Monday, December 1, 2008

Let's just say, I'm falling behind in my blogging.

Sunday November 15.

We miss the Cochamó-Puerto Montt bus by 8 minutes and are left to our own devises. Instead of hovering on the dusty street corner, we decide to walk. We shoulder our packs. Mine is the size of me and is adorned with chains for discouraging ladrones. Nate has two backpacks and the water bottles. I’m left with the tiny guitar and machete. We look pretty silly. Some car headed to Puerto Varas is bound to pass by and offer us a ride. Famous last words.

Cars don’t really drive much on Sundays I guess.

A sign announced that we were leaving Cochamó. We kept following the dirt road along the picturesque lake lined with thick trees and wise mountains proceeding over it all.

After an hour, our bags started getting heavy. The only vehicles that had passed us were rather large trucks with no room for us or our bags. They shrugged apologetically as they passed.

Our first ride of the day came from a father and son. The son had lived in Olympia, WA and the father insisted on speaking English with us. Fair enough, he’s giving us a ride, I’ll play along.

They invited us with them to some termales. We declined with a gracias and were dropped off neatly on the side of the road. We had ridden a good few kilometers and had at least passed into paved road territory. We had hardly walked another kilometer when we smiled at the next car as it pulled over. We piled our bags in the back and found that the driver was headed straight to Puerto Varas. Fantastic.

The car ended up being a cab. The driver had just dropped off a couple of German tourists in Cochamó, so the journey had been paid for; he didn’t want a cent from us.

The cab itself had 13 mirrors. We counted.

Nate napped as the driver and I small talked. Before we knew it, we were pulling into the comfortable cobble stone tourist haven of Puerto Varas. Food preparation and cleanliness was in store. Ahhhh… the comforts of modern technology…

Monday, November 16

We were going to leave at 11am for Puerto Montt to meet Daniel. It swiftly turned into 2pm. We jumped out of the combi right after the retorno and crossed the at least 6 lanes of traffic to the Esso Station.

Daniel pulled up, we threw our bags in the trunk and hopped inside. Daniel just had to check one thing… the papers for the car. Without them we would not be allowed across the border. They hafta be here somewhere… right?

We pull over and search the car. Nada. Where could they be? Daniel decides that it could be in Cochamó, so we start driving. Two hours of NPR later, we arrive in the little town. We search for the papers. Nada.

It starts looking like we won’t be able to cross the border. As we begin the drive back to Puerto Montt we pick up an officer of some sorts. He tells us without those papers we have no chance of crossing. And all the offices are closed because of the general strike. Great. Just our luck.

So we take the opportunity to pull over and start stacking the contents of the Land Rover on the side of the road. Suddenly Daniel puts on a grin and holds something triumphantly in the air. The papers!

Ok. It was about 7pm. The border closed at 9pm. There was about two hours left to drive. LET’S GO!

We dropped the officer off in Ensenada and took all the back roads to the border. The unpaved roads. The secret roads. Wahooo!

We flew. We absolutely HAD to cross the border. After all we had gone through that day, they HAD to let us across. It wouldn’t be the first time I argued my way across a border… and probably not the last either.

We arrived. We passed through. It got dark as we drove into Chile. Steak and gnocchi dinner. Hostel and sleep.

Tuesday November 17.

We got beds in 1004. Home again! Translated our resumes into Spanish.

November 18-24

Can’t say that these days were particularly exciting. A lot of resume printing and distributing, apartment searching, steak-cooking, wine-drinking, hostel lounging, and mountain gazing.

I’d like to bring to your attention a few notable events:

November 20. We climbed Cerro Catedral. We took a bus out of the city to the mega ski complex and then climbed up the ski trails following the teleférico. At points it was a pretty rough climb. Nate convinced me to go beyond the teleférico lodge, through the snow, to the tippy top of the mountain. But whoa was it worth it! Here are some pictures.

November 23. We rented bicycles to ride the circuito chico. Stunning views, colonia suiza, well-oiled bikes, steep hills, and alfajores! These pictures just might blow you away.

November 25. We jump on a bus to Buenos Aires.

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