Chile Chico, Carretera Austral, Chile

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“This reminds me of Coatia!” Pavel awed looking at the sky blue water under him, “the water is so much prettier than on the Argentina side.”

We arrived our first town in Carretera Austral.  The border patrol paired us up with a car coming to Chile Chico.  Apparently they were going further up as well, but after some thoughts we decided to stay with our original plan for spending a night here.  We were surprised the difference between Chilean and Argentinian sides of Lago General Carrera, the second biggest lake in South America.  Apparently the Chilean side has a much better view of the lake with a variety of dramatic landscapes.  Since we knew the difficulties of transportation in this part of Chile, we stocked up our food supplies here.

Our problem came as soon as the next day.  After spending a morning strolling around the town, since there were no bus going there we decided to hitchhike to Puerto Gradual to check out their festival as suggested by the tourist office.  But this is a Saturday so there were very few cars coming by, letting alone stopping for us.  We saw two Americans hitchhiking an hour before we started, but by the time we started hitching for a ride they were gone.

It turned out that the American guy got sick so they left for a while. The girl later came back and chatted with us while he threw up in the park.  The two of them are working at a mountaineering company training mountaineers and climbers.  The guy just finished his 4-day climbing to the peak of Fitz Roy.  She told us like Mt. Everest, Fitz Roy is no small accomplishment for a professional climber. To stay hanging on the side of a cliff for 4 days presented a lot of challenges, not to mention the high speed wind that are often fatal to those who challenges the peak.  Just the other day, a woman died from attempting to climb the Fitz Roy.  Her boyfriend ran out of supplies after the 2nd day and had to survive based on eating ice from the snow as they approached the peak.

As we spoke to each other, more and more hitchhikers showed up also looking for cars going up north.  A car stopped and picked up an Israeli couple that came 2 hours after us.  Three Dutch guys came and apparently they were missed the boat crossing the lake earlier so they were trying to hitchhike as well.  Upon hearing there is possibly another boat leaving here late in the afternoon, the 3 Dutch boys and the American couple left for the boat since they were in a hurry.

It always makes you wonder why did those cars choose who will be in their car.  We were told by a lot of Chileans how they were annoyed by waves of Israeli tourists every year.  So it makes you wonder what’s right with them, what’s wrong with us?  Though really oftentimes there were nothing wrong with us, it’s just pure chance.

After  6 hours of waiting, we finally found a little mini van that brought some villagers to the festival that night.  They told us 5 thousand Chilean pesos when they signed us up for the ride.  By the time when we pay he asked for 7.5 thousand – a 50% increase.  We were pretty mad and insisted our way, after a lot of back and forth the guy finally resolved with 5 thousands.


From Chile Chico, Carretera Austral, Chile, posted by Jenny Zheng on 6/06/2012 (27 items)

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