Hey Everyone! I'm writing here to keep mostly my family up to speed on what's going on south of the equator. I'm also journaling, so if this gets ponderous go to youtube or something.
For the past few days, we were in Chillan and I was not able to post to the internet. We just got back. It's about 10:30 pm.
First impressions. La Ruta Pan-Americana, which is the highway you take to go south is awesome. A lot of tolls, however, and it's not cheap. Speaking of not being cheap, the peso is at $524, but everything is more expensive than it was 2 years ago. But the economy seems to be strong.
Chillan is not in the lake region as I thought. It's further north. It's a small city. We went to Chillan to stay at a cabin in the mountains belonging to one of Ceci's aunts. We were welcomed by a family friend, Patricio, who along with his wife, Jeniffer welcomed us into their home with a steak, longaniza and pork lunch (!). I thought I was going to explode. But I was mostly impressed with the way these people welcomed us into their home and provided a meal for us ( a HUGE meal), without really knowing us. I'm not going to go into one of these "Oh, these Chileans are such wonderful, giving people" speeches, but this kind of welcome I have RARELY seen state-side. You might get offered a cup of coffee and a drive to the nearest McDonalds, but I've never been received by anyone in this manner.
We then went to the cabin. It's really a beautiful place. The cabin is set atop a mountain and overlooks a small town. The cabin is nestled in a protected forest area. 30 km further up the road your about as close to the top of the Andes mountains as you can get and playing in the snow!
Speaking of cold, there was only one down side. The beautiful cabin we were staying in HAS. NO. HEAT! There was 1 small "estufa" for the whole cabin, which measures about 3,000 sf and has 2 floors. Ceci, Racky and I kept warm with body heat only. That's one of the reasons we left early. We were living in a cabin with electricity and all the comforts of home, but with an ambient temperature of 40 degrees. You should have seen this Cuban trying to start a fire. It was pathetic.
That's kind of a synopsis of the first day.