Saturday, March 29, 2008

AFTER THE TRAVERSE, AND BEFORE THE FALL

After Pucon, and hiking the Villarica Traverse, I headed south by bus, directly to the most southern city on "mainland" Chile, Puerto Montt. Puerto Montt is not a particularly dazzling city, and doesn't appear to offer much to the tourist. However, being the largest city in the region, it hosts a semi-large hospital, and I was due for my follow-up hepatitis vaccination. Upon arriving in the dingy bus station, i established a bed in a Hospedaje(a private residence with rooms for rent), and hiked up the hill to the hospital.

I had high hopes for the hospital after aproaching it's location, on the hill above town, with a wide vista of the bay. Yet, after passing the guard at the main entrance, I found a nearly vacant facility with apparently no electricity, and massive lines at the few windows that were staffed. In a way, the scene had an enticing, desolute mood with tiled murals, falling apart in the afternoon sun, time stretching on, but not a location I felt ready to be violated by neadles.

Confused about what to do, and with a need to use the restroom, I headed back to town in search for a bar that might have toilet paper in their restroom. i checked out a few nicer establishments, but they lacked the paper. I finally entered the most north-american style eatery in town, used their facilities, ordered a beer, and sat down to hash out my options.

Within minutes, I was aware of the conversations in english carrying on on either side of my table. On one side was a young guy involved in an internship at a local private hospital. He told me the name of a docter there I could go see for my vaccination. On my other side were two flyfishing guides, who were attempting to open up a lodge in a village south east of town. One was flying out the next morning, and the other was to be heading back to the lodge, and offered me a room to stay in, in exchange for a little manual labor. Though I felt a responsability to follow through with my vaccinations, I couldnt turn down the offer from the flyfishing guide.

The next morning I rode with Jordan down to the rustic lodge outside the village of Hornapirin. Hornipirin is the last village you can drive to before having to take a ferry further south where the famous highway 7, the "Carraterra Austraul", begins. I spent nearly two weeks in Hornapirin. Helped Jordin, and the local goucho(cowboy) finish the gravel driveway, assisted in slaughtering a bull, climbed the Volcan Hornapirin, and painted a few pictures.



After spending some time at the lodge I learned that it had previously been owned by a couple from the states. They had sold the lodge with most of the furnashings, and trash in the closets. And it had yet to host a client since. With permission I went sifting through the closets in search of any clues as to the history of the place, with a special interest in photographs. After a few hours I came out with a number of journals from a young child, and a relatively unremarkable photograph of a family in some busy urban square. I figured the family to be the previouse owners. I imagined them out there, under the volcano, building their future.


I imagined the daughter going through the stress of moving to such a foreign place, and seeing her parents relationship slip over the years. Watching them change, attempting to fit in to the local community.


I imagined her playing in the water tower behind the lodge.


But then I got stir crazy, and cut out to the park up the road to live a little myself.
I saw cows.

And I rested beside a tranquil stream.


Eventually, I found it time to cover new ground.
I reserved a spot on the ferry.

and headed out of Hornipirin with a group of college kids from Santiago. One in particular shared an affinity for drawing. We held a draw off, after which we swapped drawings. Heres a photo of my drawing of him drawing a picture of me.

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