Howard & Elsa in Chile - III

I will try to remember the past few weeks since my last report. Too much goes on in a day to really
recall it all, so...

Stayed far to long in Puchon, but what the hell we had a good time there. Met some really nice folks from Santiago who took us on an extended excursion to their land on Lago Ranco. Santiago and Suzanne were great. He competed in the Mexico City Olympics for Chile and she was a Peace Corp volunteer in Columbia in the 60s. When you mention Lago Ranco to the Chileans they tell you it is one of the best lakes around for beauty and clean water. I think they are right.

Also ran into gringo kids on the street in Puchon. Donīt know if we picked them up or they picked us up, but kids they were. Yes, anyone under 30 is a kid, period. Those are the rules. Brittany, Dawn, Melissa and Shannon. Santa Barbara, Boise, Alaska and Modesto, respectively. Oh yeah, canīt forget the girls, Alex, Wales and Johanna, Germany, that Shannon picked up. Before we left we took a local bus to another lake town, Carbuagua, where we planned on getting off the bus before town and walking to some waterfalls. The driver forgot us and the road signs didnīt show us where to get off so we rode into town and walked back to the falls. The town itself was beautiful and very low key. The lakes are so large that you can really choose the size of town you choose to stay in, small and low key or large with super amenities. Well the walk was long.. just a few kilometers turned into a trek, but rural anywhere is what we enjoy most so all was fine. Country roads, farms and two volcanoes.
Next stop, Valdivia, a university town on three rivers. It is always rainy there but we had nothing but sun shine. Got a room in a really nice hotel on the river and then wandered around town, ate fish, drank beer, you know the usual. On the way back to the hotel got caught up in a rock concert. Had no idea that it was a Santana cover band, loved it and partied with the Chileans. College kids.. Next day off to
Niebla, a little village on the Pacific coast. Local folks swimming and sunbathing. All in all Valdivia is
a very nice place to visit and I find myself missing it.

Next came Puerto Varas, little lake town 15 miles from Puerto Montt, a port town on the sea. Another strange thing happened here. I was watching sail boats on the lake from a little bar, there arenīt that many boats here, so when one came onshore I asked if it was for rent. No privado, but come back tomorrow at ten and we can sail. I returned the next day and the owner of the sailboat took me out for a sail. We headed out, he gave me the tiller and told me to head back to shore. He jumped out of the boat and said he had to meet his family for a mountain bike ride and that I should sail his boat all day if I liked. I liked so I sailed. Elsa said that I seemed to get my sailing shoes back on! A definite surprise to have someone hand you his boat for the day.....

Then we headed for Chiloe, chill o way. Chiloe is an island about 120 miles long, just a short ferry ride
from the mainland, but it is light years behind the rest of Chile. All of Chileīs students backpack down
here and they were everywhere. Actually ran into some we had met when we and they were hitch hiking to Ensenada on the same lake as Puerto Varas. Castro is the main town. A poor run down port town. Looked real rough. We love it!

Then a trip over the Andes to Argentina. We spent the night in Entre Lagos, a small town before the border. We are now in Bariloche, Argentina. I would have loved to be here 30 years ago before it grew up!

Tomorrow we start heading north along the foothills of the Andes. We are about nine hundred miles south of where we want to spend a bunch of time, northern Argentina. Expect it to be just like Sonora, and Arizona but with bigger canyons and higher mountains. So, so long for a while.

Will try to send some pics when we get to a better internet cafe....


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