunately due to the adrenaline rush of it all, I forgot to do this and as a result received the biggest enema of all time (which was probably a good thing as I may very well have shat myself on the way down!)