jueves, 19 de junio de 2008

Dirty scabs and the opiate of the pueblo

Since my last entry things have slowed down considerably...students taking one of the la Chile campuses in protest was just the beginning of a long month of student activism all over Chile and a lot of free time for me. The class I had with the other California students ended a while ago, and because the geography department has been on strike for almost four weeks now, I haven't gone to my two most important classes. Two smaller classes in different departments has gone on (Surprise, the economics department isn't joining in), but they've been poorly attended and together only make up 3 hours of actual class a week. It isn't quite Santa Cruz.

The foreign students, with our fixed plane tickets home, don't have a winter break to sacrifice to the cause and thus I've been a traitor to my classmates and have figured out alternative work with my professors, who seem to just kind of make up an arbitrary assignment for me and call it a final. For one class I have to translate an article written in terrible English by a Chilean into what I am sure will be subpar Spanish so that the rest of the class can read it when the strike ends, then talk about it with the professor and my classmate from UCLA for half an hour. I definitely don't mind the break as I'm planning a week-long trip to the Atacama desert in the north, but I also feel a little shafted academically. As they say in Chile, "Es lo que hay" (it is what it is).

At the same time, I'm a little impressed by the perseverance of some of the students: both high schools and universities in several of the major cities of Chile have been causing a racket because the new education law proposed is just as "state hands-off" as the one it's replacing, and emphasizes privatization instead of public funds going towards education. I didn't go to the bigger protest (they deport foreigners that participate or could be mistaken for participants or are in the vicinitiy and look liberal), but got a taste of it when I was walking from my house towards downtown: I stopped in a park to watch a smallish group of art students from the Catholic University parading around with huge papier-mache figures criticizing the state's focus on profit instead of equality in the University system when hundreds of students that had been protesting in Plaza Italia nearby started running towards us, trying to scatter into side streets as some of the carabinero (police) riot squads chased after in cars, trying to round them up. I followed them, trying to look nonchalant, until I could duck into a supermarket, but not before I got a nasty whiff of tear gas. They're generous with the tear gas here.

Luckily, to entertain me a little while I'm at loose ends, world futbol season is here, and the TV in our house is constantly trained to the current game. Chilean passion for futbol (el opiato del pueblo, according to a housemate, though I don't know if he knows it's Marx), even though their teams have a reputation for losing constantly, is almost as incomprehensible as the vocabulary they use watching the games. Argentina's goalie is apparently un patón weon flaite viejo (an old, gangster bastard duck), and I finally had to ask my housemates why they kept mentioning The Clockwork Orange (La Naranja Mecánica) to find out it's the nickname of team Holland, which as my Dutch housemate constantly points out, is doing pretty well. A bunch of people from my house went to a cheap bar nearby to watch the Chilean final between Colo-Colo, Santiago's darling, and a team from Viña del Mar, a city on the coast to the west. The game was terrible (Colo-Colo was on the defensive the entire team), and I was perched on the edge of a table next to a chain-smoker, but I learned some of the Colo-Colo cheers and got a taste of futbolmania.

Depending on the profes of my two Geography classes, I think I'm down academically by next week. Before I come back the 14, I'm planning on going to San Pedro de Atacama, a small, kinda touristy town in the north that everyone raves about, then maybe stopping at some Nacional Park-type places on the way back, time-permitting. Then the challenge of fitting everything into my bags.

Set off some fireworks for me! I somehow think setting something on fire here in honor of US independence wouldn't be the way to go in improving US foreign relations.


Also, I uploaded a bunch of pictures to my flikr account so they aren't taking up space on my roomie's computer. They aren't all my pictures, and a lot of them have people you don't know or wouldn't be that interesting out of context, but you can take a look at www.flikr.com/photos/ssugar if you'd like.

