Diary/Photo Journal

Week of March 06, 2005 

We did not make it out of Pucon as quickly as we planned seeing as Cindy's alternator had a mind of its own.  As it turned out, a few small parts were replaced in the component and some tightening of the wires and all was fine.  Having to stay in Pucon another day or so gave all of us time to enjoy a bike ride on a beautiful Fall day.  Now, if you have been following along, you would know that we had a bike stolen in Costa Rica and you might be wondering how the three of us, Gerson, Luis and myself, took a bike ride.

Well, thanks to the generosity of Bernd and Antonette, they gifted us with their two bicycles and we willingly accepted.  Luis was ecstatic as giving him a bicycle is almost akin to giving many of us a car.  He is giving the bike to his sister, as it is rather pink, but in fine shape.  We are back to two bikes and a lot more trail riding is in store for us.

Pucon is surrounded
by beauty
Volcan Villarica
Evolution of a
magnificent sunset

Another good thing about staying an additional couple of days in Pucon, we got to meet yet another "casa rodante" couple from Germany (I completely forgot their names as their accents were very strong).  They purchased a used German military vehicle and built the interior to their travel needs.  Quite the impressive 4X4 casa rodante.

The line-up:  The German conversion, Izzy (Sam
and Christine's), Cindy and Bernd and Antonette's
Bernd and Antonette's turn to cook:  a
delicious goulash that was not wasted

We fixed the alternator and whisked out of Pucon, heading for Puerto Montt.  Puerto Montt is the jumping off point for southern Chile trek and we are anxious to get immersed in the land.  On the way, we stopped at a very nice lake called Lago Llanquihue (Yankeywee).

Looking for our pot'o'gold
in Lago Llanquihue

Our next stop was Puerto Montt.  Unfortunately, we ran into a very cold and persistent drizzle that drove us out of Puerto Montt and onto Chiloe Island the day after we arrived.  We made it into Castro and left the wet weather behind.  Not much going on except enjoying the scenery as we drive and taking some casual walks along the ports in some of the town/small cities in which we stop. 

Puerto Montt Gerson heading the ferry ride to Chiloe Island
Cindy's view of the ocean at Castro

Well, since this is somewhat of a quiet week, I thought now is the time to enlighten you to the background on Patagonia for we should be lost in Patagonia in a couple of weeks.  The name "Patagonia" has several theories as to its derivation; however, one hypothesis is the more persuasive.  In 1520, a Portuguese sailor, Fernao de Magalhaes crossed the various channels and fjords until he collided with the Pacific Ocean.  Upon his crossing, he met with a native people that were very tall and Magalhaes called them "Patagones" because of the very large footprints they left behind ("Pata" refers to an animal's foot/leg).  At this time in history, the normal man's height was maybe 5'6" - 5'8" (66" - 68") and these native peoples exceeded 6' (72").  They were so exceptional, that four Yamana (one of the four native peoples, Aonikenk, Selk'nam and Kaweshkar were the other three) families were kidnapped and taken to Paris, France where they were placed in a zoo-like enclosure called a "ethnographical exhibit" so they could be "studied".   It is understandable that the stolen families did not survive long in their "zoo".

Now I return you to your regular programming...

We separated from Luis in Castro as he had to return to Santiago and get back to work.  It was great having him along and even with my espanol being muy mal, we somehow communicated well enough.  We are going to miss his humor and his cooking.

Castro Catedral - what it lacks in
color, it makes up for in design

Typical Castro/Chiloe port town

The best way to mow the lawn

Saying good-bye to Luis

Chiloe Island is known for its
"palafitos", the houses built on
stilts.  Unfortunately, we have our
suspicions as to where their sewers
Something is wrong in the third picture

The newest craze in tree-trimming:

We had two days before having to catch a five-hour ferry to Chaiten, a small port city on mainland Chile.  The sun blessed us and rather than pack Cindy up and drive around, we decided we had much to do to prepare Cindy for her Patagonia trek (and some of those pleasing dirt/rock roads).  Now, there are some of you that we have heard those awful words come out of your mouths as to us being on a "permanent vacation".  Well, we spent the two sunny days taking everything out of Cindy, cleaning all items, throwing out any old, outdated or unusable products, washing all the curtains, bedding, pillows, towels, clothes, etc., checking all fluid levels, air pressure in the tires and air bags, washing all windows inside and out, cleaning all screens, cleaning the roof, scrubbing the floor...you get the picture.  So, when any of you talk about this "permanent vacation" we will gladly have you spend a week with us for we could use the cheap labor! :-)

Ok, whining over with...

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