Archive for January, 2012

It wasn’t a Tuesday

Posted on January 30, 2012 by 15 Comments

Before we knew it, we were all on a midnight flight to Mexico City.

I often give the Random Tuesday explanation whenever someone asks about what we’re doing next. Of course, even that explanation can’t be correct.

We called Angela’s mother to check-in and were hit some some shocking news. Only hours removed.

Unexpectedly, Angela’s father passed away.

We flew to Houston as quickly as possible and have now been here several days. It been tough, but it’s also good to be back. We’ll stay here a while and spend time with family and try to be useful. Bode has already claimed that he will move in with his cousins and we can return to South America without him (he’s serious).

Just last week I was joking that nothing has changed in years. Now, so much changed in just a few days.

 

 

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More Frutillar

Posted on January 24, 2012 by 1 Comment

We spent a few more days in Frutillar. I caught up on my sleep after a hectic week of work and plane rides. Angela and Bode continued their routine of sleeping until noon and then going to the beach. Tough life, these two.

I don’t think we could have picked a better place for them to call home while I was away. Nice, relaxed town. Great warm beach. Tons of activities to keep Bode happy…

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It’s just a step to the left…

Posted on January 23, 2012 by 2 Comments

It was a quick and exhausting week. I was called back into the old lab for a proverbial ‘laying on of hands’ – I’m sort of known for it. Start with something that doesn’t quite work right and then make it sing. This might shed some light on the vintage VW thing.

But, my big travel week back to the U.S. started with a fizzle. My flight from Puerto Montt was delayed, which resulted in missing my connection and being stranded in Santiago for 24 hours. I even had to get my exit papers nullified (NULO!) and try again the next day. Once I entered the U.S., my flight to SFO was canceled, I was re-routed through Chicago, only to have that change. Fifty hours after leaving, I finally made it to San Francisco via JFK.

Even though I was in a bit of a daze, my first thoughts on coming back to the Bay Area after 2.5 years were that nothing had changed. Things looked about the same. When I walked into my old office building, it was pretty much as it was when I left. When I went to lunch at the bagel place down the street, the same people worked there and they even remembered my order. I met some friends for dinner and everyone seemed about the same. I may have discovered some sort of time warp.

Still, everything was very different from what I now call home. My morning sunrise over the lake and volcano was replaced with a view of a Honda dealership. A leisurely walk to dinner down the shore was replaced with piss-stained sidewalks and vagrants. One thing that continuously stood out was just how convenient life is in the U.S. – my nearest intersection had at least four fast food restaurants and two gas stations. I suppose convenience is often better than inconvenience.

Overall, it was a good trip. I had success at the office and, of course, I also managed to squeeze in some time to see some friends.

Still, nowadays, the best part of any solo trip is the end: coming back home.

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Still Here

Posted on January 20, 2012 by 4 Comments

Things here in Frutillar, Chile have been great. We stumbled upon a great place to hang out while Jason’s gone. But we haven’t done much, sort of a little break from traveling I guess.

Our cabin is nice, pretty small but it has a toaster and a microwave so that seems really deluxe.  The floor is covered with cars, legos and army men. We sleep in, we do some work, we go to the beach. We thought about going to the museum, but ‘the best museum of German colonial history in the area’ didn’t really grab us.

I also wanted to go see The Magic Flute, but Bode said he’d rather climb the rock wall and play chess. That sounds pretty good, too.

 

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Bonding Time

Posted on January 19, 2012 by 2 Comments

Once the sun finally came out, Bode and I found out why this lakeside resort was so popular. It’s beautiful.

From the lake, there are views of 3 volcanoes on a clear day. There is a long sandy insect-free beach that runs the entire length of town and enterprising hippies have found just about every distraction anyone could want. Trampolines, bouncy houses and Bode’s favorite- a rock wall.

 

 

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Willkommen bei Frutillar

Posted on January 17, 2012 by 4 Comments

Since it was raining pretty hard, we drove to Puerto Varas. It was billed as the next Pucon, so Bode and I thought we’d kick it here for week while Jason went back to the ole US of A.  We tried, we really did. We drove around, we looked at hotels, hostels, cabanas and hospedajes. They were either all booked or way too expensive. I had a running list of reasons I didn’t want to camp for a week with Bode, and the rain was at the top.

And after a few hours, the sky cleared a bit so we just blew out of there and decided to keep going around the lake.

Frutillar was listed as expensive and the beach was packed with tourists on vacation. But without too much effort we were able to find a cabana for a couple nights, much cheaper than in Puerto Varas.  It rained again for the next 2 days, so we were thrilled to have a little more space and shelter.

Frutillar is quaint and cute. But, the Über-German-ness seems a tad forced.  It’s got a nice beach and a rock wall Bode has been eyeing, so this will be our home-base until Jason returns. It’s been 3 years since we’ve been apart. I’m kind of looking forward to it!

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volcan osorno

Posted on January 13, 2012 by 1 Comment

We seem to be losing in the game of outrunning the ash of the temperamental volcano Puyehue. We left Entre Lagos in search of clearer skies, but didn’t really have a destination. So, we followed the dusty path to the town of Puerto Octay… described as “quaint” and “German”. A bit of a stretch in our opinion.  We stopped at the town square to pick up some empanadas for lunch and stumbled upon a big bike race that was going to start soon. Not exactly the weather I’d pick for a bike race.  The day was still hazy so we decided to keep driving.

Out of town, we also passed by many overland bicyclists. Apparently this is a well-known route for them, too. But the ash and the enormous biting insects made their ride look unbearable.

We drove around the lake to Ensenada. Another town we thought we might stop at. It is summer vacation here in Chile, and the lake towns are packed with holidaymakers. Every one of them carrying a tree branch and swatting away the giant flies.

We drove up to the foot of Volcan Osorno thinking we could camp there. It was a beautiful drive, and Red Beard made it up with little problem. The area we were told had camping had a big sign that said no camping, so after a quick look around and some photos, we started down. When we reached town, the bike race participants from Puerto Octay were just starting the climb.  Bugs were circling them as they climbed the volcano, and they all looked pretty miserable.

There are two campsites on the outskirts of Puerto Varas, the cheaper one being about $36 USD for 24 hours. When you pack a extended Chilean family in there for an all-day asada, maybe that isn’t a big expense. But when you arrive at 8pm and just really want to make some noodles and sleep it seems exorbitant. No discount for 12 hours.

We haven’t seen rain in a long time, and we have apparently come far enough south to start seeing green and wet landscapes again.

And then, the storm came.  It was windier than Aunt Edna after 7-bean casserole.

Bode had zero interest in sleeping in the pop-top in the storm, so all three of us were down below, along with all our possessions (we did leave the bike outside). In the morning, we packed up from the inside and took off to explore Puerto Varas.

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