sábado, 24 de mayo de 2008

Sigue la historia

I've been neglecting this, but I feel that something amazing has to happen, or lots of somewhat amazing somethings have to build up, to justify an entry. Sorry!
It's difficult to believe that I'll be back in California (in the middle of summer) in less than two months. Before I got here the word "month" inspired visions of an eternity, but people buying plane tickets and devising schemes to get out of a last month of rent makes it seem right around the corner. Another paper, a few finals, and fin. My friend's host mom was assuring us, however, that a lot happens in a month or two, and our having gotten into the groove of things here does not mean the rest of our time will be less exciting. Classes also don't have that hasty sense of things ending yet (though they should...it's been ten weeks. I'm not a fan of the semester system).
And I've been busy, with the occassional lull. The family came to visit, so I got to play experienced ex-pat tourguide for a little more than a week and eat at restaurants with actual menus. I also got a few of the touristy things that were still on my "things to do" list out of the way...wine tasting, climbing cerro San Cristobal (a huge, hikeable hill with a massive statue of the Virgen on top and a hazy but impressive view of the city), a trip to Valparaíso, a colorful port city a short busride away. They also got to see some of the Andes in Cajón del Maipu (while I prepared for a class presentation back at home) and agreed they're pretty tall mountains. Dad got more German practice in than Spanish (the bed 'n breakfast owner was Swiss), but got a definite feel for the Chilean culture, or at least the public transportation system.
I got out of the big city for a day myself with a hiking trip with some friends to La Campana National Park, an area a little Northwest of Santiago known for its concentration of Chilean palms and a visit there by Charles Darwin. The weather was gorgeous and the flora something out of Jurassic park: the trees, many of which are several hundred years old, are protected throughout the country since the coco (they produce tiny, tasty coconuts) and miel de palma (palm honey) industries took a little more than they should have (I'd seen cans of miel de palma next to the bananas in the supermarket and had put it on my list of things to try, but now that I know that extraction involves cutting the thing down, I just can't do it).

I've learned how to insert pictures!

It's been difficult getting to know classmates, if only because all of my classes only happen once a week and everyone already knows everyone else really well, but I've gotten to know a few Chileans, all of whom are extremely helpful and friendly, especially when I have no idea what we're supposed to turn in. The foreign students are really cut out of the loop, especially when it comes to information about "paros", or strikes. Another California girl and I pulled an all-nighter finishing a research paper for our rural development class (I think the TA put us together so we wouldn't depress anyone else's grade) only to come to class the next day and find out the geography department was on strike that morning (though no one knew why), and that in fact the due date had been changed anyway. Right now there's a "toma" at the main building of the university (meaning students have taken the building and sit out front menacingly) to protest privatization of schools or private investment in public universities or something, but because each department votes on whether to join a strike or not, the only real way of knowing if we have class is to show up and see if anyone's there. My campus is just a fifteen minute walk away, but for some of my friends who take the metro and a few buses, the confusion is a hassle.

This last week was like one long holiday: Wednesday was a national holiday in honor of the defining battle of the War of the Pacific (where Chile basically stole a bunch of copper/saltlitre rich land from Peru and Bolivia). Valparaíso hosts a massive reinactment/parade and la presidenta's equivalent to the State of the Union. My friend's host mom Bernie took my friend and I to La Vega, this massive fruit and vegetable market, to prepare for Gracias poh' (see below) and get the ingredients for Caldillo de Congrio, a fish soup she made us in honor of the day (Neruda wrote an ode to it!). The market was empty enough and we gringa enough to attract some attention, which Nicole's host mom found hilarious (Are they German? Are you their grandmother?), and we watched part of President Bachelet's speech at a stall while buying oranges.

One of the Californian students calculated that Thursday is at the opposite end of the year from Thanksgiving in the Northern hemisphere, so it would only be appropriate to bring the tradition south. Bernie got excited about the idea and agreed to host it, offering to bake a turkey and provide some wine. My friend Nicole and I spent the afternoon in the kitchen, taking stabs at stuffing and sweet potatoes. I found a can of imported Ocean Spray cranberry sauce at a Jumbo, a supermarket that would compete with superWalmart in sheer area, and, lacking pumpkins, we made pie out of zapallo, a Chilean pumpkin-like squash. A bunch of Californians showed up and made construction-paper hand-outline turkeys to decorate the table and explained the significance of the day to Bernie and some friends she'd invited. It was a success.

Today was "Día del Patrimonio Cultural de Chile", where all sorts of museums and government buildings offer free entrance and tours and stickers to whoever's interested, so I got some culture in. Greenpeace, which has been pretty active in a save the blue whales campaign, had an enormous blue whale blown up in front of the museum of natural history

Soon I'll have to plan the week and a half I have between finals and my plane ticket home...I definitely want to see the northern desert, which is barren but full of all sorts of natural wonders, ghost mining towns and a few Incan ruins. A girl in one of my classes also told me that the last week of June and the first week of July and ship leaves Valparaíso for the Juan Fernandez Archipelago, a little-known trip, so I'll look at the details for that at least.

