Rambling Robert's Travels

This blog chronicals the travels of myself, Rambling Robert, on my next adventure to South America.

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I am a world traveller. I do not work as such. I have been homeless and unemployed since 1October 2003. I worked as a chef for 30 years in America.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Chiloe Island, Chile

I have just arrived here on the mystical island of Chiloe in Chile. The island is about in the middle of the country, very close to the mainland. It is the second largest of Chiles many islands in the Pacific Ocean. It is a place of magic and legendary,mythical creatures. It is said to be a center of Machupe indian Witchcraft. It is alos home to thousandsñ of Penguins and other birds and the main industry on the island is fishing and handcrafts, with the tourist industry a close third. I am staying in the city called Castro. It is the capital city of Chiloe. There are about 23,000 people who live here. It never gets real cold, and they fish all year round. I only just arrived at about 6pm this evening about 2 or 3 hours ago so I dont have any real ideas or opinions about the place yet. I have talked to many folks who have been here and everyone reccomends it to me so here I am. I was not really planning to come here but after hearing such good comments while in Argentina and while I was in Puerto Octay, I just thought well...why not?
Puerto Octay is a little (2500 people)village in the western foothills of the Andes mountains in Central Chile. Near lakes Llanquihue and Rupanco. Beautifully situated in the shadow of Osorno Volcano. The volcano is dormant and it is perfectly cone shaped. The cone juts up about 1000 meters above its surroundings so the volcano crater is at about 2500 meters above sea level. I stayed at a fantastic little hostel about 2 km out of the village. It is called Zapato Amarillo, which means the Yellow Shoe. It is owned by Armand and Nadia, a Swiss man and a Chilean woman and the real boss their totally cool 8 year old son, Dominic. They live on 4 hectares of farm land and have a few sheep and a cow and a lama, a very sweet german shepard dog named Sheila and her two perritos (puppies) and a grey cat. I had my own room and a bathroom, because it is now the off season and there were only a few guests. It cost 6000 pesos per night (about $10US) and included an excellent breakfast of coffee and teas, homemade breads fresh from the oven,homemade blackberry and apricot jams and local honey. Fresh butter, Chilean cheeses and sliced ham. TEN BUCKS U.S.!!!
There are 2 buildings on the property both built by Armand and his friends.Both made of beautiful hardwoods and polished partical board floors. There is a large Yurt which is of course, a round building with the kitchens in it, where they serve meals and people hang out at night, and there is another building also made by Armand and his friends where everyone sleeps. It also has a kitchen, and upstairs, free (really slow)internet. I stayed there for 3 days doing almost nothing at all!! Just chillin, taking walks and stoking the woodstove at night to keep warm.
The first night the only other guests were a german female couple and a german family of three who happily spent the evening in the yurt speaking german among themselves, and myself and a nice American woman, who is a college student from Berkely Califonia, Who was getting college credits for hiking with her professor and 10 other students in the Chilean National parks and keeping a journal of trees and other flora and fauna. You just gotta love Berkely!!
She was way cool and we made a nice vegetarian dinner together and stayed up till like 2 am listening to her life story and me telling here about Buddha and my goal of learning how to breathe and eating chocolate and drinking red wine and yerba mate.
Second night I was the only guest.
Third day, Bert arrived. At first I wasnt too sure about him.He seems so strait and "ordinary" but he turns out to be one of the most interesting people I have met on my trip. The guy is a career diplomat from Belguim. He was told about this way cool hostel in the middle of nowhere and he decided to come here for the peace and quiet and stay a few nights. He works for the Belgian Foreign Service and has travelled all over the world,and just completed a 2 year posting in Belgrade.He is gonna be in Brussels for at least the next 6 months. This is his first vacation in 2 years and he only has a couple of weeks. We made friends and walked into the town for a couple of beers, and he told me about his career and how he is trying to write down his collected stories and maybe put it all togeter for a book some day. Dude is really smart and knows everything about European Politics and history and World trade agreements and treatys and has some excellent and well thought out opinions and ideas. He knows a lot of the players personally that are shaping current world policies and politics. It was just a treat to talk with him.
I told him about my travels and how I too would like to write a book some day and include all these travel updates and about 30 good backpacker recipes and the coup de grace, my personal philosophy. But... where to begin.
Kimmy helped me sort a lot of this stuff out the last couple of weeks too and I think I finally have an outline. More on this later.
So my last night in Puerto Octay with Bert and two very together young Australians and a nice German man and we all just talked about personal freedoms and responsibilitys, world history, gun control, tyranny and the role governments play in all our lives and the need to just be and not do.Wrapped up at 3 in the morning. One of those magical nights in the shadow of a dormant volcano in the way-off-the-beaten track of Chile with a bright half moon and a hissing wood stove and some very special traveling friends.
Sweet dreams and Peace to all of you.
Rambling Robert


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