We're Going to Pucon, All Night Long

Trip Start Jan 05, 2011
1
4
Trip End Feb 22, 2011


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Where I stayed
Donde German Hostel Pucon
Read my review - 1/5 stars

Flag of Chile  , Lake District,
Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Pucon, Chile! A place we had never heard of prior to this trip and had no plans of visiting.  While in Bariloche, we met many people who had done Pucon and said we haaad to do it; if only to climb the glacial volcano.  When you meet people who have been traveling for a year and they say you have to do something, it seems best just to do it.  So that's just what we did!  We had originally planned to just go straight to Valparaiso, but what’s a few days difference? 

We head for Pucon but the bus has a brief layover in Valdivia.  During this very brief layover, I decide that I reeeally need Chilean pesos, so I search for an ATM with some guys that are on the same layover.  I can’t get any money out of the ATM…The Israeli guys that I am with have no problem.  We wander around the station asking questions, taking our sweet time.  I think to myself "these guys are on my bus, they would never miss a bus…I mean I would, but I’m with them".  If there’s one area I have terrible luck in, it’s travel.  I have missed countless flights, forgotten passports, fallen asleep on layovers, I’ve even watched people board my flight without realizing it was my flight too.  So I should not have been surprised when I wandered outside and there was my/our bus pulling away at that very moment.  Rachel and Bram stood there, jaws dropped.  I could see the tension in their bodies.  A series of curse words streamed through my mind.  Rachel spotted me and started to run after the bus, banging on the side of it, yelling at me “STEF!  GET YOU’RE A** OVER HERE!”  All I could do was ask the dumbest question possible: “is that our bus?”  The stuff that comes out of my mouth…

We ended up getting on that bus…The first thing Rachel said to me after we sat down was “Amazing Race”.  She knows it’s my dream to be on the Amazing Race and every time I pull one of these stunts (like booking bus tickets for the wrong day), that’s all she has to say to put me in my place. The steward did a great job of giving me a stare down every time he passed my seat.  I just smiled at him and said “lo siento” again…and again…and again.  Beers on me tonight.

We arrived in Pucon late at night having no clue where we were or where we needed to be.  We were staying at a hostel called Donde German, and ironically we had no clue donde Donde German was.  To make things more exciting, there are 2 Donde Germans. And of course we went to the wrong one.  Awesome.  We made it eventually and found ourselves in a cabin-like hostel with a strong family vibe.  Lots of babies and couples at this “hostel”.   We definitely did not fit in.   No biggie, the bed was amaaazing and good beds are rare in hostels. 

We decide to do hydro speeding and climb the volcano.  Hydro speeding is basically white water rafting with a boogie board.  I was nervous for rafting in Bariloche after some serious nightmares, but hydro speeding? Nooooo.  I had my nerves in all the wrong places.  We start out on the river and I’m having a great time.  The water is a meter higher than usual because of all the rainfall, making the rapids more wild than usual.  I was on top of the world.  It was such a rush; going through rapids with nothing but a little foam board.  You could not have wiped that smile off my face with steel wool.  We went through some serious rapids, after which the guide said, “it gets more serious ahead, if you want to get out you can go in the raft.”  of the group did just that.  

We start in this series of rapids and I was woo-hooing like never before….that is until….I went over a boulder; a boulder we were meant to avoid.  I end up underneath it with hundreds of pounds of water coming down on me every second.  I’m completely stuck. I can’t move; I can’t breath.  I’m not smiling anymore.  I am completely and totally helpless.  This is the exact scenario I was frightened about with rafting because a friend of a friend passed away this summer in the exact same scenario.  I have no idea how long I was stuck, but it felt like forever.  I do remember having the thought; this is how I die.  Maybe a little dramatic in hindsight.  Then Fransisco appears.  I have no idea how he didn’t get stuck with me; these fools know the water like the back of their hand.  He yells at me to let go of the board and grab his arm.  “GRAB MY ARM!”  He pulls me out of the rapid; I get back on my board and start paddling alongside Fran.  He looks at me and says, “That was scary.”  “Uh huh”.  Once we catch up with the group, I can’t stop laughing.  I think it was mostly just pure joy for life, for being alive, for kissing death.  What a rush.  I am in a familiar scenario: beers for Fransisco on me tonight.

What can be said about Villarica Volcano?  I will let the photos do the talking.  Amazing.  We were not disappointed and immediately understood why we haaad to do it.  It was challenging but worth every second.  The beauty…It can’t be put into words.  The icing on the cake: sliding down the glacier on a plastic disc.  We met some real characters and gained a whole new appreciation for the guides who have to put up some serious mental cases.

Now, please enjoy our new release entitled “Going to Pucon”.  

My Review Of The Place I Stayed



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