I haven´t posted for some time as I haven´t had access to a computer, have been a bit sleep deprived and frankly not very happy. I’ve been having problems with my traveling partner, who has a penchant for alcohol and night life. I’m the opposite, and have had some pretty scary experiences including death threats and abandonment. In my last post I wrote about travels to Petrohue and the waterfall, and the national park system in Chile. Since then, I traveled to the island of Chiloe and stayed 4 days in Ancud, a very working class town on the northern coast of Chiloe where it rained at least an inch a day and seemed to be perpetually under a raincloud. The local bus system was more than slow. It took 2 hours to go 15 miles. It was a study in patience, and a view of life for the people living in Chiloe. After 4 days of rain, we took a bus to Castro, a very pretty town on the coast half way down the island. It was a sunny day, and I took advantage of the day and walked to a peninsula called Ten Ten, the mythical serpent of the land that fights the sea serpent, who likes humans and tries to create land for them. I really liked looking beyond the tourist facade, to see what life was like for locals. So I take the same local buses, stay in the same habitations, step in the same dog shit. I´ve been collecting recommendations from travelers about where to go based on my interests. It seems like a better way to go than reading lonely planet or other travel books, since a person can guage my interests better than a book. Books are heavy, and I´ve been trying to lighten my load in more ways than one. I hitchhiked on the island a few times. People in Chiloe are really nice, and this time of year there aren´t really tourists, so the people who stop are locals who understand what it´s like not to have a car. It´s amazing how tough life is without a car. I’ve been without a car three months now. Hopefully it´ll stick when I get home, though I bet I´ll take wheels for granted. I´m glad I went to Chiloe. I met some really nice folk musician brothers that gave me a ride back to Castro. They told me lots of interesting tales about the indigenous people of Chiloe and the town names which are mostly in Mapuche. Dahcahue means the place where the dahcas would dock. Dahcas were the small boats that the native people used to go from the main island to one of the small islands in the archapelago on the west side of Chiloe.
It´s been 5 days since arriving in Chiloe, an island filled with mythology and the influence of the Spanish. The island has a unique culture. We stayed in Ancud for 4 nights, during which time it rained 5 inches. I took several micros, mini buses that are local, rural, and incredibly slow. One bus took 3 hours to go 20 miles, and had moss and lichen growing in the window slots. The other bus trip went to a peninsula and took 4 hours, covering approximately 35 miles. We stayed with a very kindly woman in an hospedaje, who spends her whole day cooking over a hot stove. Casuela, a seafood soup special in the south of Chile, curanto, a speciality with meat, chicken, and shellfish. We tried the latter, which cooked all day on her wood burning stove, and ate fresh bread every morning. The cons were sleeping on the first floor with 10 rooms above us in an old rickety house below a very boisterous group of workers who decided to hit the bottle hard one night. I wasn´t able to get to sleep till after 6am. Aside from sleep deprivation, I enjoyed the houses with elm shinges (tejas de alerces) and the houses of fishermen, as well as sitting in the front seat of the local bus and talking with the bus drivers. One asked me how was the tour, implying that the trip over dirt streets was a tour. I am happy to be going to Castro, but will miss the beauty of the fishing village of Ancud.
The national park near the town of Cucao was beautiful, though there were few trails. I walked through a rain forest, with a peat colored rivulet running through it, and read about the special trees, the native people and how they used the plants and trees there, and the shaman or curanderos, mostly women, who use the plants to cure emotional and physical diseases. There is a wonderful cabin there, and a lovely wood stove. I had a lovely hot chocolate and got the chance to dry out from the constant rain. I had a great laugh with a friend the other day. He was telling me about the horrors of the Romney election campaign, and I told him that I prefered stepping in dog shit to listening to the lies that will continue until November. At least you can scape dog shit off your shoes.
Sounds like a fantastic experience minus shitty shoes and carousing partner. Loved the Ten Ten story and descriptive naratives. I am without car for awhile now too, and if you need a reminder I’m happy to help. Magical journeys and blessed well being to you Lisa,
Lisa, Thank you for the update. It sounds amazing, even with rain. Katy