TWO DAYS ONE ISLAND

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Flag of Chile  , CL.09,
Saturday, August 1, 2009

Monday July 27th, we wake up around 8:30am to get ready for our trip to Chiloe. On Friday, Karen and I took our laundry to a Lavanderia (cleaners but it is real cheap) to have our clothes cleaned.  When we went to pick them up on Saturday, after camp, the shop was closed.  So missing the last bus to Chiloe was a fortunate mistake.  I believe everything happens for a reason.  Karen goes to get our laundry and Lisa and I get dressed and packed.

We board the bus for Chiloe and travel about a hour to the ferry that will take us (meaning the entire bus) across the water to the island of Chiloe.  This is the first time I have been on a ferry and it is very exciting.  We get out taking pictures of the, now disappearing, port and the clear blue water.  A fire burns inside me, from the thrill of this sea faring adventure, but it is no match for the Arctic wind hat is slicing through my winter garments.  Taking the hint I go back inside the bus and leave the picture taking to those with thicker skin.

Once in Chiloe we drive for another hour and a half until we arrive in Castro, the capital city.   We drive past triangle topped houses, rolling hills and lots of sheep.  We reach the bus station in Castro and disembark and walk 5 blocks, packed down like mules; looking all too obvious that we are tourists.  As if Karen's blonde hair and the fact that Lisa and I were black aren’t a dead give-away already. 

The hostel was very nice and was more like being an invited guest in someone’s home than being a tenant.  Outside was a black iron security gate and inside there was wall to wall wood flooring, a nice sitting area and a full kitchen for us to use if we wanted.  We did not have reservations but we were the only guests today so finding us empty rooms on the first floor was no problem.  The relief of not having to lug my luggage up more flights of stairs was overwhelming.

We check in and pay the house manager for the rooms.  She was nice enough to give us a map of the area and marked a few places that were great for sightseeing and picture taking.  With map in hand we set out, on foot, to explore this tiny island.  After a few blocks we realized we were all hungry and should stop for lunch.  We find a diner and eat heartily and plan our next move.  The waiter (whose name was Moses) gave us the business card of his friend, Daniel, that drives a taxi.  He said we should give him a call and he could show us the island.  We told him we would think about it and give Daniel a call later.

We walked to a different bus terminal to try and catch a bus to Cucao (pronounced Coo-cow) to visit the National Park there.  It was rumored to be quite lovely and since we were still riding on yesterday’s nature high, we wanted to see it.  Unfortunately the last bus to Cucao was leaving and the next bus would not return until the next morning.  Cutting our losses we set out in a different direction to sightsee and take pictures.

Chiloe is a very hilly island, and just what a cardio deprived body needs to get the old blood pumping.  However, after about the 5th hill the Old TICKER is cursing my every step and threatening complete failure.  Then my legs and lungs want to follow suit.  After awhile my entire body is in agreement that this was a VERY BAD IDEA.  Just when all hope is lost I catch sight of what is waiting for us at the bottom of the hill.  An explosion of multicolored houses scattered about the descending hillside, like sprinkles on a cupcake, and at the base of the hill, wrapped in sunlight and mist is the sapphire colored ocean bordering a port; welcoming the sailors home from a day at sea.  My mind knows what my body does not.  I have more steps in me to complete this journey.  The sea is calling our names, and has been waiting patiently to welcome us home.

I am sure life on this island is hard. People work on the boats to catch seafood to sell.  They weave and knit garments hoping that a tourist will come by and repay their hard work and skill for only a fraction of its worth.  They live in pastel colored homes heated by a wood burning stove and worst of all the possibility of leaving this island to see the rest of the world is nonexistent.

I will not cry for them, my tears would be wasteful and unwanted.  This is the life they were given, and they will live each day to the fullest as if it were their last.  Caring not for that things they lack, rather finding joy in the mere blessing of being alive.  To be able to share this life with family and friends is a life well lived.  By telling them about myself I add to their life’s story.  I tell of places they have only seen in movies; tall buildings and Farris wheels, of old German castles and night under the Affel Tour, in Paris.  I become a dream weaver; a teller of stories.  They hang on spoken in broken Spanish as if I were Pablo Neruda himself.  They speak and I listen and now their story becomes a part of mine. 

