Sorry I haven´t posted for a long time. I haven´t had access to a computer and have been a bit sleep deprived and not very happy. I´ve been having problems with my traveling partner, who has a penchant for alcohol and night life. Being the opposite, it makes for a less than happy situation. In any case, I last posted 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. I think I already wrote of this. Basically, 2 hours to go 15 miles. Very slow. I felt like 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 and 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 which is the name of one of the 2 mythological serpents that are in a constant fight with one another. Ten Ten is the serpent of the land that fights the sea serpent, who likes humans and tries to create land for them. I realized that one of my goals on this trip is to look beyond the tourist facade, to see what life is really 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 also heavy, and I´ve been trying to lighten my load in more ways than one. I hitchhiked on the island a few times, which is really safe. 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. Three months without a car is very much life changing. Hopefully it´ll stick when I get home, though I´m sure I´ll take it for granted again. 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 on Chiloe and the meanings of the town names there, which are mostly in their language. For example, 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.
The national park near the town of Cucao is beautiful, though there are few trails. I walked through a really beautiful rain forest area, 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!