Enjoy the heat! The cold is definitely setting in here, though apparently it only gets worse from here on out. This whole smog-trapping-cold-weather-inversion-layer is not to my tastes.


jueves, 17 de abril de 2008

As the leaves turn...

Now that I'm not travelling all over the place and have (some) actual homework, nothing pressing enough happens at any one time to remind me to update this...hence la pausa.

I'm finally getting back into the swing of classes, but sometimes things still feel to unrealish to take them as seriously as at home. It doesn't help that classes here are much more theory-based than the ones in the UCs (says the philosophy major). Three out of four of my la Chile professors have assigned reading or given lectures on postmodernism, which apparently is big here, and my Economics profe gave a quick overview of the history of philosophy this week, from Hegel's dialectic to existentialism to the tiny ray of hope offered by Nietzsche's superman because he thinks the Chilean university system is so busy focusing on specialization that it churns out graduates completely ignorant about anything outside their area of study.

Like Santa Cruz, the more profitable majors have nicer facilities: Economics has screens all over the place listing upcoming classes and monetary exchange rates, and there's ALWAYS toilet paper in the bathrooms. In contrast, the Architecture and Urbanism campus (my home front) has few computers, no toilet paper, and a perpetually-closed photocopy room. Luckily, my campus has all the design students and thus more character, with a life-size metal chess set and huge, floating women in the trees. Foosball tables are standard at all campuses. Plus the casino (cafeteria-type area) isn't owned by Sodexho, which has apparently reached South America. Rumer has it that the science campus is aMAzing.

The university feeling here is completely different. Even though the university in total has many more students than UCSC, it feels like a small high-school. A guy in my GIS class showed me the second-year geography-major photo-blog, and you never see anyone solo on campus. We just assume it's because people live at home and want to get away, but it's made me self-conscious for just chilling and studying solo.

A few more UC-led excursions: a loooooong day at the rodeo en Rancagua...not nearly as violent as matadors, but most of us were rooting for the cows. Basically everyone wears huaso (Chilean cowboy) hats and sits in the sun watching pairs of caballeros herd small cows sideways into the wall of the arena for four hours. We did get to say hello to some horses and absorb the rodeo atmosphere, though.

Back in Santiago, for our class a professor and former detainee under Pinochet showed us around a prison-camp-turned-memorial-park at which he himself had been tortured as well as the Cementerio Nacional (not the most uplifting of days). I really can't imagine wanting to relive that all the time to large groups of students, but he said he'd me morally remiss if he didn't do everything possible to keep such experiences alive in the collective consciousness so as to prevent it from happening again. It's impossible not to like a person who tears up when he talks about inequity in the school and university system while showing us Allende's tomb/memorial.

Also for the class we were bussed to El Teniente mine, the largest functioning below-ground mine in the world, owned by Chile. We suited up in tons of equipment and saw a big rock-chopper thing and I fell down some stairs, because I'm me. We also took a tour around the former campamento, a town built right next to the mine by the former American owners to keep workers and their families provided-for and entertained so the skilled labor wouldn't run off and leave the American jefes in a jam. Rooms were tight and alcohol prohibited, but the hospital was the most-advanced in Latin America and there was a bowling alley. It was odd to imagine this town of people tied to the mine, completely cut off from the world in the winter (the mine is up in the cordillera). Now it's a ghost town, partially torn down, but the rest is a world heritage site and appropriate for tours for foreign students.

The weather is cooling, but every Sunday there's a used-clothing and other things fair in the park and I stocked up on cheap sweaters and a jacket. There are also rastafarians selling soya-burgers for cheap all over the place, so it's now one of my favorite places.

Hope all is well with everyone, as always!

miércoles, 26 de marzo de 2008

I think my English is deteriorating faster than my Spanish is improving. I now speak this pidgin language unintelligible to everyone (except the other Californian students) in sentences in which I can never think of all the vocabulary I need in either Spanish or English. My notes are composed of nonsensical sentences using the language of the shortest version of whatever word I need (hegemony is easier than hegemonia, but desafio seems shorter than challenge), though my handwriting doesn't help. Plus, I've picked up a few of the more annoying quirks of the Chilean accent...they "eat their words" by ignoring most of the important consonants (maomeo instead of mas o menos) and sprinkling in all sorts of modismos so you have almost no idea what's going on. One of the native speakers in our program teased that none of the Spanish speakers in California will be able to understand anything we say after we get back. At least I can understand my profes, I guess...it's more difficult when they cite non-latino authors, pronouncing the names completely differently. It took me few tries to catch that one professor was referring to Humboldt, and Keynesianism was killer.