Hours of walking, taking pictures and talking has found us hungry again.  We look at the map and see there is a super market on our way back to the hostel.  We decide to buy some food and go back to the hostel and prepare dinner.  The first thing we need is bread.  The bakery in the store has a large glass window to allow the costumers the opportunity to watch the bakers prepare the bread. When the bread is done the baker dumps the bread in to a large barrel so the customers on the other side of the glass wall can get the fresh hot bread.  We wait in line like all the rest and when the hot bread is dropped Madness Ensues.  We were pushed out of the way by a mob of old ladies, rushing to fill their bags with bread.  They were a lot stronger and quicker than they looked.  Within minutes all the bread was gone.  They swooped in like buzzards on fresh meat and when there was nothing left the OLD BIRDS flew off in search of new prey.  I could only laugh at getting STRONG ARMED by a Gang of Grannies.  Karen and I waited for the next batch of bread, but this time I am ready.  One of those Greedy Grannies is going to get an elbow to the throat if she tries to manhandle me again.  Luckily there was no fuss and we take our bread in peace.

As we leave the supermarket we are a man is outside the store handing out business cards.  I see the name "Daniel" written on the card and I ask him if he was Daniel.  He said yes and I told him that a man gave us his card earlier and we wanted to know how much he would charge to drive us around for the day, or at least for a few a hours. We settled on $6Mil pesos ($12 USD) per hour and we hire him for 3 hours.  We give him our address and he says he will pick us up in the morning at 10am.  We go home and have a light dinner and good to sleep rather early because we had to get up early the next morning.

At 10am on the dot, Daniel was at the front gate ready to take us on a tour of the island.  We started with a visit to a Mirador (a look out point) that was on a hill so you could see almost all of the city below.  It was still early and the morning fog had not cleared so we decided to go to Delcahue, a small town 15 minutes away.  We walk through the town and all eyes are on us.  It is not everyday that you see 2 black girls and a blonde walking through town with cameras.  Person after person ask if I am from Brazil or Columbia.  I tell them I am from Chicago and they respond with 'Chicago Bulls", or "Michael Jordan", the occational "Barrak Obama" and "I no like Bush".  It is odd how this people are so vested in American Politics as if  George Bush did something to them personally and Barrak Obama has come to save THEM for a terrible TYRANT! This is a simple fishing town with Houses build ontop of long planks to protect from the tide. There is a small market were people sell more hand-make items and sprinkled about the city are very old churches.  Daniel tells us briefly of the history of the little city and we are back in the car to see more sights on the island. 

We visit a church is over a 120 years old and was constucted totally of wood.  It is suprising that is still standing.  We find the caretaker and ask if she will open the church up for us.  She finds the key and let us in.  I love old church and love hearing the history of the the people that built it.  Outside there is a sign that tells of how the church was build between 1879 and 1888 and in the same same place there existed a Jesuit Church in 1627.  The entire church is made of Cypris wood.  It was declared a national monument in 1984.  The caretaker tells us that there is a Mass every Tuesday and Saturday, and we all can't belive that people actually still worship here.  Even though there is a new sound system complete with mictrophones set up in the pulpit.  We are free to walk around and take pictures and we walk around and find that everything from the statue of San Miguel to the benches are made out of wood.  The building even has wooden nails, about 50 years ago the church was reinforced with metal nails but you can hardly see them. 

We walk upstairs and it feels as if any moment the floor will cave in.  The view from the balcony is magical and I can imagine a chior standing here a mere century ago shaking the rafters with songs of praise and thanksgiving in Spanish and Latin.  A congregation of store owners, farmers and fisherman occupy the pews; on bended knees thanking El Sinor (there name for GOD) for is many blessings.  We give an offering in the basket and thank the caretaker for her time and we walk around outside for one last look at the property.  What Chilean church would be complete without a grave yard.  A small patch of land to the rear of the church with headstones and monuments of members past, laid to rest under the cross.  A cool breeze blows and nothing can be heard; the moment is silenced as we say a small prayer, respecting the dead and thanking God for the gift of life.

