Sunday, March 29, 2009

Burns, Goals, and Burger King

Yesterday, I played wopo at the Chilean National Stadium against the Chilean selection team. It took me forever to find the stadium because my map was incorrect. Even though we didn't have any subs, we still pulled out a win. I forgot to put sunscreen on and got burned pretty bad. Last night, I played poker with Esteban until 4am. We also got Burger King...the taste is a little different but still good. Today, we played the selection team again. We had to borrow a few players because we didn't have enough. I feel like I played better today, and I was able to put three in the net. Right now I wish I could go to sleep, but I have a lot of work to do.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Yes Man

Yesterday was just another long day of classes...nothing too special other than getting some of my school books. At night, I watched the movie "Yes Man." I thought it was pretty funny, but I was expecting it to be funnier. This morning I read and read and read for my state class. Over 600 pages due by the end of Holy Week...woohoo. It's not that bad. It's just boring. After lunch, I talked to Corinne for a little bit =) Tonight, I met up with Emerson and Fabian at a discoteque. We had a great time. I'm really glad I went. I was thinking about going to bed early, but I thought...hey why not. I even ran into Marcelo on my way home. So...I think I'm going to take the Yes Man approach for now on and say yes to things even if I don't feel like doing them. Of course there will be exceptions...duh.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

First Polo Game

So...I'm finally caught up with my blog. What I'm writing actually happened today. This morning, I talked to Matt on aim for awhile. It was really great to hear from him. I went to the helping class that's scheduled for my state class. It didn't help much because the grad student talks faster than the teacher, but whatever hopefully I can get my book tomorrow. I'm feeling more confident in philosophy because I can understand most of what the teacher is saying. After class, I went to wopo practice and paid the coach my membership fee. Come to find out, there was a scrimmage scheduled against the Chilean selection...the best 18yr old water polo players in all of Chile. We didn't fair too bad. I got scored on three times, but hey who's counting?!?! They just beat me down the pool. I think a few more weeks should help. I only shot once and it hit the top left corner and barred down, but I got just a bit too much bar. My whole team and I let out a big sigh because we thought it was going in. It just trickled on the line.

Some Old Pics

All of these pictures are taken in Pichelemu, Chile.

Service 3-24

In poetry class, I said another word that has a double meaning. I don't even mean to do it. I ate lunch at home with the fam and Ruthie who studied here two semesters ago. She's here visiting. I had no idea what to expect at Cerro Navia. I walked around the town Vinete with Jimena, a social worker. We just walked around and talked to teenagers about school and drugs. They were a lot more open then I thought they would be. I feel like I should be doing this kind of work. It's great.

Treading with Chairs 3-23

I did a little reading in the morning. Then, after lunch I tried to get my picture taken for my pase escolar, but of course it didn't work out. I have to go see a lady named Claudia tomorrow. I didn't really understand anything in my philosophy class and the teacher's handwriting is atrocious. However, Natacha was able to help me. Water polo practice was a killer. We swam a whole lot and did a lot of leg work. We even had to tread water while holding plastic lawn chairs over our heads, but I can feel myself getting stronger. I mad friends with Carlos, Jaimpa, Gavino, and Marco.

Stressful Planning 3-22

Thursday in Poetry class, I said a sentence that has a double meaning which was apparently sexual. It was so funny because I didn't even realize it. Friday, I woke up early and the gang and I ran to the gym playground. Then, I went to Lider with Laura and Eli to buy food for Hanna's birthday party. After that, Laura and I went to Club Magiko to make reservations, but it was a little too sketchy. I then got ice cream at Bravissimo with the gang. After signing up for my state photo copies, I had dinner and went to polo practice. It was great. The guys were really good and I was dead afterwards. P.S. I feel in love with the NUTS4NUTS stand...honey roasted peanuts. Straight from practice, I went to Hanna's party. The whole time there, I tried to find a club online for us to go to. Finally, Laura, Eli, and I walked over to Huracan and they agreed to let everyone in for free. Hanna liked it, so it went well. I was dead tired. We took a 9am bus to El Tabo. The house we rented was gross. I had to buy gas for the stove and almost got attacked by a dog in the process. At first, the gas didn't work, but the gas man, who I called Jorge, came and fixed it. Most of us went to the beach for the day, and just relaxed and talked. I collected a few shells. At night, I played soccer with other people...requirement was you had to be in your sleeping bag. Today, I woke up and made eggs for Eli, Rob, Hanna, and me. We took the 9:45am bus back to Santiago. I was nice and went to a Methodist church with Hanna. We were the only ones there...seriously. It was a very powerful mass and we really connected with the pastor and the band. We talked to them for awhile. I plan to go to a meeting there next Saturday.

