Christmasshopping in Temuco 

[2013.12.20 | Chile | 4 comments]

Christmas shopping in Temuco. I'm looking for a very useful, practical gift, I need a new camping stove. Roughly three hours from the hamlet Lonquimay to the city of Temuco. People catch the bus by waving and stop it with a word, wherever it is. Doesn't matter if it's the middle of nowhere or the emergency lane on the highway, official stops are only incidental extras. Although hopelessly overcrowded everyone stays relaxed, everyone's friendly, everyone's helpful. The Baby gets a lift by strangers to the exit while the mother, totally overloaded with bags but smiling, pushes afterwards.

 

Two good sorted outdoor stores there are in Temuco, conveniently right next to each other , annoyingly, in an American style shopping mall. "Portal Temuco" the sonorous title of the three-storey temple of consumption. Inside the usual mix of usual shops, shoes, clothes, toys, electronics, etc., etc., a large super market, and one bookstore. Scattered through cafes and bistros some rustic wooden, some metallic modern, depending on the target group. "Credit cards welcome" sticker anywhere, the nearest ATM always in sight, the consumption intoxicated junkie has to be milked without bigger interruptions.
In the middle stands a decorated tree biblical proportions, crib installations on each floor, "Feliz Navidad" (Merry Christmas) everywhere, "Silent Night" as the pan flute interpretation, several bell swinging Santas, one or two golden cherubs; The reminder for the upcoming High feast of capitalism... - uh Christianity is a sledgehammer. Subtle is different.

Cleverly placed at the top, so the march to the summit makes you hungry, the temple of feed. All the "big ones" are represented: the golden arches, fried poultry from Kentucky, dough rings in orange & pink, the Swiss Bird's Nest - here with an ice bar, the modestly veiled green coffee Irene... so, how many you've identified? The tables along the panoramic windows offers at least a somewhat interesting view - even if its most gray concrete - but most densely occupied are the tables close to the troughs, the dispensaries. It's hastily stuffed - literally fast food. In steak paralysis the consumer cattle trotting slow down, not without passing again half the mall, thanks to the skillful architecture. Maybe one forget something, an advertisement didn't hit or might have overlooked a very special offer...

For this, only guerrilla tactics works. Quick in, secure prey, fast out, avoid rapid loss. The battle plan is right at the entrance, the site map shows shop positions and escape routes. A roadmap is quickly elaborated: after the third shoe shop via escalator to the second floor, turn left at the lingerie business (and not stare too long) four shops further and the goal should be achieved. Withdrawal through the nearer north exit. The attempt succeeds, the new stove and with it hot meals in future are saved. But the withdrawal is lost before it has begun. The Bistro "Cassis" lures with a professional coffee machine, tasty cakes presented and comfy looking chairs. Target group aimed, hit, sunk. Two amazingly good cappuccinos (important: order the "international", without the two pounds of sweet spray cream on top of it) later, I eventually decided to see the full mall., but regret and escape after 15 minutes.

 

Significantly quieter, unobtrusive and clearer - but unfortunately too small - the "Museo Regional de la Auraucania". In particular, about the history and culture of the Mapuche in this region, archaeological finds and historical records are presented pleasantly modern. The Mapuche were extremely well-fortified and defended themselves over 300 years bitterly against the colonization. One of their tormentors, Pedro de Valdivia, they captured and forced to drink liquid gold. Unfortunately not proven, but an extremely suitable method of execution for a gold greedy conquistador in the 16th Century.

 

Replacing the Museum's coolness with midday outdoor heat. At the central Plaza Anibal Pinto people lying in the shade of palm trees, lining up for an ice cream, siting for a chat on the benches. The shoeshine boy smiles friendly, then smiles quickly to the next, I wear sandals (without white socks! I'm not that German!). Here at the Plaza is - as usual - a cathedral, whose bell tower - rather unusual - was built as an office tower. Unfortunately I wasn't able to figure out if the regional administration, which is housed here, have some extra breaks during bell ringing.