Classes are...interesting. My seemingly most-concrete classes (one for GIS and one for sustainability as a technological or social problem) have started out with lectures on the meaning of reality and the move from cartesian empiricism to etc., so who knows where they're going to go. In our required EAP class we've had two excellent and fiery guest lectures on pre- and post-ag reform in chile, with two opposing conclusions, but the regular profesora for the class doesn't give the most exciting information. A lot of biographical information on Chilean poets that I could probably skim through on Wikipedia much more quickly. The class is an opportunity to see everyone from the program, though, so Tuesday and Thursday nights aren't too painful.

Last weekend a few of us bussed it up North a few clicks to La Serena and Valle de Elqui for Easter weekend. La Serena was basically deserted except for wandering tourists: the first day there I heard more English than Spanish, and some other people from California spotted us in our respective college sweatshirts and told us we looked like a UC catalogue picture. We made some omelettes and relaxed at the beach, then on Saturday bussed to Pisco Elqui, a small town in the valley nearby, to wander. The pueblo, with a pop. of only about 500 people, was picturesque, and the view out the windows of the bus even better: The mountains bordering the valley are completely dry with all sorts of crazy-colored minerals (lots of red from copper), while the valley floor is completely green from fruit and nut trees and vineyards for pisco grapes. Ondas buenas (good vibes) all over the place. We made a quick stop in Vicuna to tour a pisco distillery, then ordered some mediocre pizza back in La Serena and relaxed.

We also went to observatorio Mamalluca one night for a tour and to gaze at stars through the fancy telescopes. Unfortunately the moon was full, which made all the stars dimmer in comparison (our tour guide kept talking about how the full moon made the sky way too complex for good star-gazing), but we got some incredible views of Saturn and some constellations, as well as a blinding look at the moon up-close. We, self-conscious about seeming to gringo, opted for the Spanish tour, ignoring the pointed glances the bus driver gave us when asking who wanted the English one, but our plan kind of backfired: there were so few people in the English group that they all got much longer turns on the telescope. So much for trying to fit in.

Sunday I'm going to the rodeo, another cultural excursion compliments of EAP, but Saturday might be low-key: Our housemates warned us to stay en casa because there are going to be some considerable manifestaciones in memory of some young leftist brothers that were killed by the police during the coup, and apparently the "manifestaciones" are usually pretty rife with anti-estadounidense sentiment (the word "americano" here means "of the American continent", and they think it egocentric of US citizens to refer to themselves as American, so we're estadounidense or norteamericano). McDonalds' are a favorite target for Molotov cocktails, so I think I'll avoid the golden arches this weekend, though a Big Mac is soooooo tempting.

