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Days 21-25: Futaleufu, Chile

February 4th, 2011 by *MoonDogg*

When I think of Futaluefu, I think of many things. I had a very good time there, met some very interesting people, and if I have a chance, would like to stop there again on my way home.

We left Chaitén on Monday morning, the 31st. According to the posted schedules, the bus was supposed to leave at 8:30 AM. Or 9:30 AM. Or 11:00 AM. It ended up leaving at 11:30, and it was a 3 or 4 hour ride. I forget, because its already been about two weeks. That is how behind I am on updating my blog.  

We arrived in Futa and right away looked for the tourist info office. By now I realized that it’s your best bet in order to get maps, and advice on where to stay, what to do, etc. This is where I met Natalya. She was a  gorgeous Chilean girl, with mesmerizing eyes and spoke English with a beautiful accent.She gave us maps and advice and we were on our way. We also stopped at Patagonia Elements, the rafting company recommended by John from Canada, but they were closed. 

We we’re not having any luck finding a hostel with room, so we stopped and had lunch, then kept looking. We ended up finding a cabaña for a reasonable price. It was new, and there was a strong odor of wood and wood finishing chemicals. Also no heater. They had not installed it yet, it was that new. But it was nice, and roomy.

After getting settled in, I went back to Patagonia Elements and we talked about a rafting trip. My dad wanted to go, and my mom said maybe. Khristian was out due to lack of funds. Or manliness. You decide. The problem was that you need at least four paddlers in a boat, otherwise it is too light, and there is not enough ‘horsepower’ to maneuver it. So while we were singed up to go, unless at least one more person showed up, we would not be able. We would know by the following morning.

The next day, we all spent time at the Internet cafe. We had not had Internet for several days and were jonesing. I was getting even further behind on uploading photos. By the late morning it was determined we could go rafting, because they were going to invite one of their colleagues to go, but unfortunately my mom had changed her mind. So the trip was cancelled. I was told there was for sure an all day trip planned for the next day, and I put my name in for it. My parents decided they were going to move on to the next town on Wed, instead of waiting until Friday, to be safe. They needed to start heading back to Buenos Aires, and did not want to risk not getting out of town. Khristian, since he did not want to go rafting, decided to leave with them. So we had that afternoon to do a hike, then I would be by myself for a few days.

We started on our hike to a lookout over the city, but we didn’t get very far. First, Khristian for some reason is terrified of talking to strangers, and so instead of asking people for directions, he prefers to wonder around and hope that he finds the trailhead. So we walked for a ways and after it was obvious  we missed it, we ended up down by a river. That was when the rock skipping competition began. Now let me just say that regardless of what you might be told by any other participants of said competition, I was the first to skip a rock all the way across the river. It was a big river, and I was surprised when it happened. But it did happen, and I don’t care if anyone else saw it or not.

Now we have that straight, I will admit that there were some fierce skips from everyone, and I can’t call a winner. But it was fun, even though I threw my shoulder out. It started to rain, so we high-tailed it back to town.

That night we went out to dinner at a restaurant that was recommended by a couple met in Chaitén. It was a really cool restaurant, with couches in the corners and a small library of books. It was also a fly shop, the kind used for fishing. We had a really good trout dinner, with a salmon appetizer that was amazing, and a bottle of Chilean wine. And my parents decided to pick up the tab, which made it even better. Thanks mom and dad!

The next day, they left for the bus, and I chilled at the cabaña for a couple hours until I had to be at the rafting company. 

The Futaleufu river is supposedly one of the top rivers in the world for rafting. I’m not exactly sure what makes a river the best, but if that was the case, I certainly did not want to miss the opportunity to go rafting on it. I’ve only been on the Kern river in California a couple times, and that was with my dad in his inflatable two-man kayak. (That is a whole other story I won’t get into) So I was really looking forward to this trip.

It was a 45 minute drive to the put in. The owner and guide, Christian, drove a four wheel drive Mitsubishi van. I’ve dreamt of owning the same van, but they are not available in the US. Turns out only a few places in Chile are able to import them from Japan. 

Once we arrived at the river, we changed into our provided wetsuits, booties, and life vests. There were six of us going out that day in the raft. Two girls and four guys, all from different countries. Also in the raft was Christian, and in the river was two more emloyees. One in a sit-in kayak, and one in a cataraft, an inflatable catamaran type raft. Their jobs were to scout the river ahead of us, and also be there to help anyone that falls out of the raft. Fortunately nobody did that day, but we came close a few times.

