25 January 2015

Bright orange vests!  In laws!  Boat ride!  Penguins!!

Such a great combination of things.  Last weekend we drove down south and explored Puerto Varas (more on that coming soon) and Chiloe Island.  Our first excursion in Chiloe after deboarding the ferry was to visit the penguins.  I could kick myself for not bringing the zoom lens, but if you squint maybe you can see them standing up on the rocks.  Our guide explained to us that many of the birds were not swimming because they were getting ready to molt.  Apparently, they also don't eat before they molt.  I felt bad for the little guys.  After swimming across oceans and fending of sea lions and orcas (that would love a penguin treat), these guys then have to stand around in the sun without eating?!  Who knew the life of a penguin was so tough.

24 January 2015

Final photos of Corral!

The tsunami sign and cute little cemetery are not really supposed to go together other than that the photos were taken within a few meters of each other.  Southern Chile is, however, both rainy (potential explanation for above ground graves?) and tectonically active.  The region is known for its earthquakes.  Since we've been here, we've felt two little ones.  The second one I actually didn't feel at all, and the first one was little more than a jiggle.  But when the earth is moving about, its possible to get waves, enormous waves, of the tsunami variety.  All around Corral were signs for tsunami evacuation routes.  I was wondering how useful those very steep, over grown paths would be in a real emergency.  I don't think we'll move to Corral anytime soon.

In other news, the past two weeks Pablo's parents have been visiting us!  We went on some fun adventures together that I hope to share with you soon.  In the meantime, enjoy your weekend!

15 January 2015

We were famished.  We had been looking for a place to stop for lunch for over an hour.  I was getting feisty.  Hanger was setting in.  And then we saw the beach from afar!  It was a perfect picnic spot.  We found a place to park the car and then hiked across the blazing sand.  The waterfront sure looked closer from the road.  We passed funny grasses that looked thirsty, we slid down the sand and struggled up the other side.  Finally we saw the water in all its blue, sparkly glory.  We dared to dip our toes in just to find that it was practically ice.  So we sat, soaked up a bit of sun, at our sandwiches, and watched the black dolphins (or baby orcas??) playing in the surf.

08 January 2015

We waited in line for about 20 minutes with the other cars and then off across the river we went!  The cars were packed in tight, but luckily it was a short trip across to Coral.  Nothing like a ferry trip on a sunny day with a cool river breeze to make your weekend splendid!

Do you see the freshly washed little red car??! Ain't she purty?

04 January 2015

Its been nice to have a long weekend.  We successfully recovered from New Year's Eve and have spent Friday, Saturday, and Sunday catching up with other friends, making more furniture and adventuring!  Yesterday we decided to check out the small town of Coral.  Its about a 20 minute drive from Valdivia to the ferry which you then have to take to cross the river.  From what we glimpsed, Coral seems to be a very sleepy little town.  We saw a lot of sheep and not too many people.  We drove around the riverside town until the road follows the estuary, where the river opens up to the great big sea.  Along the way we saw some folks collecting and drying algae for sale, and we saw countless farms with humble little homes with million dollar views.  Farm, after farm, after farm with private beaches and cows grazing along the Pacific Ocean.  Apparently, happy cows live in Chile.

01 January 2015

Feliz Año Nuevo!  Last night we welcomed 2015 sitting around a bonfire, drinking chilean wine while chatting with friends into the wee hours of the morning.  Our first year's start in Chile.  We start fresh as we settle into our new life here.

And oh what changes just a few short months (let alone a year) can bring!  At the end of 2014, we went from living in the desert, to moving to the south end of the world, to having a nicely grassed yard which we quickly ripped up, turned over and sowed some seed.  The plants grew slowly in the cold spring.  The tomatoes were not happy and we were worried.  Had we gone from one un-gardenable biome to another?  But finally, in the heart of summer everything has taken off.  The melons are threatening to take over the world, the potatoes have flowered, we are on our second round of radishes and oh' the lettuce.  Fresh as it gets, lettuce.  We harvested our first head a few days ago.  Pure satisfaction.  Lettuce Rejoice in 2015.

27 December 2014

What better way to shake off the winter blues and accumulated viruses than to sit by a pool in tropical sunshine sipping pineapple juice while reading a book?

I bought my flight to the US with miles which was financially convenient but otherwise not so.  I left Indiana yesterday afternoon and won't make it back home to Chile until tomorrow evening... a total of about 40 hours of travel.  Valdivia is far, but not that far.  I am just lucky to have some substantial layovers.  So, rather than spend a night sleeping on a bench in Tocumen International like some homeless guy, I decided to treat myself to a mini-vacation in Panama!  Thanks to the Riande Hotel which is just a few minutes from the airport I've been able to catch a bit of sun and R&R before I continue south.

If you ever find yourself with a long layover in Panama City I would really recommend this hotel.  I think its a bit more expensive than some of the other hotels in the city, but with the free Riande shuttle service rather than usual the 45min taxi into downtown you will end up saving time and money.