It wasn’t really an adventure. Chiloe was very quiet. It was more like a time for me to relax and learn to slow down. I was used to this kind of backpacking lifestyle by that time and I really enjoyed it. People want to earn a lot of money to have freedom to do what they want to do but it turns out you don’t need to have that much of money and you can still enjoy that kind of freedom. But it all depends on your choices in life – some people want to travel luxuriously. For me, I don’t need to stay in a 5-star hotel to be satisfied. I recently talked to a guy who after learning I volunteered in Cambodia said, ‘I really admire you’ I was shocked and then he continued, ‘for volunteering.’ I responded, ‘the organisation gave me food and accommodation.’ He then smiled, ‘but most of the people want more than that!’ I then realised, yes, that’s true. I only need food and accommodation. With these two things, I am happy. That’s what I call ‘stability’. Well, having money is good. But I think the process of making money is even better – like doing what you like to do while getting paid. It’s not that I like to be exploited. Some employers / people like to exploit the others and they target your soft spots. It’s just that sometimes, when you enjoy doing something and be the one who you really want to be (I believe nobody wants to be a villain), you can achieve a lot.
Let’s go back to February 2013.
I went to Achao (an island near Chiloe island) where there was a wooden church. The lady at the reception at the hostel suggested I go to the island first and then come back to town to do some sightseeing. I took her advice.
I took the bus. I was quite lucky because when I went there, it was about to depart. It wasn’t really that expensive. The bus went on a ferry and then to the island.
It was cloudy. I went to the church straight away. It was closed but it would open again at 2pm. It was 1:30pm. So I walked around the town. There was nothing much there. I went into a museum. Everything was in Spanish only. Then I walked to the beach.
When I went back to the church, I saw some other people waiting there too. Once it was opened, we all flooded in. It was a UNESCO building. Everything was made of wood. Dark wood. Somehow, it reminded me of those churches I saw in the villages in Thailand.
The lady at the hostel also suggested I go to Dalcahue but the bus went past it without stopping. I wondered if there was a stop there. I learnt from other tourists afterwards that there were a lot of nice shops and things were quite cheap there. The lady at the reception told me I should have gone to the streets to see the cafes and the shops. I was glad I didn’t because from what they told me, it didn’t sound that appealing.
I went to the other side of palafitos (Palafito Gamboa or Palafito Castro). It was a nice area. The palafitos look nicer and newer there. The lady at the reception suggested I go to a cafe (something del Puente) so I did (yeah, she gave me a lot of information and suggestions). I tried their hot chocolate and their chocolate cake. It wasn’t impressive but the view and the decor of the cafe were nice. I stayed in the cafe for a while and wrote my journal until I finished.
I went back to the hostel to cook to finish off my spaghetti. A backpacker offered his salmon to me and then a couple offered their mushroom and cheese to me. All of a sudden, I had a sumptuous dinner. Kindness was all around. 🙂
I bought the ticket for the ferry to Chaitén, my next destination.
I went to the other side of the island and took photos of the palafitos on my hostel side. This area was not as nice as Palafito Gambia. The path was not well paved and I found something like a brothel too. I didn’t enjoy it as much as the other side so I headed back to the hostel where I met my new roommate who was from Switzerland (no, I didn’t see any rainbow this time :)) She told me she came for the festival. I told her it was today but she said it should be on Saturday and that was why she was here. We checked at the the reception. The truth was there were fairs for the whole week. The one happening on weekdays was the same as the one at the weekend. The difference was the names. 😀 The receptionist suggested we go today to avoid the crowds, so we went to the fair together.
There were many stalls at the fair. I tried apple empanadas. I had never tried fruit empanadas before. My roommate tried some other fruit empanada but we didn’t know the name of that fruit in English.
We saw a house with seafood hanging down from the ceiling. It was like drying ham but instead of drying the seafood, they smoked it. The seafood included salmon and mussels. There was a fire in the middle of the house. It looked so yummy!
We saw some animals there too. I pointed at a ram and said, ‘that’s male’. My roommate didn’t believe me at first but when she looked at it and the other rams closely, she laughed. And said ‘yes I notice it now. The balls are so big!’ 😀
We left the festival when it started drizzling. I took my Swiss roommate to the city centre and had a look at the church. Her comment was, ‘Disneyland’. It did feel like so. But the interior looked very different.
She wanted to go kayaking tomorrow. Wow! What a good suggestion! I really wanted to do it! She said it was free for us to use the kayak at the hostel. That was even better!!!!! I was looking forward to it.
I met a few German girls at dinner in the hostel. They told me their travel experience. They were robbed in Santiago on their second day there. They got a job to translate English to German on a cruise ship. It was good money. They used that money to buy a new camera but it was stolen. The way those people robbed them sounded very familiar. The robbers worked in groups, distracted the travellers and took their belongings. That was exactly how the robbers attempted to do to me when I was in Argentina.
It was raining very heavily this morning. Would our kayaking trip be cancelled? My Swiss roommate and I would leave today. The rain just kept going on and on. It then stopped before 11:30 am (the check out time). My roommate came into the room as I was packing my stuff and said, ‘let’s go kayaking!’ YES!
My roommate wanted to go to Palafitos Gamboa after the kayaking trip but she was hungry at the same time. It was a tough decision. We ran into a guy from our hostel so we went to a restaurant together. We finished our lunch at 2:45pm but she needed to catch a bus and needed to go back to the hostel at 3pm. So in the end, she couldn’t go to Palafitos Gamboa. I went back to the hostel with her and she helped me book a place at Chaitén. I couldn’t find any hostel on the Internet. That hotel cost me a fortune! USD50 a night!!!
I went to the bus terminus with my her and said goodbye. It was a sad goodbye. We had a great time together. I thanked her for being there with me. Even though we say goodbyes all the time, it still feels sad for all the backpackers when it happens.
I went back to the hostel to do some ‘administrative’ work like backing up photos, etc.
It was very sunny. I had never seen the sun here before. Over the past few days, I had only seen the clouds. Two guys from London arrived at the hostel. They just came back from Chaitén and told me there was nothing there. They started telling me stories about the devastating earthquake that destroyed the whole town years ago and how it looked now. They also told me there was no road to go up north from there. That was why they ended up in Castro. I was shocked. They showed me the map. I said to them ‘I’m sure there are private companies running buses to the north.’ I didn’t know if I was just trying to console myself. I looked at the blue sky again and said, ‘you guys are very lucky.’
The hostel was overbooked so the staff arranged another accommodation for them in another town which was 20 minutes away from Castro. Their route was the same as mine. Before they left, one of them told me their website, www.indefinitetravel.com. I went to that website immediately. I said I would let them know where I would be and maybe I would see them somewhere in the northern part of Chile.
I decided to go to Palafitos Gamboa to take some photos. The photos that the Italian guy‘s cousin took were beautiful. When I got there, the Palafitos Gamboa town was covered by clouds. In the end I still couldn’t take a photo with palafitos under the blue sky.
I went back to the hostel, put down my camera, rushed to a restaurant for dinner, then rushed to the ferry.
Rushing, rushing and rushing. That’s another aspect of a backpacker’s life.
So, that was the end of my day.
Chaitén, here I came.
14 – 16 February, 2013