Rapids are rated in classes, class 1 being the easiest, class 6 being the hardest and most dangerous. The Futa has many class 5 and I think one or two class 6. But the most extreme section is not done by commercial guides during the single day trips. However, there were still three class 5 rapids, with names like Terminator, Mundaca and Casa de Piedra. I have only run rapids in a small inflatable kayak previously, and that was really difficult. I have also ‘swam’ down a class 5 rapid called Royal Flush on the Kern River. Easily the most terrifying experience of my life. So I was a little nervous going in. But it turns out a big raft with 7 people is much more stable than I expected, and there was only one instance where the guide yelled ‘get down’, which basically means ‘get you but into the bottom of the boat and hang on for your life because we are about to lose it’. Fortunately we survived that moment, and while the whole trip was very exciting and fun, I think being in a kayak is really the only way to go for maximum excitement.  Of course, that takes a lot of training and practice. If I lived close to a river, for sure I would get into kayaking.

The river is an amazing turquoise blue color. And on the sides of the river is jungle with massive rock cliffs towering above. There are many waterfalls. The sun came out a few times, and it rained off and on. But as long as we were paddling, we were able to keep warm. Overall a very beautiful experience. At the end of the day, they provided a simple lunch for us, and then we took the hour drive back to town. 

I had to find a hostel, which turned out not too hard. It was actually a house I stayed in. They rent out a few of their rooms, and also allow camping in their yard. That night I met some Israeli travelers, Ron, Gal, Natalie, and Hela. Not sure I spelled those right. I ended up playing cards with them all night, a game they taught me called Yaniv, and talking a lot about Judaism and witnessing to them.

Turns out they were going rafting the next day, and I tried to go again, but there was no room. So I just chilled, uploaded photos, had lunch, took a nap. They had invited me to have dinner with them them that night, and of course I agreed, and was looking forward to it.

But wait, did I mention the Kingdom Hall? I don’t think I did. I have been looking for them in the various places we have visited, and have found them a couple times, but I definitely was not expecting one in this town. But I was walking down the street the first night, looked up at a small house and there was the sign, Salon del Reino. I was really surprised. It was such a small building. There was a sign with the meeting times and initially we weren’t going to be there those days. But because I stayed behind I was going to be able to make it to the Minsitry School/Service Meeting. So Thursday night, I showed up and there was a brother coming out of the house behind the hall, and he informed me the sign was incorrect, that the meeting was an hour later. So I went down to the tourist office to hang out with and say goodbye to Natalya. Did I mention she was the Futa Rodeo Queen, and easily the cutest girl I had seen in Chile? I hung out talking to her and another guy that was a guide in town. 

An hour later I returned to the KH and went inside. To say it is small is an understatement. I think there we’re about 20 seats, 25 at most. I met the 6 publishers, of which only one spoke any English, and only very little. I let them know that my Spanish was not very good, and I would just be listening, not commenting. They had offered me a Spanish Bible, and I declined since I had my English. I realized later that I should have taken it, so at a minimum I could at least read scriptures from it. Also, I could have prepared a comment or two in Spanish ahead of time, like I did when I was in Mexico, but I procrastinated and ran out of time.

The meeting began, and I enjoyed it. Being only 6 publishers, obviously everyone comments. A lot. And the 3 brother took turns on every other part. I realized how much preparation each must do for every meeting. Because for sure they have several parts each. Every week.

When the meeting was over they invited me to eat, which would have been great, but I already made plans with the Israelis. I took a photo with them and said goodbye, and promised I would try to return someday when my spanish was better and I could participate.

I ran back the 6 blocks back to the hostel, because I was late for dinner. When I got there, Natalie was slaving over the stove, adding eggs to what looked like cross between stew and pasta sauce. It’s called Shakshooka. They asked me to say a prayer, which i thought was interesting. (Later Ron told me he was impressed with my prayer and realized he should pray more. The problem was he did not know who to pray to. That turned into another good discussion while we were traveling on the bus.), We ate it with bread. It was super good and I am definitely going to try and make it when I get home. I stayed up again playing cards with them and talking more about religion. 

Friday morning it was off to the bus stop. I stopped at the hall to leave some money for a donation, because I had forgot the night before. I left it with the brother who lived behind the hall. I was told previously that he and his wife were special pioneers. He accepted and urged me to return someday.

The bus ride was uneventful. You have to switch buses at the border. Once we were in Esquel, I had lunch with the Israelis and the took a taxi to the hostel where my family was staying.

