Futaleufu

The early morning bus ride with a hangover, dealing with customs, gorgeous mountains, back to Chile. I love the idea of stitching my way back and forth across such a grandiose mountain range, as if it were a playground ride, something to skip over, surf down. This time to the rafting mecca of Futaleufu.

Futaleufu is one of those backwater places where people have businesses in there back rooms, where restaurants and living spaces collide, where extra rooms are turned into lodgings whilst the family utilises the other bits of the house. It apparently has great white water rafting, but by the time I was in Futaleufu I was in relax mode, I was cruising through South America.

I am in fact writing this a few weeks after whilst waiting at Santiago Airport for a flight to Australia via NZ, and can see that at time I was getting a little travel weary, with the whole effect of experiencing the death of someone who had been so close to me for a moment weighing heavier than I thought. But it takes a while to realise things like this and I just motored on.

There was no bus the next day (the only day to miss a bus) so I took the bus on Friday morning to Chaiten. In the meantime I walked about the near deserted streets, ate burgers in someones back room that were deliciously home-made and drank in the mountains scenery. the weather, however, was not co-operating and it rained until Friday morning. I didn’t really feel like heading onto the river in the rain (I know, I wouldn’t have gotten any wetter) so I missed out on the rafting.

So I got to know the girl at the tourist office who wanted to know about English music, here boyfriend played in a band and she wanted to get out of town. It was that kind of town.

On Friday I got the bus to Chaiten.

In the guide it says that Chaiten had been divided in half by the volcano. I thought that this might have been metaphorical, a lave flow perhaps, but no. If you look at a before and after of Chaiten you can see that, due to the re-routing of the river by the lava, the half of the town nearest to the sea had been washed away. Houses that were in the middle of town became sea-side establishments all of a sudden. No wonder these people didn’t want to leave town.

And this is exactly what the government wanted them to do, leave town. So much so that they gave only a modicum of assistance for two years. Recently this has changed as people have been fighting back, inviting foreign press to take a look. You can see both sides of the story; as one American/Chilean eloquently told me they live in a democracy, quite an advanced one at that, so people are allowed to live where they want. To the governments credit they are keeping one eye on the huge resources in tax payers money that it takes to re-build a town such as this every time it is destroyed, and the scientists say it won’t be long before it happens again.

Whilst there I teamed up with an English fella and some Spanish girls and went off to a hot springs. This thermal bath was laughable compared to the wonderful thermas geometricas near Villarica, but the scenery, company and wine was perfect so we just loafed about looking up at the mountains.

In the evening we made a fire on the beach then found a disco in town we had been told about. Apparently people are attempting to have life go on as normal even though the town is mostly deserted, so we joined around 10 other people, half of them Israelis and swayed drunkenly about.

The next day I caught a ferry to Castro.

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