03.07.2013 - 03.10.2013 65 °F
After 3 days in Puerto Varas with the weather being iffy, I thought I’d try to go to Pucon, 6 hours north as the weather looked better north. It turned out it made no difference as the volcano was in the clouds here as well. I had been looking for a change of pace taking a break from touristic activities. The break has happened here despite the fact that I wanted to wait until a big city so that I could replace touristic things with some cultural and social activities. Instead it happened here and I guess I needed a rest anyway.
My experience going into the trip was that 3 months was plently long to see a lot of South America and still have time for trying to get deeper and more authentic somewhere. It turns out, this was not true. As I have travelled and seen the vastness, I have realized I could have spent 3 months in just Patagonia trekking. Seeing and hearing others' stories I haven’t even scratched the surface with what I have done. On the other hand, I could also spend 3 months just focusing on learning the language and the people and culture of just one South American country. This trip has been much more a sampler than I expected it to be.
As I got off the bus in Pucon, a local woman approached me and asked me if I was looking for lodging. I felt conflicted because I thought maybe it would be a good local experience but it also took me off balance because I wanted something nice, comfortable, in the middle of town and with a lot of excursion options. But, I reluctantly agreed and my initial reaction was grave disappointment because the hospedaje was so far from the town that upon trying to orient myself I got lost. It was a low point for the trip being in a new place and not getting what I was looking for at all. Travelling this way is certainly not convenient or easy.
I spent the rest of the day looking at hostels in town for future nights but none appealed or called out to me. I went back to the hostel and only people from Israel who all appeared to be friends with each other were staying there besides me. I felt isolated and went to bed at 10 with the intention of getting up early and transferring hostels.
The next morning I packed up, put bags downstairs ready to go, and ate breakfast and was about to leave the hostel when another Isreali who was travelling alone started talking to me. I made a judgement call to stay because it appeared that I would have people to do things with here after all. The bright side was also I had been given my own room and surprisingly the place offered a laundry service for cheap (a big plus when you only have 3 days worth of clothes!).
The weather still being lousy in the mountains and still nursing a sore ankle, I joined about 6 people to a trip to the Los Puzones termas or hot springs. It was more natural than others I had been to with outdoor pools in a nice forest and stream.
That night, I ate at a nice restaurant in Pucon and had fish and greens because I was craving something healthy.
The next day was the worst weather day of the lot, but my friend and I cooked lunch together with him showing me an Israeli dish called shakshuka. It is easy to prepare, cheap, and very tasty combination of tomato, garlic, onion, and egg.
After lunch it rained all day so I went onto finish reading my first novel in Spanish (dictionary close by). However, later that night there was a birthday party for the woman who runs the hostel and the people staying and family and friends all celebrated her birthday. I got to talk to some locals and practice my Spanish. The Israeli people staying also bought her a cake sang a traditional song raising her chair up in the air. It was a late night and an early morning.
Fortunately, the sun finally came out in Pucon today and the volcano was visible for the first time on my forth day here.
volcano from my room
I did climb the volcano today but that is for another entry ...