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Days 19-21: Chaitén

January 31st, 2011 by *MoonDogg*

There is a volcano outside the city of Chaitén that is also called Chaitén. It erupted a few years ago, and while a majority of the ash was blown east to Futaleufu, Chile and Esquel, Argentina, there was a great deal of destruction done to the city of Chaitén as a result of a river overflowing. It wiped out something like 6 city blocks, dragging whole houses out into the ocean. 

As we walked into town I had an eerie feeling. I realized later it was partially due to the lack of electricity. There were no lights on anywhere. It was early morning, but after sunrise so it was plenty light out, but still you expect to see some lights. Porch lights. Living room lights. But there really weren’t any. And also, I didn’t notice it at first, I think subconsciencely I did, but the power lines were all missing. The poles were still standing, but no wires. 

As we were walking down the street, looking down each block, the town just seemed dead. A ghost town. 

Then a van pulled up, and a man named Nicholas started asking my dad some questions. Turns out he runs a small business in town, Chitur, with a variety of services, primarily as a guide to the Pumalin park, but also other hikes, transportation, bus tickets, etc. He’s a little eccentric, but a nice guy and really knowledgable about the area and the volcano. He helped us find a place to stay, and urged us to join the group he was taking out that day to go hiking. We weren’t sure we wanted to but he kept telling us he was going to be busy the next day and today would be best. As it turned out, he would urge us to join him on the next days outing as well… Just a guy trying to make a living I guess.

We had breakfast at a little restaurant. There were no lights on inside. Many places had generators for electricity, but still kept the usage to an absolute minimum. Fortunately our cabanas kept their electricity on for all but a few hours in the early morning. Supposedly they had an agreement of some kind with the gas station where they received free or discounted gas for their generator. They also had plenty of water, which was not the case at the first place we stopped. That place had no water, and didn’t know when it would return.

We got settled in and ready to go our a day hike with Nicholas. While we were waiting I decided to walk further down our street to where the river overflow damage was. There were whole blocks of houses partially buried in about 4 or 5 feet of gravel and sand. Many of them still had their furniture inside, curtains in the windows, etc. Basically sitting the same way they were when the volcano erupted. It was quite saddening to think of all the families and lives that were abruptly interrupted. (Side note: I have heard two conflicting stories. One was that the entire town was evacuated on week before the eruption. The other was that many people were there when it happened. I’ve not had time to research and find the truth.) There were some excavators moving around some large boulders shoring up the sides of the new river.

Basically, the river used to run north to south on the east edge of the city, parallel to the coastline, with the city in between. After the eruption, the river broke through the middle of the town toward the ocean. The “beach” is now much bigger that it was, and littered with debris, old tree stumps, parts of houses, clothing, shoes, etc. I imagine there is a ton of glass and other sharp objects just beneath the surface. I don’t think it’s going to be a safe place to walk barefoot or swim for a long time. There was no sense in trying to force the river back the way it used to go, so now they are just reenforcing the sides of it. The part of town still standing to the South of the new river is below sea level and still considered dangerous and not many people live there. At least until the new river is properly built up.
 

I guess the government gave homeowners vouchers to buy houses anywhere in the country, and many took advantage, but many decided to stay, and fight to keep the government from forcing them out. There are conspiracy theories about the discovery of gold or other minerals in the area being a primary reason why the government wanted to get everybody out. But in the end, the citizens prevailed and they are slowly bringing the city back to life.

Our guided tour of Pumalin park, a privately owned nature preserve owned and built by the founder of The North Face, started with a long ride on a dirt road. There were several people simply getting a ride to a campground. Others of us we’re going hiking. We stopped a few times to take a look at the damage caused by the eruption. Some of the trees that looked dead in the area that were obliterated, were actually growing again. We were told that the kind of growth they are seeing was not expected for 10 years. 

Along the dirt road where we we’re looking at the volcano, there were these giant flies that were just absolutely annoying and apparently attracted to black, which I was wearing. There were two kinds, and both of them liked to bite, through your clothing. What was interesting about them is they were not really afraid. You could actually grab or flick them off without any trouble, but there were so many, it was futile effort.