We continue to drive around the country side and Lisa asks Daniel if he knows were there are any lamas.  It has been her desire to take a picture of a lama since we arrived in the 10th Region a week ago.  Within 5 minutes Lisa spots lamas grazing on a hill and asks Daniel to stop.  If that is an example of speaking things into existance.  Daniel says that he has never seen them before.  They are quite odd creatures and we wish there were a farmer there so we could pass through the iron gate, but alas we will have to settle for photos to document this moment.

The coutryside is like something out of a story of the Middle Ages.  Rolling hills, populated by sheep and small wooden homes weathered by wind, rain, and time.  The sun is out and the boldness of the green grass to illuminated against a brilliant blue sky.  I spot a sheep with a branch stuck to his butt, and I can only think "now why didn't some one tell him he has a branch stuck to his butt.  I bet the other sheep are just laughing at him everytime he walks by.  How mean."  I have to laugh myself because he looked quite rediculous. 

This land is full of many strange sights and sounds and we hear a loud squawk and look across the road to see two odd birds.  We spotted similar birds the night before standing in a tree on a thin branch, I was sure their weight would surly snap the branch but they remained perfectly ballanced as if they were made totally of feathers.  It was too dark to take a descent photo, but here in the sunlight we can see how magnifantly strange they were.

We hop into the car and go to another Mirador and by now the sky is clear and the city can be seen in all its glory.  The wind has picked up cutting our skin like blistering cold daggers, reminding me of being in Chicago and being tossed about by the unforgiving wind.    After a few photos we retreat to the bottom of the hill to warm up in the car.  As I make my finaly descent to join my companions and small herd of young cows run freely down the street.  I am caught in the middle of a stampeed.  Thinking quickly I walk slowly making sure not to turn my back to them  Looking them strait in the eyes (something I remember from the movie Astralia).  Sure enough the young beasts slowed down, and then stopped in their tracks.  Probably wondering what this strange creature was.  I ease close to the car but could not help but take a picture.  I had tamed wild beasts with just a stare like Tarzan or Dr. Doolittle.   The trick is not to show fear, I am just glad they did not have sonar hearing because the sound of my heart beating in my KNEES would have been a Dead Give-Away and I would have been ROAD KILL!!  Before my powers wore off I hopped in the car and we drove away. Funny our driver's name is Daniel; I am reminded of rhe biblical story of Daniel in the Lion's Den, he too survived wild animals.  On top of that we were introduced to Daniel by his friend MosesHow crazy is that?? 

It was past 1 pm so Daniel dropped us off at the hostel.  We thanked him for a wonderful time and went inside for lunch.  Before long it was time for Lisa and I to go to the bus station and take a bus from Chiloe to Osorno, there we will spend the night and take a bus to Bariloche, Argentina in the morning.  Karen will stay one more day in Chiloe and Hang out with some friends she met a few weeks ago.  We say our goodbyes to Karen at the bus station and promise to stay in touch.  Where there was once 4 now there are 2.

Thank you for reading my blog and I look forward to typing to you soon.  Remember to Everything in life Happens for a Reason.  Even it you don't know the reason, you are exactly where you are supposed to be in this moment in time.  Enjoy this moment for time never goes in reverse and moments good or bad can never be relived.  Have a great day and I will type to you soon.

Chao
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Comments

gailey
gailey on

Thank you
Hello Sister,

Sounds like you had a beautiful outing! Thanks for taking me virtually along on your travels. Hope you are staying warm, but it sounds like the sights and sounds are keeping you warm enough in your heart and that is what is important.

Love and Blessings,
Gail

nakiaford
nakiaford on

Hey Sweetie
It is so good to hear from you. Yes I will be home soon and I am not really ready to leave but I need to get a job that pays better so I can return to South America with money in my pocket. I am having so much fun and I think I am learning more than I am teaching. I hope my students are getting something out of this experience I know I am. I am always cold as you will see all my photos I am wearing my coat. That is one thing I will not miss. Hope all is well and I hope to hear from you soon.

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