PASEO 3-18

This morning, I ran with Caitlin, nicknamed La Kite...idk why I didn't make it up. Then, I went to Lider to get food for the Paseo. All the students of UAH went to this big park, which we described as the park where you would have field day. It was a great day. Esteban and Marcelo were there. I met up with Natacha and she introduced me to Daniel who is in love with the NBA. I also met a lot of students in the philosophy dept. Daniel is really nice and is in my philosophy class. I also met a whole lot of other Chileans, but I can't remember their names.

St. Patty's Day 3-17

In the morning, I picked up my poetry photo copies. After lunch, I went to Cerro Navia which is where I'm going to do service. It took forever to get there, and the guy who met us there, Sergio, didn't seem too enthused to see us.

You Put a Smile on My Face 3-16

At the end of philosophy class, I met Natacha who is also in my state class. She is really nice and is willing to help me. Today, I received two letters from Corinne. It made me really happy. I really hope that everything will work out and I'll be able to see her in El Salvador. At night, basketball practice was rough. We did a lot of running.

LOTERIA!!! 3-15

A bunch of us went over Hanna's and played Chile's version of BINGO. We had so much fun...crack jokes in spanish with Eli and Pia the entire time. At night, I went to the same mass as my house brother, Hector, and didn't even know it.


I shopped all day to find white clothes for White Sensation. It's a requirement to wear all white or they won't let you in. I found a nice pair of white shorts in the morning, but I wanted to check out other places. Then, of course, I didn't find another pair and when I went back, the store was closed. I eventually found a pair of white soccer shorts. Then, I looked for basketball shoes. I found a pair I really liked, but they didn't have my size because my feet are too big. Then, I met up with a few other students and went to the Precolumbino Museum for a school project. The museum was really cool. It had artifacts from the Incas, the Aztecs, etc. For my school project, I chose to write about a pink shell called Spondylus which is found near Ecuador 40m down on the ocean floor. The divers who would retrieve the shells led short lives because of the work they did. White Sensation was INSANE!!! On the metro there, everyone was wearing white and so pumped up. Inside the building, it was like a different world. It was the best techno I've ever heard with lasers and people hanging from the ceiling. I danced on top of a 10 foot pillar. I met Toni, Java, Kety, and Sebastian.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Cook-Out! 3-13

I went to the Inaugural Mass at school. They introduced two guys that are going into the seminary. At night, we had a cook-out at Lauren's house. I dared David, the seminarian, to jump in the pool, and he actually did it.

First Day of Class 3-12

I went to the wrong room for my Estado class...gonna be super hard. Then, I had the secretary Marisol help me find my second class, Poesia. I love the class and the teacher...the same teacher I had in January. I bought my ticket for White Sensation and then had my Poverty and Development class. Then, I ate the apple pie that I helped bake yesterday.


I called Corinne to wish her a happy birthday. In the afternoon, we had an orientation at school for exchange students and students from other regions of Santiago. I met Barbara, Veronica, and Camilo. They are so nice and amiable. At the free lunch, I ate three sandwiches and four postries. Then, a bunch of us went to a restaurant to just chill, and the waiter tried to flatter the gringas. It was really funny. At night, I helped Hanna bake an apple pie. Then, of course I called Corinne again and sung to her happy birthday in spanish.

