Thursday, April 2, 2009


After only a short week at home, I left on yet another trip with a friend, Emily Hughes, and her family from the states. Emily´s parents, Bob and Kathy, along with her brother Doug came down to visit and they had invited me to join them on their Chilean adventure to Chiloe. The Hughes live in upstate New York in and around the Adirondack Park and although its always up for debate we´ve decided they live about 3-4 hours away from Wilton. Apart from a few online courses, they didnt know much Spanish and at times they seemed to be as lost as my little sister, Hayley. Since my parents had already traveled to
Chile as well as several other Spanish speaking countries, I played less of a mediating roll when they visited. Emily, on the other hand, was translating everything and all the conversations between her parents and host parents relied her new bilingual skills. It would have been neat if my parents were lost in Chile without me, however, ordering meals at night with the Hughes sometimes became redundant.
The loop Emily had planned passed through Valdivia, Puerto Varas, Chiloe, and Pucón before heading back to Los Ángeles. The Hughe family enjoys energetically signing while crusing down the highway and at times I felt a little left out becuase of the lack of country on my IPOD. Alot of time was spent in the car, however, all the movement was well worth it. In Valdivia, we visited a colorful open air market on the river Calle Calle. The place was filled with alot produce that I had never seen before and all the discarded fish attracted a large group of sea lions in the river. The animals waited on the river bank like begging dogs and wrestled for the fish parts that the vendors tossed into the water. That afternoon, we continued on to Puerto Varas, a small town in the Lakes District, with a great view of El Volcan Orsono which belittled everything around it.
From Puerto Varas we drove south-west to the coast and crossed the the Canal de Chacao to Chiloe. Chiloe is a giant island in southern Chile which is separated culturally as well as geographically. The Isla is known for its strange mythological leyendas, Licor de Oro, and the amazing seafood it reels in from the pacific. On every sreet corner there were vendors swaying giant crabs for sale and the restaruants all specialized in seafood. We passed through Ancud first and visited a local museum that retold the story of the 1960 earthquake that triggered a 12.6 on the ricter scale and left the city in ruins. Next, we rolled on to Puñihuil where we drove along side the beautiful coastline to La Pingüinera. All of a sudden the dirt road turned into the beach and we drove along the sand until we saw a sign that said, "Penguin tours"! Not a moment later we were on a boat in the rushing water circulating the tiny coastal islands where penguin colonies fled each summer. We also saw sea otters and even a group of dolphins that chased us along the boat- by far the best day.
Our last stop was in Pucón, the city I visited with my parents. Since we passed the tourist season, Pucón´s crowed streets and active night life was turned off completely. It was such a change from just a month back, but nevertheless the scenery was beautiful and I took some more pictures of the giant Volcan Villarrica that my father and I triumphed. I was grateful for the invitation from the Hughes. Getting to Chiloe had been a goal of mine and I was thinking the whole time that my family would have loved every second. They might have already traveled to Chile, speak Spanish, one might even be a Spanish teacher, but there is still more of Chile we need to explore as a family.