Thanks for checking out my blog. I will work to keep it current, with photos and posts. YOU CAN FIND THE PHOTOS AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS PAGE. ¡gracias!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

La Isla Grande de Chiloe

I love saying the name. "Isla Grande" makes it sound like a fake city in some Disney Movie. that is half the reason why i came. something about islands just make me want to see whats on them. (btw its an island like manhattan is an island, not on easter island or anything). I have spent 2 days exploring Chiloe, and it IS pretty magical. It is covered in really dense rainforest type vegetaion, and there are these houses everywhere that are over the water standing on stilts. I havent quite figured out why they go to the trouble of building 30 feet above the water, instead of the open land right behind it... but its cool!

Yesterday they had a festival for the victims of the earthquake and the local highschool kids put on Jesus Christ Superstar to raise money. so of course I had to go. It was amazing. and by amazing I mean lip synced, with lots of shiny fabric and an over enthusiastic light board operator. the kids seemed to really enjoy it. made me so grateful to have had all the opportunities to perform when I was a kid, because something tells me this probably doesnt happen too often for them.

I arrived here on a boat that sailed through the fjords of southern Chile. My mom describes the area as the place that looks like puzzle peices at the bottom of your world map. haha. Its a good description. It was amazing. I had the best time. I hung out with gringos from all over the world, slept 12-14 hours a day, ate a LOT, laughed, read, and took in the amazing sights around. It supposedly can get rough sometimes, and people get bad seasickness but it was pretty mild for our trip. The bartender was the only one not having a good time. pretty sad guy, would ask for a cup of coffee and he looked at you like you wanted his newborn child. then after 10 minutes of preparring the coffee, he would hand you this tiny cup of lukewarm intant nescafe. then if you didnt have the right change that was another life crisis that he had to endure.

OKAY! a word about South America and CHANGE!! it doesnt exist. i mean there are times when they wont SELL me something because i dont have the EXACT change. that or the person dissapears to search for change from other people. it really seems like a simple solution... make more coins!! When you get out large amounts from the ATM, Oh, you are screwed. have to search for a place to break your bills. and then the opposite is true, if you give them exact change and they werent expecting it... major points, you are IN! From a country that mines most of the metal for the both american continents you think that they could have some disposable change reserves. the most amazing thing is that it is universal, i mean you would think all of the storeowners got together and decided, screw the customers we are only going to carry this amount of change and when we run out WE RUN OUT!! DOWN WITH CHANGE!!

love you all.

que te vaya bien

Monday, March 22, 2010

Torres Del Paine

Well I just got back from my second patagonian trek. 3 days 3 nights on the famous "W". i think half the reason people come here is so that they can say they have done the "W". Its just fun to say. It was so beautiful. the first day and a half I had beautiful, amazing, perfect weather, then next day and a half were pretty windy and wet, but not too bad. It was all enjoyable, but having the nice weather really makes the place magical. At this point glaciers don´t impress me. which means I have seen A LOT of them. They are pretty mind blowing.

I had a better experience this go around. I think it took me a week to adjust to being by myself. My mind was much more at peace, which allowed me to enjoy it more. even just 3 days, is a LONG time to spend with just your thoughts. At a certain point I started running out of topics to think about, so I tried to solve world poverty in my head. haha. didnt get very far.

I don´t think any description of what i saw will do it justice, so I am hoping I can get some pictures up soon.

Today my goal is to get on this Ferry that goes north to Puerto Montt through fjords. It is the only way to go north through Chile, there are NO ROADS! because it is all just islands and fjords and the andes. So I am trying to get half price for the ticket. the guy at the office kind of smiled at me in that "silly gringo" kind of way. but im am just going to camp out in their office till they get sick of me and just let me on for hopefully... half price! We´ll see.

Next up, WWOOF Farming in Chiloe (island off of Chile). Then volunteering with Habitat for Humanity in Talca, building shelters for those affected by the earthquake. Im looking forward to thinking about someone other than myself for a bit.



Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Well. I made it. I am currently in El Calafate, a fairly large town in Argentina. Their economy is almost completely based on one huge block of ice: the Moreno Glacier. I arrived today from El Chalten, a very small town in the middle of a beautiful valley near the Fitz Roy Summit.
I arrived last wednesday and went out on a trek the following thursday. I spent 3 nights backpacking around. It is hard to describe how beautiful it is here. I spent all of the first day in front of the Cerro Torre. Mostly just looking at it. I hiked up with two Argentinians very friendly and fun to trek with. The following day I went deeper into the park and splurged on a refugio (cabin). It had been raining that day so i was never so happy to see a wooden structure. It was really isolated. I stayed one more night there and did a day hike. There was no one for Miles. A strange, exhillirating, lonely, exciting feeling. hard to describe. similar to the feeling of looking up at the stars. (which I also did and was also unbelievable).
There have been some lonely spouts where I really miss Santiago and all the friends I made there, or the friends I came with...Mike. But it is really wonderful to be out here. Now I am off to find a Hostel and figure out where I am going next.
love you all and think of you often.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


Some of you may know of my love for layovers. WELL, I am writting this during the official longest layover I have had, 20 hours, so long i considered getting a hostel, but lucky for me its in buenos aires. I took a quick tour of the city and headed back to the airport before dark. It is beutiful here, the energy is totally different. Very similar to New York. There were some streets that if the signs were in english you wouldnt be able to tell the difference. actually even in spanish it  works.

