The wind blows a gale outside this little red computer hut. It is as if to say, "Change is here, may the wind be with you." And so I leave Ancud, and Chiloé, and head back to the mainland, to Puerto Montt. A Navimag ferry awaits me there, with a berth reserved, and a journey to Puerto Chacabuco ahead.
Lindsay finished her NOLS mountaineering class, and is happy to have a couple of days to recuperate on her own before I arrive. While I am looking forward to a couple of days of travel, 24 hours on the ferry, and will be glad to have some company when I finally make it to the plaza in Coyhaique to meet her at high noon on Friday.
Chiloé has been enjoyable for me, with a fortutious turn of events helping me along as I rolled into Parque Nacional de Chiloé on the bus. As I was deboarding the bus a friendly Chilean asked me what I was doing, and was I alone. When I said I really didn't have a plan, and that yes I was alone, he suggested that I join him and his girlfriend on a little boat across the lake we had arrived at to a little camping area next to the park.
Having no plans can have it's advantages, and I was glad to take him up on the suggestion. He and his girlfriend turned out to be angels along my passage, as the camping area was beautiful and relaxing, and they were helpful and friendly all along the way.
Camping was primitive. There was running water, provided by a pipe that came from a mysterious source up a hill, and ended in a rusty porcealin sink. We set out our tents in haphazard patterns near the lake, sheltered by trees, tucked up against a hill which backed the park.
The camping area was full of happy Chileans on holiday from Conception, and Santiago, who were all most welcoming and in the best of moods. However, being an extranjero, a foreigner, I never have felt most at home here, even when all around me are welcoming and warm. There is something disconcerting about never knowing what is being said around a person, and never being able to join in the ongoing conversation.
My helpful friends took me on a great walk along the lake, to a neat nature trail through old forests, with root systems so intertwined that the trail had been built of wood, many feet above the ground. We saw many native birds, plants, and trees. Soon we had finished our nature walk, and walked on to an "artesania", a little tiny shop, in a shed, in a field, where an old couple was sitting around a wood stove with their handmade wares hanging from the cool, dark ceiling, bonking me in the head.
They had many beautiful handmade baskets, made of the local plant fiber, and handmade hats of their sheep's wool. The couple live with no electricity, no incoming food supply, no aid from the government. They are happy and content, but tough, and the conditions of their existence were worn into their faces; many wrinkles and grooves carved into their skin from the passage of many a cold rain storm and exposed sunny day.
I slept long that night, awakening to a sunny day, and a walk to the beach. The surf was not to big, but there were clearly dangerous currents, and I dared not swim. I loved being along the coastline of a body of water that touches Hawaii, Alaska, Oregon, all of South America and New Zealand. What a huge ocean it is.
My time has arrived to leave for the bus! I go to Puerto Montt, and on to the South. Look for another post from Coyhaique.
I'm traveling alone here, and can never see who has visited my blog, so leave me a note on the comments page if you like, or send an e-mail, as I miss you all