domingo, 16 de marzo de 2008

Slow start to the school year

FINALLy classes have started, and I'm officially a student of la Chile, but things haven't taken off quite as quickly as in the quarter system...according to some other students, a lot of the carreras (programs) kind of write off the first week to freshman hazing (the other students throw eggs and various smelly and colorful liquids at the new kids, cut up their clothes and hair, and take their backpacks ransom, so all over the city are parrot-colored jovenes panhandling for coins. Thank God I don't look 18.) and students taking an extra week of vacations. In a similar spirit (not really), I missed my first GIS class early Monday morning after an incomplete recovery from a bout of food poisoning, and I showed up early to my Tuesday Sustainable Development class only to find that it had been eliminated because of underregistration (kind of depressing implications there...). Success, finally, on Wednesday with my Geography of the Sea class, with an enthusiastic profesora that speaks clearly as a bonus (and field trips!). According to her, Spanish speaking geographers have officially decided to use the feminine ending on the Spanish word for geographer for both genders as a shout out to feminism (woot woot). Also on Wednesday was the University-wide trip to the beach, intended for the mechones (freshmen), but really attended by everyone, so the profe let us out early and told the rest of the class to take care of the foreigners. Then a mad rush to get bus tickets to the beach, and a two hour bus ride, people smoking and drinking and standing around with brief moments of calm as we passed through toll booths. We settled ourselves on the sand at Cartagena, various carreras grouping together with all sorts of cheers (CHI CHI CHI, LE LE LE). Students here only take classes in their carrera, and usually only with the other students in their cohort, so it's cliquey like high school, but my classmates so far have been friendly. Then a confused search for our bus among the hundred-something waiting on the street, and a short adventure when the bus driver thought he could clear a train trestle and definitely could not. Roof windows were scraped off and fiberglass EVERYwhere. To make things even more interesting, some drunk guys found out we were exchange students and began to chant about "500 years of robbery" and about how the West thinks it can take advantage of Latin America because they have Latin rhythym and dance the samba. Superfun. At least we finally got to a metro station safely.
My agronomy class didn't work out because I don't remember calculus, but this week I started Globalization, copper, and the new Chilean Economy, where the professor began the class warning us about how economics programs now just churn out professionals and are no longer interested in research and academics, and how the Pinochet years have emasculated Chilean academics, and finally how Chile has no chance of catching up to the technosavvy Asian economies like Japan in the current economic system, so what to do? It should be interesting...
The UC program offered a day trip to the nearby port-city of Valparaiso, heralded as the San Francisco of Chile because it has hills and trolley cars. The day of exploration was a little superficial because of time constraints, but we saw the touristy parts, and it's close enought to return on a weekend. Plus our tour guide looked like Gene Wilder with less interesting hair. He argued that it's a somewhat egalitarian city because although the poor have to live on the outskirts and travel great distances every day to get to work, they live on the hills and thus get the best view of the ocean. I'm not sure I buy this.
There was also a day trip to the Aconcagua valley, which was an action-packed day. The professor from Irvine in charge of the UC program here, Heidi, did a lot of her research in fruit-packing in the valley, so she gave us background on Allende's agricultural reforms on the bus before introducing us to some of the people who helped with her research, including the first union of female fruit-packers in Chile. Then we went to the house of a mapuche family who served us various typical foods and drinks and talked to us about the state of indigenous people in the valley. We got a 20 minute lecture on the evils of George Bush and Western Imperialism (capital letters) which, although there was obviously truth in what the guy was saying, automaticlaly put us on the defensive and made for a few moments of awkwardness. Then we got a tour of a family table-grape "packing" (as the companies are called) and free samples of grapes. Finally we went to same family "microempresarios", or microindustries, I guess, which families use to supplement income. First a chicharia, where they produce chicha (kind of like cider, but with grapes) in massive copper vats in their backyard, and then we climbed the hill to another family's house that doubles as an empanaderia (where they make empanadas), and we had incredible empanadas with gorgeous view of the valley.
I've moved into my boarding house, and all the other students are fun, though I've been too busy to be home that much. There's hot water and refrigerator's and everything. Already romantic drama has hit some of the residents...It's like the dorms in that respect but not in any others, thankfully.
For Easter weekend (semana santa) a few of us are going up north to the mystical Valle de Elqui, which apparently has the clearest night sky in the world and is the center of pisco (un alcohol made from grapes) production.

Hope everyone does okay with finals!


