Pucón, Chile


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Chocolate Volcano (con't)
September 16, 2002

When we arrived in Pucón, we were immediately snatched up by Lalo, our new host-dad.

He runs a hospedaje (family run hotel thing) in the city. He owns several houses, and we are staying in one with two british people, Lalo, and his two sons. We have been fed a TON of Chilean food since we´ve been here, as Lalo has been cooking up a storm. Today, for example, we each were force-fed more than 4 empanadas. They were tasty, but we were very bloated.

Yesterday, we went to Lalo´s house in the national park and went trekking for about 4 hours. It was quite steep and slippery on the way up, as there was mud and snow everywhere. Fun though. We saw beautiful, crystal-clear lakes and streams at the top, and also some funky ever-greens. After the hike, we ate a big lunch cooked, again, by Lalo, then headed over to the thermal springs. Ahhhh, thermal springs. Nice and hot, and they didn´t smell like sulfur like some natural springs do.

We plan on being here through the 18th, which is Chile´s independance day. It will be nicer to spend it with Lalo and his family, I think, than with other English-speaking tourists.

Gotta run, getting late. Ciao amigos,

Alison and Patty

Pucón, Chillán, Valparaíso

Tue Sep 24, 2002 9:25 pm

Ok, so, after day 1 in Pucón, it rained every single day, and we did not get the opportunity to climb up the volcano. Two days in a row, we tried to go horseback riding at 2pm. At 1:30 both days, the sun was shining and things were looking up. Lalo called the company for us to tell the guys to bring the horses down from the top of some hill to the bottom, where we would board. As soon as we stood up from the couch at Lalo´s house to go outside, however, INSTANT RAIN and hail. The hail was a nice touch. Rain alone would have been bearable, but the prospect of getting smacked in the face with ice globules was not appealing to either of us. So, at the last minute, TWO TIMES, we cancelled our horseback riding trip.

We did manage to celebrate Chilean independance day in style, though. The party started the night of the 17th, and we started the night off right with a round of

Pisco sours at a café downtown. There, we met a group of British travelers who were passing the rainy day drinking there and playing cards. We agreed to go out to the pubs later on, but first, we had to go home for dinner. Living with a family is not quite the same as living in a hostel. ;)

That night, I believe we had mashed potatos, hot dogs, and vegetables. Quite good.

Then we went out to a bar called The Mamas and the Tapas (clever, eh?). Around 4 am (chileans know how to party), we headed over with a group of people to a fonda. A fonda is where Chileans meet to dance and drink and celebrate their independance day. There we danced the merenge and the ranchero (Mexican), and I attempted, poorly, to dance the cueca, a traditional Chilean dance that involves complicated steps, clapping, and hankerchiefs. We rolled back to Lalo´s place around 7 am. Would Lalo be mad that we were out so late? Heck no! He was out in the bars with us till 4. :) Not that anyone was going to get good sleep in the house anyway. Lalo was unfortunate enough to be living next to the two loudest fondas in town. We were exhausted, or else we would have been kept up all night by their dueling music.

The next day was spent recuperating from the festivities. Chicken soup and the soundtrack channel, our constant companion in Lalo´s house. The soundtrack channel plays music videos from movie soundtracks 24-7. By the end of our stay, I think I had their playlist memorized.

The 19th was another lazy day. Note to other travelers: Ecolé hostel has great food at a reasonable price. We left Pucón on the 20th for Chillán.

(continued in Chillán and Valparaíso. . .)

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