. Here in the middle of nowhere people´s generosity would be more likely to pump blood from their hearts to their foot to allow them to brake for us.
We got a ride in an empty big truck that would soon be full of wood headed back Constitución (the driver makes roundtrips daily) to Chanco, a town not quite a phantom, but lack of activity has been slowly erasing it away. We walked to the end, but when a bus passed that went to the next town, we took it. From there we caught an hour bus-ride to Parral, where Neruda was born. I would have liked to explore it, see if there is anything about him there (I don´t there is) but it was Wednesday and I needed to be 350 miles further south by Thursday evening. We caught a 4 hour bus down the Panamericana to Temuco, capital city of the Araucaria region and place of Neruda´s childhood. We got there late at night and had to take a cab even though we didn´t know where we were going. I wanted to stay near a railroad museum named after Neruda. Two other passengers shared the cab with us. I asked a woman in the front about cheap places. Not much doing near the museum so we went downtown. She instructed the cabbie where to go and he left us in front of a dilapidated mansion and drove off.
A gentle man belonged in the present day world even less than I do was hosing something and let us in. At first I couldn´t believe this was lodging but he said there was a room available for 5 bucks
. We walked up narrow steps with such a large lip protruding my toes kept banging against and I thought I´d fall backward. Even though our bedroom was adjacent to the bathroom you had to walk down the main hallway through a doorway into an adjacent claustrophobic hallway to what felt like an attic. Anyway, I could go on describing the house, but I´ll just say that when the water stopped working (inbetween wetting my toothbruth and cleaning it off) it freaked Miles out so much we slept with a light on. Earlier we had considered blocking off the doorway with a dresser in case the mansion´s occupants turned into vampires. In the middle of the night, the light bothered me, but for Miles sake, instead of shutting it off, I moved to his side of the bed on the floor. Maybe in the incandescent bulb was our savior, but we woke intact and rested in the morning.
Still in factory dominated Constitución looking for lodging. We walked a block and I walked into a family restaurant that looked like one of those Chinese restaurants without the least attempt at decoration and asked the waitress about a place to stay. A patron overheard and said when he was done in 5 minute he´d show us. 5 minutes later he came outside. A few buildings down, we walked into a long gravel driveway/road surrounded by mechanic shacks (Miles told me later he thought we might get robbed) At the end we arrived at small pension run by a family for wayward folk and other passer-byers. For 5 bucks each, we got a room full of bunkbeds to ourselves. We bought some food a market made it in the family´s kitchen. I chatted with them (they had lost a son in a motorcycle accident and a daughter lived in Denmark). Though both parents were friendly, this time it was the father that didn´t want us to leave. After they fed us a prolific breakfast (especially Miles, since he eats ham), we had to go and hiked about 2 miles up the hill, and took a bus out of town to where it stopped, made a K turn and went back