martes, 4 de marzo de 2008

No potatoes, just wonder

In Chile, if you´re a young woman (maybe person in general...I´ll ask the opinion of some guys) without your family, you´re automatically in need of special assistance from anyone who can help. There are downsides to this, of course (namely that my host mother still won´t let me wash my own clothes, and I have to run to the kitchen after dinner so she doesn´t have time to wash the dishes before me and deny me my only non-monetary contribution to the running of the household), but it comes in superhandy on the road. We met all sorts of mother-hen type people who made our lives easier when we missed busses or were trying to find kayaks. One woman with her sister and niece at the hostel at Villarrica would check in on us, though she thought we were insane for being so far from home without our families. In Ancud, the northernmost city on the island of Chiloé, we were determined to go kayaking and had to ask about five different places before finding a guy at a tourism place who gave us the number for a guy named Fernando who rented kayaks in Chepu, a small town about 40 minutes away. The morning bus left at 6:30 in the morning, so we wandered around Ancud as the sun rose, not quite sure where the bus left from. Luckily we saw it at the gas station near the rural terminal and hopped on and asked to be let off at the stop for kayaks. Don Fernando, a long-haired former electrical engineer from Santiago who had a mid-life crisis and decided that you can´t go a medidas (I think in class we decided the closest translation was "half-assedly") with such things, so moved to Chepu and started an ecoturismo type set-up to remind people why conservation is so important, met us at the stop and fed us tea and cookies while we waited for the fog to let up a bit (we hadn´t been able to see anything on the mad bus ride), then piled us with gear and instructions and pointed us inland. A massive earthquake/maremoto (earthquake at sea, whatever the english word is) in the 60´s had rocked the island, and a huge chunk had fallen into the sea, creating a river-like submerged forest that we could travel up. It was probably the most incredible part of the trip...everything was still and foggy, with wisps of mist rising off the water and the remnants of the trees reaching up through the water. It´s not that surprising that Chiloén mythology is so rich; i think it goes hand-in-hand with foggy islands (leprechauns?). Don Fernando chatted it up with us while we waited for the other bus of the day, and his daughter gave us a free yoga lesson. People are nice.
We also took a penguin tour, because it´s the thing to do in Ancud. Apparently, the area is the only place where two species of penguins (Magellenic and one other type...) roost together, and because it´s close to shore, they can chill without worrying about orcas. They were adorable, of course, but I don´t think cormorants, an equally ridiculous bird, get the attention they deserve. Props to them.
400 variedades de potato and not one place in Ancud or Castro that serves anything but the standard. Blargh.
The fog there made me a little sentimental for Santa Cruz, but the heat here in Santiago has cured me of it. The stupid hole in the ozone layer is right over our heads and I´ve been going through Coppertone like a madwoman to no avail. I´m excited about fall.
Gracias para todos por las felicitaciones for my birthday!

domingo, 24 de febrero de 2008

Las Vacaciones: half-time show

Our two weeks of freedom before the start of school got off to a rocky start after we missed our bus, but some bus drivers from Pullman going to Temuco, almost to Villarrica, took pity on us and ushered us on. We watched the sun rise in Temuco as we waited fifteen minutes for the bus to Villarrica, and smalling town in la Región de Los Lagos on the shore of lake Villarrica and in the shadow of the still-active-and-smoking Volcán Villarrica (notice the trend, anyone?). The smaller, more touristy town of Pucón is more central for various activities in the area, but Villarrica felt less artificial (and had the reputation of costing less), and Pucón was a gorgeous, half-hour busride away along the side of the lake.
The hostel was a charming little place owned by some Swiss bicyclists that retired from cycling around the world and settled in the Andes (home-made bread every morning!), and we met some fellow travelers there, including a girl from Washington that had gotten some scholarship that paid for her to travel around the world for 8 months, and a Belgian cycling through the country (hard-core!). We walked around the lake some, all blackish volcanic sand and rock, but picturesque, went rafting for the first time (well, my first time) and managed not to maim ourselves, hiked around Parque Nacional Huerquehue to see some more lakes and massive waterfalls, then said goodbye to good bread and headed to Valdivia.
Unfortunately for Valdivia, Villarrica was a difficult act to follow, and in retrospect we would have spent fewer days there. It´s known as a former German colony-type city on the river near the ocean, but there wasn´t much of a "cute historical German town" atmosphere. It was also flooded with other Chilean/extranjero tourists, which meant the housing was a hassle: the first place lost our reservations and chided us for not calling several times to confirm, and while the place she found for us, a little cabaña in the backyard of a strange old lady with obnoxious dogs, was relatively cheap, the old woman argued that we hadn´t been clear we were staying for two nights (this after about a fifteen minute conversation of clarification of that fact) and tried double the price on us. We did hang out with some Chileans, though...I know a little more about rugby and Chilean rock. Plus there were sea lions in the river. Could have watched them all day.
We´re all sick of Chilean food, which is either expensive restaurant-fare or various types of meat sandwiches, and started cooking for ourselves. Apparently Chilean per capita consumption of bread is second only to Germany, and it gets old fast. Green beans never tasted so good.
Then to the mystical island of Chiloe, which, despite some changed plans, is my favorite stop so far...much less crowded, and supposedly there are at least 400 varieties of potato, of which I want to try at least 150. We made plans to stay in the tiny campo town of Tenaún with a family, but a missed buss in Valdivia meant we missed the last rural bus there from Castro. Our staying in Castro, however, worked out for the best when one girl, who´d had a sore throat the day before, went downhill in the morning. We spent the morning at the emergency room, the only place open in a small town on a Sunday and literally the slowest entity ever, then let her rest as we wandered around the town and along the coast.
Next Ancud (a penguin colony), then back to Santiago by my birthday...I´m looking forward to a washing machine.