Also, there was this crazy huge dragon fly that landed on my foot. I was able to get it to walk onto my hand. It had a broken front leg, but I don’t think it was much of a hindrance for it. Once I started holding it and playing with it, it started acting like a dog. By that I meet it kept following me around, landing on my legs, my shoulder, my arm. It was doing tricks and even, and this is not a lie, it rolled over and played dead. I have a picture of it. It also landed on the leg of another girl named Laura who was with us, and she walked  Some 50 yards with it there. It was the coolest thing. I love dragonflies. Always have. This one was like a pet and I wanted to take it home.

My pet dragonfly playing dead

Our first hike was short, and on a trail that led to several large trees. Called the Alerce, they were only recently designated as protect by law, and are the second oldest trees in the world,  behind the Bristlecone. They used to be cut down quite often, and there are not nearly as many as there used to be.

The second hike was a bit longer,  about 2 hours, and went to some waterfalls. Both hikes were very beautiful, and the trails themselves were very impressive. Lots of wood bridges, stairs, ladders and elevated sections. The area is a rain forest, and very lush, with lots of birds, frogs, babbling brooks, etc. I constantly felt like I was listening to one of my rainforest ambient sleep tracks.

At the very top of the longest hike were two couples, each with infants, one only two months old. I was impressed that they carried their kids that far, especially since many parts of the trails were pretty sketchy.

The second day it rained most of the day. Khristian and my dad did some walking around the destroyed neighborhoods taking a lot of photos, while I hung out at the tourist info center talking to the woman who worked there, Barbara, asking a lot of questions about the area. There I also met John from Canada, who tipped me off to go rafting in Futaleufu. 

That afternoon we stayed inside and tried to watch True Grit on my iPad, but the speakers on the iPad are weak sauce (as are so many other features of it) so it was really difficult. Especially with the wind roaring outside. We had to sit around the dining table and and sit with 3 feet of it. I had to construct some sound deflection and still I had a hard time hearing. I think having some small travel speakers would be nice. But even with the sound difficulty, it was a good movie. 

That night we had spaghetti and I think I had a bottle of wine to myself. I slept well.

Posted in Trippin' | 1 Comment »

Days 15-18: Puerto Montt, Puerto Varas, and Quellon

January 28th, 2011 by *MoonDogg*

The bus ride to Puerto Montt had two border stops. One for Argentina, and one for Chile. There was a small incident at the second one. They had passed out customs forms on the bus, and we were to declare and animal or plant products we were carrying. I knew I had some fruit and sardines, so I claimed them. When we got off the bus we were lined up in two lines and asked to put our bags in front of us, and hold out our declaration paper, with the form facing away from us for officer to read. Then a soldier with a dog, a Labrador if I recall correctly, walked along the lines and one at a time the dog would sniff the bags. Now, here is where the whole operation becomes a joke.

The dog sniffed Khristian’s bag, and then put his paw on it, a sign that there is something of interest inside. The soldier reached into his pocket to retrieve a treat for the dog, and it was happily received. The soldier asked Khristian if he had any food in is bag. Khristian said no, and the soldier moved on. Next the dog sniffed my bag. He promptly out his paw upon it, and received another treat. The soldier asked me if I had any food, and I said ‘sí.’ Then he wrapped a tag on the handle and moved on to the next person. 

It went this way for some time, as there were probably 60 passengers on the bus that day. Finally the dog gets to a older French gentleman, and again, puts his paw in his bag, and gets his treat. The soldier questions the man, who pulls out a plastic bag with a lemon in it. Now it gets serious. The soldier looks at the man’s paperwork, and he had claimed that he had no food. The soldier says ‘this is a serious problem for you’. And ‘you will be fined $200’. Ouch. I’m not sure the French guy even understood what he was saying. But I started getting worried that maybe I didn’t fill out my form correctly. We then had to file out and have our bags run through an x-ray machine. Had they forgotten about my bag? Should I toss the food out in the trash, perhaps along with the tag? What would be the consequences? Will I end up in a Chilean jail? That would be an experience I could write about. After all, this is supposed to be an adventure trip. I decide to just let it play out, and it turned out that after the X-ray they wanted to see what was in my bag, and I pulled out some nectarine seeds. They acknowledged that is what the dog smelled, had me throw them away, and move on. 

Now, the are several holes in this whole operation. The first is when Khristian simply denied having any food, despite the dog indicating to the contrary, they simply took his word for it. Secondly, I had ample opportunity to dispose of anything that was in my bag. I even could have gone to the restroom to do so, and nobody would have known. Lastly, I pulled out a couple seeds and showed them to the soldier, and he let me go. I could have had a lot more food in my bag. They didn’t check it. Perhaps I’m spending too much time even talking about this, but it just made me realize, and not for the first time, the futility of all these security procedures and formalities, and how easy they are to infiltrate if you were really intent on it.

