Sunday, December 30, 2007

Valdivia family

These people I am staying with here in Valdivia are great. Crazy but great. I went out with Diego, the 21 year old son of the owner of this house-hostel last night. Had a great time with him but lost track of him at some point. Ended up coming back home at about 5:30 in the morning thinking I would need to be quiet on the way in so as not to wake anyone.... I needn´t have worried though since practically the whole family and several guests were still awake drinking whisky in the kitchen. And I thought I was bad. In consequence of all this, am going to hang around here till after New Year´s.

Saturday, December 29, 2007


Arrived here in Valdivia last night. Valdivia is probably only 20o km or less from Bariloche but it took over 8 hours to arrive here. Spent a good hour at both border stops and both the Argentines and Chileans removed all the baggage on the bus and searched it. The drug dog must´ve spent 30 minutes on board the bus. After awhile I was getting a little nervous...not that I have anything of course, but outside the US I do not take truth and justice for granted. Got off the bus at about 2200 and was met my a fairly well dressed man asking if I needed a place to stay...and that is how I come to be sitting here in his living room typing this email. Juan Pablo and his family run a little hostel business during the summers down here. Actually, they move out of their big house into the guest house out back during the summers to accommodate more guests. I was the only guest when I got here last night but now there are a few more...2 of which came here at my suggestion after they complained to me about their hostel when I met them at a museum today.

The Falkland Islands...Islas Malvinas?

Yes, Argentina still thinks they own the Falkland Islands. It is quite a sore spot still with the people and more so the further south you get. I read the US has not taken an official position on who has rights to the islands. Now, one of the things I´ve always liked about our country is that we seemingly are not afraid to express ourselves about what we think is right regardless of whether it is our business or it human rights in China or democracy in Latin America or whatever. But I have to say it was refreshing to see that we actually kept our mouth shut on this issue and didn´t take a side. Nice to be anonymous sometimes.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Torres del Paine

Yeah, the content of this blog is not exactly chronological. I visited this park about a week ago. I had been waiting to write this entry when I could upload the photos with it, but that may not be for awhile so we will write now and add photos later!

Torres del Paine - known as Chile´s most impressive national park. Well, let me qualify that...the Towers that I went to see were impressive...the rest of the park I hiked through did not hold a candle to the nature you see at Yellowstone, Yosemite, or Glacier NPs. The Towers look like something out of a sci-fi movie. If you saw a painting of them you would say to yourself...´the world does not really look like that!´. Ah, but it does...sometimes.

I only spent a day there, whereas most people do 3 to 5 day trips. In and out in 8 hours. Hiked about 20km. 'ValiĆ³ la pena' as they say down here (worth the trouble). Between the $24 bus ride to the park, $30 entry fee (of course only $8 for Chilenos, the dual price structure for nationals and foreigners is quite common down here) it was a pretty expensive hike.

Saw some pretty serious mountaineers during the hike...all loaded up with their gear and walking poles. Dudes are lean you wonder how they carry their gear as they have no muscle mass many of them, but then I suppose that all that muscle is only more weight to carry. Actually they probably have as much muscle as the next guy...only no fat covering it. Saw a couple people on the hike that I had seen a week earlier in Ushuaia a few hundred kilometers to the south. Not the first time that's happened down here.