Saturday, January 28, 2012


I left the hostel today around 9am. The hostel in Santiago talked me into the Pachamama bus tour to Pucon. I did not originally plan this but it would allow me to see some other stuff along the way, and it would be fun since there will be a bunch of other backpackers on the bus. Also, the timing was perfect for when I wanted to leave Santiago and for my flight out of Pucon on the 26/01.

There are 11 people on the tour and they all seem pretty cool. Another girl is vegan, so that might make things a bit easier if there's more than one of us. Safety in numbers.

The bus left Santiago and we headed towards Pichilemu, about 200km south west of Santiago on the coast. Along the way we stopped at Pomaire. This town was kinda small and boring and seems to survive on selling clay pots to tourists. While this might work for those driving from Santiago for a day trip, it's not so good for backpackers. Still, it was nice to get off the bus for half an hour and walk around.
Then we stopped in at Rapel dam, which was probably once a nice river but now provides hydro electricity to Santiago. It was not overly exciting. Although I would like to see the inside of a power station. I think that would be cool.

We arrived in Pichilemu in time for lunch. Jen (the other vegan) and I went to one place recommended by our guide and everyone else went to get empanadas. I still really want to try one, but after walking around the town I'm guessing I won't be getting one anywhere here since every single one has cheese and a different kind of carcass in it.

But things started to looking up when Jen told me where I can get vegan empanadas in Buenos Aires. That is definitely something to look forward to next week when I go back.

I went for a walk down the beach after lunch. Apparently this is South America's best surf. Looks more like a swimming beach to me. I'm guessing the surf beach is further along maybe?

Not sure about this black sand. Call me racist but I like white sand better. Although this is an improvement on Lima's beach, which just had rocks to lie on. So comfy!

Here you can go horse riding on the beach. Not really my thing, but there's a lot of horses so it must be popular.

This looks more fun.

Our hostel is just off the beach and is pretty cool.

Plus some hot guy just walked past wearing no shirt and was wheeling a mountain bike with one hand and had a surfboard in the other. Hello.
Later on we went to watch the sunset over the ocean. This was nice cos we only get the sunrises over the Pacific in Australia. I've seen both now. That is me standing there too.

The next morning we left early for Pucon. On the way we stopped at the Colchagua museum in Santa Cruz. I read on someone else's blog that it is owned by Carlos Cardoen, who was on the FBI's most wanted list for dealing arms to the middle east during the Cold War and therefore was unable to leave Chile. There you go. Anyway, this place was awesome. It had everything from dinosaurs and bugs in amber (very Jurassic Park) to pre-Columbian pottery (only a few erotic ones, Lima must have scooped up most if them), and Spanish invasion stuff. They also had some pre-Inca mummies which were older than the Egyptian mummies, and shrunken mummy heads. It was real heads with hair and everything but monkey sized. I think they take the scull out and then dehydrate it somehow. Weird but cool. Again, you can't take photos of anything.

They also have a whole section dedicated to the rescue of the 33 miners in 2010. That was fascinating. I took a photo on the sly of the actual capsule used to pull them out.

Then there was a section on cars, which doesn't really interest me but I had time to look in there. And I'm SO glad I did cos I found this.

I have no idea why the Delorean from Back to the Future was in a museum portraying South American history, but it is awesome. Or the Doc and Marty were lurking about in there somewhere, having just arrived from 1985.

Next up was lunch. We had all prepared our own for the bus trip and were sitting down outside somewhere. I asked Ryan if he wanted to borrow my knife to cut his tomato. He pulls out some heavy duty thing that he probably kills bears and wolverines in Canada with, and says "that's not a knife, this is a knife". His timing was perfect.

This sign amused me.

After lunch it was back on the bus towards Pucon. We still had about 7 hours to go and were bored. The area we are passing through is very agricultural and dry. Brown grass reminds me of Australia. Plus there are lot of eucalyptus trees here too. No koalas though. We also passed a lot of wineries but our driver would't stop so we could get wine. That would have livened the bus ride up a bit.

We finally got to Pucon really late. Then we had to go book our volcano tour for 6.30am tomorrow morning. These late nights early mornings are killing me! But I am looking forward to seeing inside a volcano tomorrow.