OK, so now were are in Chile, and on our way to Puerto Montt. I had no idea what to expect there, but was assuming it would be a mountain town similar to Bariloche. I found this itinerary we were following in a guide book, and it was supposed to be a loop of Patagonia. So it stood to reason the list of towns to visit would be places where we could find outdoor adventure. Well, that was not the case.

Puerto Montt is more of a ‘gateway’ to Patagonia. It is a port city, where you can find passage to various parts of Patagonia, especially by boat or ferry. But city itself is not some place you want to spend a great deal if time if your intent is to see the great outdoors. It’s an interesting enough place, but spend the day walking around, have dinner, get a good nights sleep and move on. Unfortunately we were to be there for several days. The buses and ferries south don’t leave every day, so you really have to plan out your trip according to their schedules, and so in order to get to Chaitén, where the real fun would start, we had to stay a few nights in Puerto Montt. 

We arrived at the bus terminal late, around 10 PM. The terminal was empty. We were approached by a man asking if we need a place to stay, and we told him no, we had it covered. He asked where we staying and when we told him, he had a puzzled look, and said there was no such place in town. That is when the fun began.

Khristian had made the reservations, for which I was grateful. It was a bit of a burden constantly trying to plan how we were getting to a next location, and where we we’re going to stay. We definitely were in need of a more streamlined process, and he stepped up and helped out on this one. After the online booking was complete I told him to make sure he had the confirmation email before he logged out. My assumption was that confirmation would have all the info we needed. Unfortunately it did not. No address, and no phone number. The next 30 minutes weren’t very fun. There was a really nice lady who worked for the tourist office. She thought the place we were looking for was in the next town, a 30 minute drive. So we went back and forth and round and round. There were no maps or phone books that would help us, and all Khristian kept saying is ‘everything would be fine if I could just get on the internet’, which was really annoying. We finally decided to get a taxi to take us somewhere we could get online and get the address. 

On the way, the taxi driver got a call, and I believe it was someone with the approximate location of our hostel and it turned out easy to find. Problem solved and lesson learned, I hope.

The place was nice enough, but it was in a very strange location. Seemed like an industrial area. Not the kind of place you would expect to find lodging for tourists. It turned out to be quite far from el centro, and we walked about a half hour that first day trying to get downtown and find some food and an ATM. Which was the second crisis. My parents were having trouble finding an ATM that would take their card. I used one in the grocery store and was ready to eat, but my mom didn’t trust any ATM that wasn’t in a bank. So we walked and walked and walked. And I was getting pretty irritated. I just wanted to eat. And I had money, and could pay for everybody. But we kept walking and searching and failing. After about nine banks, they finally got money. It seems they have a new type of card that does not work with older ATMs, especially those found in South America.

On a side note, we did see a large group of brothers and sisters doing house to house work, and we stopped to say hello to them. We asked them where the Kingdom Hall was and their meeting times, but it did not turn out that we would be able to make it, if we wanted to catch the bus and boat to Chaiten.

So a couple days in Puerto Montt, and a day trip to Puerto Varas (which is on a lake and a much nice place to stay if you have the choice) and the we were back on the bus and on our way to Quellón, on the island of Chiloé. 

Chiloé is supposed to be a really neat place, and I’m sure it is, but we didn’t get to see much of it. It was pretty enough, and the houses and ranches along the highway were interesting to look at. Once in Quellón, we quickly found a place to stay. It was a good place with a restaraunt and bar. We had dinner and then went walking around to check out the town. It’s a small fishing village, on the very southeastern side of the island.

One of the things I noticed about the last several towns is that is seems like at one time they were very nice, but had fallen on hard economic times. For example the city buses were obviously state of the art at one time. VW, Mercedes, etc. Nice buses. But they were all now quite old, and I don’t expect they will be upgraded any time soon.

On Friday, we were not scheduled to leave on the boat until midnight. So we had all day to again look around the town. I spent some time trying to upload more photos, and also some time at the internet cafe trying to resurrect my iPad. It’s jailbroken, but the current method of JB for the latest iOS version is a “tethered” solution, which means if I have to reboot my iPad for any reason, i.e. battery dies, it crashes, etc. it needs to be connected to a computer and I need to run the JB utility to boot it. Otherwise it will just hang at the apple logo.

