Tuesday, July 21, 2009

one more for my baby, and one more for the road

Hello follower of Hello Lovely Chocloate People. today is unfortunately the last day of my travels in South America as I have to cut my trip short and head back to the US for personal reasons (don´t worry I´m fine). Thus I had to cancel the Peru part of my trip. But don´t worry I plan to keep you guys updated on my future travels while in business school. I mean i´m going to italy in 1 month for school so i should be back then.

Take care,

Monday, July 20, 2009

It was bound to happen

So this morning Thomasin and I realized that we had to get our rental car back to
Budget in Santiago in 4 hours before it was late. We were 3.5 hours away from the airport. For an entire week we've aggressively disregarded the speed limits, to great effect. We spent days watching other's get pulled over, and laughed heartily. So heartily I almost vomited.

Of course that's why there's a thing called Karma. On the way back to Santiago this morning I got "waved" over by a cop. Yes you read that correctly, waved over. The cops don't chase you with a siren, they expect you to politely pull over. Several days before, we were told by our concierge in Santa Cruz that if we get pulled over to tell the police we're American and don't speak English. And presto it worked!! They were so frustrated with us repeatedly saying "no comprende" that they just let us go. They also thought I was Brazilian, but I said NO, I'm American, or whatever.

So we were on our way....until 1 hour later another group of cops pulled me over for going
9 miles over the speed limit. 9!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Then the cop wouldn't give me back my ID until I paid the fine at the municipality which we had no idea where it was. I was more angry because they were making us late turning in our rental car. But I was going nowhere without that license and after 20 minutes they decided to escort us to the municipality to pay the $80 fine. I drove 1 kilometer under the speed limit the rest of the way to the airport. And luckily the lady at the rental car desk didn't make us pay the late fee. I think it was because I'm Brazilian.

All up in that volcano

Because too much happened yesterday on our 5 hour hike on the volcano I'm really just gonna post pictures. We used the same company as before (it's a French run company) and we were lead by our guide Alex, who was awesome and very French. I mean that in the best way possible.

There aren't really words to describe the experience except that it felt like we were explorers. or at the very least like we were in the movie The Day After Tomorrow and had to improbably trek across the snow from DC to New York to rescue our son who's trapped inside the New York Public Library eventhough half the wold has died. Cause that could totally happen.

I'm not going to business school anymore because now it's gonna interfere with my desire to be an explorer. Could you imagine?

It's gettin' hot in herrrrreeee

We were gettin' so hot we decided to take our clothes off....well not all of them. we had to leave our bathing suits on in order to go into the famous natural hot springs of Pucon. Our muscles were so sore after rafting that we figured that this was the best way to do it. However, it almost didn't happen.

We drove 1 hour to find the really nice hot springs, but due to the poor signage we missed it entirely and by the time we found it, it was closed. Needless to say I was angry. So we drove 1.5 hours in the other direction to go to the 24 hour hot springs, which was a nice back up. We almost missed that one because ironically the steam from the hot springs blocked the signs. twice.

But the journey was totally worth it. unfortunately it was night and steamy and the pictures came out terribly.

Rolling, rolling, rolling on a river

Pucon is an outdoor adventure paradise. If there's anything you've wanted to do in the wild and were too afraid or embarrassed to do it before, well then Pucon is the place for you. ewww, no not that thing. or that thing either. I'm talking about such things as white water rafting. This was Thomasin's first time and she LOVED it!!!

We went through a great agency called Aguaventura (which i think means either water adventures or donkey's breath. We'll never know). Anyway, for some reason they let us start out with Class IV rapids even though most of the people had never done it before. Our guide spent most of the trip either trying to knock people off the boat or run into large rocks. I don't know a lot about rafting or appropriate guiding techniques, but pretty sure that's not in the manual. Irregardless, it was ridiculous. And yes, the water was freezing. I fell in once, and jumped in once. I couldn't feel my feet for 3 hours.

We even made friends, who said they were going to add us to their Facebook page, but they totally haven't yet. WTF?!? guess we'll never find them since we actually never introduced ourselves.

Btw, the photos of us don't even come close to capturing the trip.

Life is a highway, I want to ride it all night long

After a day at the volcano we headed down to Pucon, the beautiful nature region in Southern Chile. On the way there we stopped on the side of the road at what appeared to be some lady's house to have our 150th empanada for the week.

Then we got back on the road of endless tolls. Based on my calculation, we spent about, let's see....carry the 1, divide by Pi, distribute the coefficients, and, yes we spent about $70 going from Santiago to Pucon. On tolls!!!! I'm telling you Chile, these toll fees better be going to good use rather than supporting Juanita's empanada stand on the side of the road.

We arrived in Pucon at dusk, and just in time to take incredible pictures from our hotel room. We basically lived in an amazing log cabin that faced the lake and the volcano. We forgot what fresh air smelled like. It smells like volcanic ash.

Remember Pompeii

Well this is not the same, but Laja is an insane volcano. It would have probably been better (read: safer) to navigate the volcanic rocks in an SUV instead of a Toyota Corolla, but, ummm, the Corolla was so much cheaper. Thomasin was afraid the entire time that I would drive off the cliff, but that was not to be. I'm not stupid.

The scenery was breathtaking and kind of scary. There were little memorials and flowers everywhere in remembrance of people who died. It is completely unclear how and why these people died, but I think it had something to do with the volcano. Either that or gout.