I had to kind of pull myself away from santiago. I really could have stayed. Which I think is a good thing. I got the opportunity to meet a lot of Chileans which was really what made the city exciting and fun. Too bad on the last night I met some of the coolest people since I got there. But now I KNOW that I am going back. BUT now being here in B.A. I have a feeling I may fall in love with every place I go.

My final destination is El Calafate Argenitina, in southern patagonia. My plan is to spend one or two nights in the city, search desperately for friends to hike with, and then head up north to Mt. Fitz Roy. Im going to climb to the top! its actually a pick-axe-might-die-trying type of mountain, im just going to hike around it. and then another spot and then into Torres Del Paine, the crown jewel of Patagonia. But I am willing, and ready for all of that to change. I have everything I need so I am up for whatever. I am looking forward to being in the mountains. Now  I am officially grateful for all those years in Boy Scouts. Thanks M&D.

Friday, March 5, 2010

A Week Later

Took me a while to get to this, but I finally found some time to sit down for a bit and write a post. I want to thank everyone for their kind thoughts and messages. They meant a lot. The last week has been a bit strange, with lots of ups and downs but I feel somewhat back to normal now.

I want to give an account of what happened. It feels a bit strange or narcissistic, but it was an unbelievable experience, and something that I will want to look back on.

Last friday me and mike had an "Asado" at our host families house, it was a sort of farewell to the family and a way for us to invite some of the friends we had met in Santiago over to our beautiful house. We had a great time, and like most chilean gatherings it ended pretty late, around 3am. I went to walk out our last guest, and as we were standing outside of the house chatting, it happened. It was subtle at first, and we thought of it as just another "temblor" (tremors are really common here like home). But as it went on and slowly got stronger, it dawned on us that this was something bigger. At that point I felt like part of me left and watched the rest of that night happen.  Hard to explain but it was all very unreal. The top part of the facade on the building across the street dropped off, in one quick swoop. The lights started going out and santiago fell into complete darkness. At this point my anxiety and imagination took over and I was picturing all of santiago collapsing around me. The street moved like how you may have seen in videos. my friend described it as a "serpiente" and he is right. It was quite fluid actually, as if the earth would open up and the building would just fall through. The earthquake lasted 3 minutes or so. which is an eternity.
In a panic I remembered my family and ran back to the house to check on them. I found them huddled under the entryway, too scared to cry, breathing too hard to speak, we just huddled and pleaded with it to pass. It did of course. And for a moment we just waited, hearing only the sounds of our hurried breath. We carefully, slowly stepped onto the street and looked around to see if there would be more. in an instant the street was full of people doing the same, unsure of what they might find, or who might be hurt. There was a murmur of neighbors checking in with each other, i didn't need to know the language to understand what they were saying. Each had the recognizeable look of disbelief and confusion. We also felt the quiet panic that in some other place there might be a fate far more grave ours. I struggled to regain my composure, and my breath. I felt void of reason or power. We all just of looked at each other, glad that the other was alive. Collectively we had that sudden realization of how fragile life is, that always happens after an event like this. The mothers quickly turned to their children, fathers talked about what to do next, children reached out for arms to hold them. and I stood there no longer a stranger, no longer a gringo, but a neighbor, a chilean, a fellow human. I looked up into the sky and suddenly it was filled with stars, like you might see in a desert. There in the sky was an almost full moon that looked down with the sympathetic indifference of the heavens consoling our shaken spirits with the reminder that what happened that night was not an attack, not revenge or punishment but a crack in the ever changing landscape of our living planet.

NOW. one week later, the city moves on. and that feeling of unity, of brotherhood, the awareness of our fragile lives slowly fades. I feel pulled in a million directions right now, and a bit unable to anything. I decided to go ahead with my plans to go to Patagonia. I am not needed in the recovery efforts in the south right now, I have nothing to keep me here, and I have a plan that I set out to accomplish. So here I go. Feels a bit strange to leave Chile. A country I now know in a more an intimate way, and one that I have come to love. Sunday I head to Mendoza, Argentina and then off to El Calafate (Moreno Glacier).

Thanks for reading my post, and again thank you for your heartfelt concern. I feel very lucky to have so many wonderful people around me wherever I go.