I knew this and had prepared for such a circumstance by loading the necessary JB tools on my thumb-drive. Unfortunately, I forgot to also load the stock iPad ROM on my thumb drive. The JB tool needs it to load some files during the boot process. Ugh! That is a 550+ MB file! Do you realize how slow the internet is around here, especially in Internet cafes? Seriously, I have not experienced such slow speeds since the 90’s. Everything I read said getting internet access in South America was not going to be a problem. I beg to differ. The speeds are horrendous, and the typical WiFi hotspot, and granted there seem to usually be plenty of them, much more than in the states, performs so poorly that it becomes a lesson in patience trying to accomplish even basic tasks. Forget trying access anything requiring even modest bandwidth. And downloading a tv show for the bus ride?  LOL. 

But I digress. I was eventually able to get the file downloaded and resurrect my iPad. Good thing, or I would be carrying around this fancy high tech gadget that would be about as useful to me as a curling iron.

On another tangent, while I’m on the subject, a suggestion for anyone that is going to travel and use Internet cafes. Sign up for LastPass. It is a password storage and management tool. Then, at a minimum, setup a set of ‘one time passwords’ (OTP) and a ‘password grid’, print them out and carry them in your wallet. Or using a variety if methods you could carry them on your smartphone (Dropbox, Springpad, Evernote, etc.)

Then what you do is you load up all your passwords in Lastpass. When using a public computer, you login to Lastpass using an OTP. That way, if there is any kind of key logger on the computer that captures your password, it can’t be used in the future, because each can only be used ‘one-time’. So generate enough to cover how many times you plan on using a public computer on your trip. You can always generate more, but it would not be wise to do so on a public computer. Also, if for whatever reason you feel you OTPs have been compromised, you can cancel them all.

The grid is a secondary security option. You generate a unique grid numbers and letters serving as XY coordinates. When you login to a unknown computer, lastpass will prompt you with 4 XY coordinates. You obtain the values in this coordinates in your grid, and enter them. If correct, login is successful. Once in, you can automatically launch and login to your saved sites without typing any login names or passwords. It’s the best way I know of to safely access your bank, email, Facebook, etc. using untrusted computers?  

OK, enough geeking out for one day.

After getting my iPad working I went back to the restaurant where we had stayed to have a beer and get on the internet. There I met Adam and Adrienne. The were riding motorcycles around SA. Turns out Adrian was from Vancouver, Canada. She was traveling by herself, and had met Adam on the road. He Australian, but had been living in Bolivia, I think.

They both turned out to be really cool, and we sat and talked for hours while we waited for our boat, as they were going to Chaitén as well. Adrienne was a lawyer, and she had worked for several years for the Olympic committee in preparation for and during the games in 2010. She had some amazing stories and even more epic photos of her trip. I’ve dreamed of such a trip myself, since I was a kid actually. Talking to her made me realize it’s not that far out of reach. Of course there next comes the reality of how do travel the world and yet maintain my dedication to Jehovah. That is what is difficult and that’s when I tell myself ‘ in the new system’.  Of course, I am sure in a small way I can still serve Jah fully, and see some of the world. I need to start working on that.

We were given a map to the dock where we needed to catch the boat. It was a bad map. Really bad. We thought it was walking distance, turned out to be much farther, and we again found ourselves sort of panicking, because we were told we need to board by 10PM, and it was 9:55 and we were lost. We finally flagged down a taxi, and he drove us the 2 miles or so we still had left, and we made it on board no problem.

We were in a big room with hundreds of seats and passengers. It would have been a fine way to travel, except it was going to be an overnight trip. I ended up scoring my own row of three seats. I blew air into my down travel pillow, put in my ear plugs, put on my eye mask, and stretched out across the seats. And I actually slept very well. In fact when I woke up in the morning I though it was still late. I pulled the mask off and to my surpise the lights were on and most everyone was up and walking around. Then I pulled the  ear plugs out and realize how loud it was. Which brings me to travel tip number two. Ear plugs and an eye mask: don’t leave home with out them. (a bandana works well to cover your eyes when sleeping, and serves many other purposes as well, like as a towel to dry your hands and face when restrooms have no towels.)
 
After a 7 hour trip, we got off the boat and walked for 10 minutes into Chaitén, and into a dream.

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Purto Varas, Chile

January 26th, 2011 by *MoonDogg*

My location: Resolving… 41°19.066′ S, 72°58.931′ W http://maps.google.com/maps?q=-41.31777,-72.98218

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