December 26, 2010

Chile: Christmas in Pucon, ¡Feliz Navidad!

{ Our Christmas photo in front of the tree }
{ Laura, Glenn and Kristy }
{ Christmas potluck }
{ Etnico family (minus Tomas, the other dog) }
Last night everyone at Etnico Eco Hostel got together to celebrate Christmas. We had a huge potluck in the backyard with about 20 of our Entico guests. People cooked everything from sushi to black beans to no bake cookies (specialty of Laura, Kristy and me). It´s light out til about 9 or 9:30 and we were lucky with sunny weather all day!

Hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas!!

Chile: Days at Etnico Eco Hostel

{ Laura and I are trying to master making pedre }
{ Asado in the backyard }
{ We spend a lot of time lounging in the backyard }
{ Picking cherries and drinking wine by the pool }

December 24, 2010

Chile: Adventure time




Last week Kristy and Glen, our Etnico Eco Hostel friends, rented a car and invited Laura and I to come along for an adventure drive (it's what we are calling it) to some waterfalls outside of Pucon. It was a great day, off-roading in a two door car stopping at waterfalls and seeing the country side. Kristy and Glenn are both raft guides back in the US. They are down in South America for a couple of weeks rafting... can you call it a vacation when you are doing your job?

Yesterday, Laura, Kristy, Glenn and I went to Huerquehue National Park. We went on a 8 mile hike up to some lakes in the hills. What a beautiful sunny day but next I should remember to not wear jean shorts.

December 16, 2010

Chile: Hidrospeed


Hidrospeeding is the most dangerous/scariest thing I have ever done. With that said, I felt kind of safe some of the time because our guide was very strict on safety and following behind him in a line. Hidrospeeding is basically going down a class 3+ river on a bogey board. You are personally in the rapid so it´s a huge adrenaline rush. Every time you would hit a huge wave it would knock the wind out of you but you had to recover quickly because there was another wave coming fast. Also the whole time down the river my mind was thinking about my shoulder which I felt could have dislocated at any time. On the mother of all rapids I had to take one for my shoulder and get in the safety raft. I love river rafting. Hidrospeeding was exciting, but I never need to do it again.


Here is the youtube link -
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EE1fSEITcw8

December 12, 2010

Chile: Simple living


The other day at Etnico Eco Hostel we had a special guest. His name is Gregor Seibock and he is from Austria. Last Friday he gave a talk about his movement towards simple living and his three year walk from Austria to Japan to promote his believes. He is now set off to walk Patagonia, again, with another Austrian women. He is supported (sponsored) by Patagonia.

He has written a book called The World Wanderer, however, at this time it is only in German.

Here is the link to his website... www.globalchange.at

Here is the link to his friends website, Margit Atzler... www.margitatzler.at
(Also Margit filmed Laura and I talking to Gregor about his walk/thoughts on life so look for us in the theaters!)

Enjoy!

December 9, 2010

Chile: Hola, Etnico




Laura and I have decided to settle down in Pucon, Chile for a month and work at Etnico Eco Hostel (www.etnicohostel.com). Pucon, so far, is amazing. It is a small, green town with mountains everywhere and a huge lake on the south end of town.

Yesterday was my first day of work, which, consisted of me laying in the backyard reading my book in the sun. It was a slow morning so I got to relax. Laura and I will be doing reception work until January 8th. We do have to work a lot more here, 6 days a week, but it is a bit more laid back then working behind the bar at Loki. But a great bonus is that we get to do the activities for free! Hopefully the month will be full of adventures!

December 3, 2010

Bolivia: Salar de Uyuni

{ bus stop on the way to Uyuni }
Where to begin?

Laura and I arrived in Uyuni after a very bumpy drive from Potosi. Uyuni is the jump off point to the salt flats which are the largest in the world.

We were nervous about booking a tour with a random company because we have heard horrible stories about people dying from their drivers being drunk. The first place we stopped at claimed to be recommended by Loki Hostel (travel mistake, lesson learned) so we decided to go with them and asked our first question.... how much do your drivers drink? They confirmed that all will be okay. The next morning at 10am we arrived at the office and loaded up our two Land Cruisers. There were going to be twelve of us on the tour. The first car had problems starting. We saw this as a bad sign since we were about to go on a three day tour into the middle of nowhere. The guides and drivers did not.

Everything started fine. We went to the salt mines and learned more about salt then we ever need to know.  We then stopped at abounded train and hopped from one to the next.

We then went to the salt flats where we took a hundred photos and had a really great lunch, llama meat!


After this wonderful morning things seemed to go down hill rather quickly. Both our Land Cruisers were breaking down, just when one would start working the other wouldn't.

{ Up and over the train tracks }
That night for dinner at the salt hotel we had the worst lasagna I have ever had, it actually made me gauge when I put a piece in my mouth.
{ Salt Hotel }
The next day was not any better. Our Land Cruisers broke down even more, lunch was disgusting, and we had a dozen too many stops to see a dozen too many lakes and flamingos. Flamingos are cool but as the saying goes when you have seen one flamingo...
{ broken down, again } 
{ Rock tree }

{ Red Lake }
On our second night, after another meal I could not eat, we were approached by our toothless guide who told us that we could sleep in tomorrow morning until 6am because our drivers were going to go to a fiesta to drink and party all night long. As you can imagine this went over very poorly. That night at the hotel it was freezing and we went to bed wearing everything warm we brought.


{ We did wake up to a beautiful sunrise }
The next day our drivers were on their A game and we drove off to the geysers and the Bolivia Chilean boarder crossing.

 
{ Laguna Verde }
{ border crossing - Bolivia to Chile }
To sum up, our guide was a liar, our Land Cruisers were always breaking down and the food was awful. At least we got some cool photos out of these three miserable days.

We have arrived in San Pedro de Atacama, Chile! So far this first world country is treating us well.

(P.S. Just got an email from Loki confirming that our tour was a total scam and that other people have had a horrible experiences as well.)