June 18, 2008

back North... Chile up by 5.

So we´ve been away from internet for awhile, and are now back in Santiago, Chile. I have lots of pictures to post, which will be coming soon.

Chilean Patagonia was fantastic. I spent 2 and a half weeks there, and definitely feel like I could have spent more time.
About a week and a half ago we grabbed a bus to Cochrane, about a 9 hour ride into Patagonia. There is one road that goes the whole way, and is a beautiful ride.

Cochrane was cold and wet, but we enjoyed it nonetheless. I´ve never seen weather change like it does there. We climbed a hill overlooking the town (where there is a big COCHRANE sign that resembles the HOLLYWOOD sign), and when we looked one way, turned our heads, and then about 8 seconds later turned our heads back and could no longer see 30 feet in front of ourselves as a fog had settled in over the whole town.
The next day we grabbed a bus to La Confluenza to surprise the friend of a contact I had made and were greeted by 6 dogs and Juan Pablo. Spent the day there getting a really good look at the Baker, doing an interview, and grabbing the bus back to Cochrane from the side of the road.

From there it was on to Caleta Tortel, one of the coolest places we've been ever. It is a small city of 500 residents on the side of a mountain with no roads, only wooden boardwalks and stairs and walkways connecting everything. Needless to say, we got a workout! Met some really cool people, did a lot of walking and hiking (including a bog at the top of the mountain where when I would step, Phil (15 feet away) would move on the jello-like surface.

A few days later and back to Cochrane, then a bus to the small town of Puerto Bertrand which was next to empty, but beautiful, staying with a sweet woman in her hospedaje who picked us up when we seems stranded with no room. A lot of fly-fishermen visit here in the right season. Grabbed a bus from the side of the road back to Coyhaique from there, made travel arrangements for the rest of our trip, and flew back yesterday to Santiago.

As Phil would say, while I have loved Chile and Patagonia, it has definitely kicked my butt! A few good slips on falls on the winter ground and down a flight of stairs in, a solid dog-bite, and right through a plank in Tortel. Nothing but grace, that's for sure!

From here I have a bit more work to do in Santiago, visiting some fruit production factories, seeing the city and region, and hopefully getting an interview with the company working on the dams, HidroAysen. They have not been willing to go on video yet for an interview, or even just audio, at the places that I have tried in Patagonia. So I'm going to try again here, though my hopes are not high. You never know.

Saturday we fly to Cusco and Sunday it's on up to Machu Picchu, taking a detour the last few days for another stamp in the Passport.

June 5, 2008

more photos

I'm staying in Coyhaique for the week, continuing to study Spanish and take lessons, reach contacts, see the area and plan for the next week! there is currently a trucker strike in the country, and this region may run out of diesel, so there is a chance that my travel plans could be stalled for the long run... such is life, I guess. Hopefully it does not shut down the country.
Regardless, some more photos:

The view from the hospedaje's backyard I'm not in.

bus terminal

gotta love wires mixed with la vista.

she and i bonded on the ice in the street.

not a lot of daylight these days.

tonight: film about the dams and patagonia. tomorrow: hopefully the weather will be nice and i'll go for a hike. saturday: last spanish lesson and phil arrives. sunday: hopefully to cochrane by bus.