January 17, 2019

This update is coming to you from my third floor room that is built into the attic of Hostal Casa Azul in Puerto Veras, Chile. The vaulted ceiling is so close to my bed that I’ve bumped my head twice on the rafter just above me, even though I swore the first time I wouldn’t do it again. I must be tired. It took 26 hours on the road including bus station waiting time to get here from Vicuña. Puerto Varas is situated on the southwest shore of lake Llanquihue (please don’t ask me how to say it), the second largest lake in Chile, and is considered the northern gateway to Patagonia. First though, back to busses. This is how most common people (like me) get around in Chile. Their bus system is a thing of beauty. I’ve ridden 11 busses so far and never has one been late. You can be walking anywhere and if a bus approaches, even a fancy double decker sleeper on a five hundred mile journey, it will stop for you. All you have to do is put out your arm and give a special code-like flick of your wrist, and you’re in. I’ve learned this secret movement, works great. At bus stations entire families show up to say goodby to a loved one, all in tears. It’s so beautifully emotional it brings me to tears. They all look over at me and say with a smile, “who are you?” As I stand staring at them with tears in my eyes. There is a lot of love in the air at these bus stations and I soak it up. I equate the bus station in Santiago, where I was yesterday, with a giant heart. There are a hundred busses pulling in and out at a time, whoosh in, pause, whoosh out, pause. Unbelievable, because there is also the big love thing going on in rhythm to the coming and going. The road and the heart. We don’t see that at our airports anymore because we’re too busy getting yelled at by an airport cop to get the heck moving already as we give a hug from our car window. Just sayin…

I’ll be holing up in this hostel for two days trying to figure out how to get a few pounds off Stanley the backpack, then walking the shore of the lake to Ensenada, which lies at the base of Volcano Osorno, then cross country to lake Todos Los Santos, then back to Ensenada, then southerly along the base of Volcano Calbuco to Ralun (see map). This area is very lush, I’m way south of the dry Andes I spent the last ten days in. I’ll get rained on. I’ll go hungry, which is a good thing because the only food here has been cheese empanadas and pastry, and southern Chile was settled by Germans so now it’s more cheese and sausage and bratwurst. I swear these dear people don’t even know vegetables have been invented!

Well I sure am liking this attic space. It’s cozy warm from the heat of the day, there’s an old wooden desk in it that looks like it was taken from Ferdinand Magellan’s ship, a nice little window facing Volcano Orsono, which is handy because I’ll see it blow, if it does. It’s 10:30 pm my time, good night and sweet dreams.

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