8 November – 16 November 2011
Alright, now it’s time to play catch up…since I am in El Calafate, Argentina and my last post here was Pucon, Chile; which was more than 20 days ago if I am adding correctly! I lost my calendar some time back, so dates are now lost to me. I can’t recall when I was where anymore, and I have to stop to think about what day it is, and sometimes, I forget where I am. This is what happens when you move about with no schedule; time changes and some things become irrelevant. After Pucon, I traveled to Valdivia for three days, then Puerto Varas for three days, then Chiloe, also for three days. Since these three places have the three day theme in common, I’m going to group them in to one post. It seems friendlier that way. I don’t have any really big stories to tell about these places, so for the most part I will again let pictures do the talking.
Valdivia: This city is basically a college town. I am not one for large cities so I was not unhappy to leave after three short days. The highlight here was where I stayed, Hostel Aires Buenos and Permaculture. The permaculture part was what had me, so I sent the owner a message saying I had had a micro-organic farm that was based on the principles of permaculture, and she booked me a reservation even though she usually does not take any. The hostel is lovely, filled inside with artwork, murals on the walls and wonderful, comfortable details. The very small garden in the back is where she grows herbs and keeps two hens and a duck named Gardel. She has rainwater catching system and a vertical herb garden running up one wall of the garden, as well as an herb spiral and some planters. Her dream is to have classes on permaculture and sustainable gardening at the hostel. The best part was the owner herself, this woman is spunky. One day a young Brasilian came for a room, she said she was full (the only bed left was the upper bunk in the room I was in). He asked for a recommendation on where to go and while she was giving it, he took notice of her guitar. She asked if he could play, he said yes, she asked if he was any good, he said yes,she asked me if I’d mind, I said no. So, there was room after all. The next day, the Brasilian, a Polynesian who works for the hostel and I went to a microbrewery, had some drinks and then wandered around the Botanical Gardens at the University, side stepping the police there to monitor a student protest. That night, we all had dinner together, and a lot of wine. The guitar came out; horrible singing ensued with a chorus of out of tune drunkards and a duck that may not really have wanted to be held. (Click on the photo below to see more pictures of Valdivia)
Puerto Varas: In this city that might as well have been Pucon for the similarity in feel and even sight, I went from feeling down and lonely to feeling young and hot…all in one beautiful day. I started out my first night in Puerto Varas treating myself to dinner and a bit of wine. I was the only one dining alone in the restaurant, which normally doesn’t bother me, but for some reason this evening I felt like all the eyes in the place were on me. I tried to be inconspicuous in a corner, but it seemed as I people watched, they watched back. I detected slight pity in their eyes which was likely my own reflection. I ordered a hot chocolate at the end of the meal and my waiter kept bringing me cookies I didn’t ask for. It was sweet, and bolstered my spirits. The next morning, however, I awoke in a funk, feeling lonely, wishing I had a someone, and trying not to listen to the self-deprecating thoughts that were flowing through my brain. In an effort to cheer myself, I went and had my hair done in salon, then took a bus to the Saltos de Petrohue, some waterfalls outside of town. The falls were beautiful, and everywhere I looked couples were enjoying them together. I focused on the water, trees and volcanoes in the distance. Later on the bus ride home, I plugged in my mp3 player and let sad songs solidify my mood.
That night, a friend I had met in Quintero messaged me that he was in Puerto Varas, and where was I? Perfect! We decided to meet for a drink. I asked my 20 yr old roommate if he’d like to join and he did. We met my friend in front of his hostel, and one of his roommates was there to join us as well. This guy was a 24 year old taking a break from studying medicine by traveling across South America. He almost immediately started flirting with me, which was very sweet. It turned into one of those multi-bar nights that I rarely partake in anymore, I will blame the influence of being with people much younger than myself. Around bar 2 or 3, I can’t remember, the subject of our respective ages came up. The youngest was my roommate at 20. Next was the 24 year old, then my friend in his early 30’s, and then me…at 38. The 24 yr old proceeded to make my day with the hilarious comment of “Really? I wouldn’t have thought you were that old…but you’re hot and I’d still shag you!” It was pretty fantastic, I laughed out loud. Two bars later we all somehow ended up in a nightclub which I will swear was filled with children no older that 12 or 13. I was over the night out, it was sometime around 2 or 3 in the morning. We were all pretty drunk. Everyone parted ways, and suddenly, I was left feeling desirable again.
(Click on the photo below for pictures of Puerto Varas….sorry, I have none to share of my drunken pals!)
Chiloe: I arrived in Chiloe two days after the “incident” in Puerto Varas. I walked into the hostel only to be greeted by a voice that sounded familiar, but I couldn’t see the face from the sun light coming in through the windows. Sure enough, it was the 24 year old from Puerto Varas! I almost laughed out loud but was able to contain myself. We were in the same hostel that night and the next morning, and though I attempted small talk he pretty much hid from me the entire time! We were the only two people in the dorm room and pretty much didn’t have a conversation. His embarrassment was palpable, and I thought it was all really hilarious. This is why dating young will not work for me.
Chiloe is a beautiful island, all green rolling hills with sheep and horses and cows. I met a German girl at the hostel who is close to my age, which was really refreshing. We went together to see a penguin colony, picking up another stray German on the bus ride there who joined us for the day. We all had a fantastic time together. It was really refreshing to be with people of like mind and temperament, with all of us being in roughly the same place in our lives. The girl left the next morning, but the German guy and I rented a car and toured around the island. We had a great time together, and he somewhat restored my faith in the ability of people to really love. He has fallen for a beautiful Peruvian girl who has fallen for him, and there is talk of expatriating and a new life together. He is very sweet. He is flying to Lima to be with her for a weekend before returning to southern Chile for some trekking. We will meet up again in Punta Arenas and have a great hike together before he again heads to Lima for a month with his girl. I wish them lasting love, I have to believe that it is possible.
(Click on the picture below for photos of Chiloe)