Pucon - 12th July 2008
12.07.2008 - 12.07.2008 4 °C
when...a goatied (is that even a word?) man came up to me saying he had a hostel where I could stay. He seemed friendly enough, so deciding to trust my judgement I clamboured aboard his Toyota pick up.
No blood on the seats. No discarded spliff on the car floor. Just some muddy treadmarks from some previous passengers. 3 mins later, we were at his hostel called "Donde German". I went inside. Most of the other backpackers were from Brazil. Very nice! Log fire! I decided to stay. I was happy to be somewhere other than Santiago for the time being.
I keep knocking Santiago - it's not really fair. I was only there for 5 minutes and just before I left, I had an incredibly nice fish stew. It's just that there's more to see. So much more. I hoped Pucon would satisfy.
Pucon is delightful. A road called O'Higgins runs 50m wide and 1km long through this tiny town. If I were able to run, it would take me under 5 mins to complete the entire strip. However, a dodgy ankle means the journey down is a bit more leisurely. But anyway, the point is; that's how small it is. However alongside that stretch of road there are numerous bars, cafe's restaurants and at least a dozen of tour operators offering everything from:
- White Water Rafting
- Mountain Climbing
- Volcano Climbing
- Horseback Riding
I wojuld have been up for doing at least half these activities. However, the wind that gathers its strength from the Argentinian Pampas and blows forcefully across through Pucon meant a lot of the water based activities were closed due to swollen rivers. Furthermore, some very low lying clouds made it impossible to satiate the desire of many that arrive in Pucon to climb the volcano.
I wandered into one of these tour agencies that explained that winter in Chile was not a very nice experience. I didn't mind but imagine that winter in Chile was probably not a nice experience if you were in business! They also said that winter in Pucon particularly was not for the faint of heart. Oh well. Still the low lying clouds, rain and mist made for some very cool photographs.
Whilst in that agency, I made a connection with an irish girl called Sinead. We both began chatting, not realising until a goood half an hour later, that the other could speak English perfectly well.
Happy to have some English speaking company, we ended up having dinner in a pizza restaurant, where we carried on talking about various experiences. Turns out, she had been on the road for 7 months travelling alone through Argentina and now Chile. Despite being ony 25, she had a maturity and resilience that she admitted travelling had taught her.
After dinner, we parted company, and I walked back in the dark back to my hostel, except I got lost on the way. After an hour of walking around occassionally lit side-streets, I started to feel a bit cold and a bit stupid. The rain was pelting down as it would incessantly for the next 2 days. My jeans were soaked through and the cold I thought I'd recovered from before I left to come out here was presenting its ugly self once again. After asking a few people, I managed to find the hostel. In daylight, I hadn't realised how secluded and badly signposted it was. At night, it was easily missable.
I drifted off around 11pm whilst listening to a combination of my MP3 player and echoes of conversation being held in Portugese by the Brazillians in the living room below.