 

Back on the bus. The same game as in the morning, load after a beckon, unload by appointment. I watch the landscape rushing past, sink into thoughts, chat briefly with my seatmate. Towards the end the bus getting emptier, the talks getting quieter, the music louder. Driver and assistant hum at first with silent, getting braver with every song, eventually singing out loud every chorus. Whinny laughter of the two when I break into  their singsong and - now in German to the Spanish interpretation - smashing "Earth below us, drifting falling, Floating weightless, calling calling home...".
Of Course, the bus makes an extra stop and I can get off at my hostel door. The Bus Terminal would have been uncomfortable 138m away ...

 

Henry said: "Moose goodness, I did not got my gorgeous, powerful antlers through the bus door so I thankfully missed the bi city and discovered instead this alpaca farm on the outskirts .... Duhuh, all this woolly - shaggy alpaca ladies! An elk could fall in love here and maybe want to stay longer... hopefully Stefan don't want to leave too early...!"

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Place #38 reached! 

[2013.12.05 | Chile | one comment]

After a (ok, very...) long winter break, I eventually jumped back on my bicycle. I cycled on beautiful roads and tracks from Bariloche, Argentina, to Pucon, Chile. The wheels bumps over gravel, steep rises the road towards the border. On the only rainy day I reach the "Epulafquen" hot springs, just before the border. An abandoned luxury spa replaced the tent for the night, I lay in the hot pool for hours and let the rain falling on my face. Fast downhill on gravel into the Chilean lowlands. Every two or three curves the Villarica Vulcano appeares on the horizon, every two, three curves slightly larger. My route takes me directly through the same named national park. The ranger at the entrance looks skeptical on my bicycle. The road is "muy dificil", very difficult, not for cars and hardly suitable for bicycles. I grin "es bueno" and the tires crunching through the dark volcanic sand. Steep and washed climbs the road through old, natural forest. Downhill on the next day, rather trail riding than smooth downhill. At the very bottom eventually waits a fine paved road which leads direct to Pucon. Roughly twenty thousand habitants live here, can marvel at the almost perfect volcanic cone from anywhere in the city. And the volcano is not only beautiful, it is also easy to climb and hence the tourist top attraction. At Pucons main street, tour vendor beside tour vendor court for customer attraction. The National Park Service supports the business, solo climbs are theoretically possible, but the effort - required permits, certificates and equipment - is so high that it is hardly worth.
With two mountain experienced swiss guys and a guide we start early in the morning our way up. Much faster than the other groups we reach the top, have it all to ourselves. Acrid vapor rises from the crater, it stinks, scratching in the throat. But the view is awesome. The descent is fast, the majority is sliding down on the bum, extremely fun! Back at the hostel, the summit is celebrated with a beer or two.
A lot lonelier but no less beautiful is Mirador (viewpoint) El Cañi. Steep and exhausting path leads up onto a rock on almost 1600m. Who takes the effort will be rewarded with incredible views of three beautiful volcanoes: Lanin, Villarica, Llaima. I stay overnight, gorgeous sunset, starry sky, perfect sunrise. A perfect place.
My thanks to Thomas_U who sent me here!


Heinrich said: "Well, at last it works even further, Stefan was already getting fat and lazy from all the steaks, chocolates and red wine in Bariloche. But I did not understand why he didn't bring some red wine to the hot springs. Thats unprofessional! And the whining because of gravel and steep and so on... come on! Now he sits again in a hostel and waits for the next asado. And although there are not even some elk girls here for me! Grrrr!"

good by spring perfect for the night welcome beautiful entrance to Nationalpark more trail cycling nearby perfect huge crowd the lines getting thinner impressive view the 'must' two swiss guys volcano Llaima Volcano Lanin Volcano Villarrica Pucon and Villarrica great place mystery morning waht a cone Lizards agrophobia anybody? Asado one... wifi Soon

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