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Nick and Laina's Adventures

Markets, Friends and Fun in Santiago, and the Long Trip North (Back to the Tropics!)

CHILE | Tuesday, 17 February 2009 | Views [1195] | Comments [1]

So our Second day in Pucón started with a rainstorm and we decided not to head to the national park. Our hosts, Kate and Tom gave us directions to the river, and let us borrow their bikes, (only two) to head out there. Pucón is in a beautiful location and as we head towards the river, the tall mountains loom over head. From the road we got onto a bike trail that was absolutley covered in ripe blackberries, we ate so many that my stomach hurt even before we got to our lunch picnic spot. Once at the river, we pulled out corys fishing stuff, and tried to fish, unfortunately we didnt catch anything (and then cory lost his slippers). So we went back to picking blackberries. We decided that we wanted to bake a big blackberry cobbler, so we all dove into the patch (not literally) and picked as many as we could. In the end we picked about 2 kilos, or 4 pounds, maybe even more, but it was alot.

That night Kate made a big dinner  cassarole, which was delicious! And for dessert, we ate a perfectly cooked cobbler, with an oatmeal crust.

When we woke up the next morning, we were going to head to national park, and it was a rainstorm again. We got up early anyways so that we could see if the weather gets better, and then we will go to the park. A few hours passed, and the rain did not slow, so we decided to hang around town until our bus picks us up for a night trip to Santiago, the capital of Chile.

Saying our goodbyes to our fun hosts, Kate from the UK and Tom from Chezch, we got onto our night bus to santiago, where we will meet our friends Phillipe and Elodie who we met at the begining of our trip in Rio de Janeiro!

Getting into Santiago, I was able to tell an immediate difference to the other big cities I was in. Santiago is very clean. The sidewalks are full, not cracked, and in the big open spaces, they are generally free of Graffiti! We met up with our friends, and made two more, Shannon from austrailia, and Carlos, her boyfriend, from santiago. All four of them have a very fun couchsurfing house and we were so happy to be there. WE headed out to a large market and saw some really amazing prices. Strawberries, 300 pesos per kilo = 25 cents per pound (and they were delicous!) Grapes, 200 pesos per kilo, even cheaper! Melons, peppers, everything! It was so cheap! We decided to make them a shnitzel dinner, I learned from my dad and Oma. Chicken, 1200 pesos per kilo, 1$ a pound! Back at the house, we filled the kitchen with people and food, and made a feast, 3 kilos of Shnitzel! And we ate it all accompanied with a delicious, cool, fruit salad (mostly strawberries!)

The two swiss girls that left that evening gave us 3 Milka chocolate bars...MMmmm I love Milka! Our next day in Santiago brought us to a large mountain and a cool trolly car which we rode to the top. At the top of this mountain within santiago there is a large statue of a weeping virgin, and a large Chapel. From there we hiked down a long path and saw many sprinkilers that were shooting water either on a telephone pole, or straight out onto the asphault. Once back at the house, shannon made everyone veggie burritios! Delicious! We made plans with Shannon and Carlos, that tommorow we will head to carlos´s families beach house in a nearby town, Algorobba.

Our last day in Santiago before we head up to San Pedro De Atacama was mostly cleaning up and getting together som last minute things, before heading to Algorobba. We grabbed the late bus to the beach town, and got to the house, around 10:30 We started up some fun Cuban music, and lit up the Asado grill. Tonight for dinner is longinis, similar to Chorizo! And some steak! We had a great night of food and fun, and stayed up very late!

The next morning we got to see what the town of Algorobba was like. The beach town is really picturesque, and is surrounded(on one side) by a beautiful pacific ocean(I do love the pacific!) We had deep fried empanadas for beakfast and then caught the bus back to santiago, and packe up our stuff for another 30 hour bus ride to San Pedro De Atacama.

Long story short, we almost missed the bus.

The bus ride to San Pedro is stunningly desert-like. In case you dont know, The Atacama Desert is the single driest place on the earth. I was able to figure it out myself by looking out the window. Some places in the Atacama have not seen rain in 200 years! Many of the weather stations have not recived one drop since the begining of their existance. I know it all sounds cool, but driving through it was actually kind of boring.

We arrived in Calama, Chile around 5 pm, and bought another ticket to get to San Pedro in about 2 hours. Calama was a poor dirty town, so we bought a cheap meal and headed back to the bus station to wait for the bus. Our bus to San Pedro left right as the sun was setting, so I knew that unfortunately we would not be arriving during sunlight hours. As we got off the bus in San Pedro, we struck up conversation with the Chilieano behind us (in english) and he was more then happy to join in our crew and look for a place to stay together.

Entering San Pedro at night was a very cool experience. The town was very dark, and many buildings were made out of mode and adobe bricks. As we walked down a small alleyway, I looked into the buildings and saw fires, and candlelight. I felt like we were entering a mideval village, also because I had a big pack, I felt like I was a traveller from the old days entering a old villiage. San Pedro was easily the most spanish looking town we had been in  and I really liked its feel. We found a cheap place to cap for the night, 2000 Chilean pesos, about $3.50 and settled down.

The next day I got to see what San Pedro was like. It was similar to the way I saw it the night before, however, it seemed to be poorer then I thought. There are lots of travellers her looking for a fun excursion out onto one of the surrounding deserts. The town of san pedro only has water from 8 am to 9 pm. I have never been in a place that didnt have 24 hour running water (camping exempt) so for me it was quite an experience of timing! We bought our tickets for our excursion out on the Salar Del Uyuni, which will take us through a large desert, and out onto the salt flats and into Bolivia.

We went to bed early, and excited for our adventure the next day! To Bolivia and the Salar del Uyuni!

Lainas list of things we learned:

Being a Cowgirl in the Austrailian outback.

Making money in Austrailia and New Zealand, as well as what life is like there, and the differences between them

The difficulties of working in tourism in Chile

Work without pay and non-communicative bosses, and really poor pay in Chile

More Sterotypes of english people.

How to live for 10 years while working and traveling

How to fly a really big kite




Wow! Sounds a bit dry. hahaha. You are seeing so many different climates and cultures and economies. Where would you go back to? What would you do differently? Donnie and Nichole had their baby Emma. She weighed the same as you and Tasha did at birth - 6 lbs. 12 oz. Funny, huh? I hope Tasha told you before I did. We got back from St. Croix at midnight. Yesterday it was 85, we were snorkeling, sunbathing, ahhh! Today it is snowing! Yuck! How did that happen? Anyway, I've been checking the mail every day, looking for the birthday hat that you promised to knit for me and send in time for my big 50! Still looking......

  Mommy Feb 19, 2009 10:15 AM

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