I Met a Fifa World Cup Referree 3-10

I went to school and paid for my homestay...February and March. I discovered that my philosophy class changed times, so I ran all over the place and saw Isabel (my coordinator) three times. Long story short...there are other sections and everthing is fine. I went to the pool with Esteban. It was great. I met two lifeguards who were really funny and one referreed for the '98 Fifa World Cup. We also met Shaye, Kaitlin, and Ryan from American University. I talked with one of the lifeguards on the way home. At Manuel Montt, I ran into Fernando. I just e-mailed the Club of Providencia about water polo.

And It Begins! 3-9

Orientation today was like any other orientation...long and boring, but useful. We got a free lunch...which was great. There was a violinist who I think played popular spanish songs because people were laughing and smiling. I signed up for basketball at the fair. After orientation, I went to lunch with Chilean Political Science Majors. I met Jose who is a really nice guy. We talked for awhile. Then, I went to Esteban's house and played Madden '08. He kicked my butt.

Gnarly Dude!!! 3-8

The surfing lesson was at 11am, and Hanna and Fernando showed up. Hanna took the class with us. Apparently, Fernando is a really good surfer. The class consisted of four other people with us. We went out pretty far at first. I caught one good wave, but I couldn't coordinate my feet well enough to stand. In the shallows, I was able to stand for a few seconds. David was able to stand for the longest. When we returned to the school, we met a nice guy named Carlos and we ate lunch with him. He lived in St. Louis for awhile and now lives in Santiago. He loves to surf. Then, David and Joe went to the supermarket, and I got a rock and a crab claw from the beach. I talked to two nice old ladies at the palm tree park. We took the 6:45pm bus back to Santiago.

And the Wheels on the Bus Go Round and Round 3-7

After dinner, I went to Brenna's house and had once. It was really nice and Esteban was there. Then, we went to a club on Calle Suecia. It was alright at first, but then I realized that it was March 7th... I got to bed around 5am. The bus to Pichelemu was at 9am. I met David and Joe at the station. I slept on the bus most of the way there. We stayed at the hostel Angel Azul for 3,500 pesos/night. I guess that included the bed bugs...gross! One of the surfing schools said the morning is better for surfing, so we decided to wait for the next day. We just went to the beach for the day and ate sandy sandwiches. At 7pm, we went to church, but it turned into a wedding. It was very simple, but the most important part seemed to be the signing of the marriage contract on the altar. For dinner, we ate burritos with Fernando and Hanna.

Argentina Visa 3-6

I went for a run this morning and went over the big bridge twice. Then, I went to the Argentinean Embassy and they told me to go to the Argentinean Consulate. The lady there told me that I didn't have to do anything until I go to Argentina. Then, I called Luis and apologized for not being able to go out tomorrow for his birthday. Hanna, Laura, and I ran into Sergio (from Torres del Paine) on Avenida Providencia.

More Chilean Friends 3-5

Today, I went to the pool Tuphue on Cerro San Cristobal. It was such an incredible pool. It had a huge rock in the center to lounge on. There, I met three Chilean guys...Luis, Fabian, and Emerson. They work at the clinic near Pedro de Valdivia. Luis really liked Anna.

Friday, March 20, 2009


Last night, our guide for the colcano told us the weather was too bad to go at 4am, so we were going at 7am. We woke up at 6am and had some cereal. Once we put all of our gear on, we went to the transfer van. We slept most of the way to Volcan Villarrica. Once there, we were told the clouds were covering too much of the volcano for us to go up safely. After a few crazy pics with some new friends, we went back to the hostel. We packed up all of our stuff and put it in Gustavo's make-shift office. Gustavo is from Uruguay and he's trying to travel for two years on a $200/month budget. He was working at backpacker's to pay for his stay. For lunch, I had two huge hotdogs with tomatoe, mayo and avocado. In the afternoon, Hanna and I went Hidrospeeding (spanish spelling). It's like white-water rafting, but instead of a raft, you use a boogie board. It was INSANE!!! I loved going up, down and through the huge class III and IV waves. Hidrospeed is only practiced in Chile and France. I don't know why it's not more popular. It's definitely the craziest and most fun extreme water sport. For dinner, Hanna, Lauren and I ate at Mama's and Tapas which of course I called Mama's and Papa's. It was a little expensive, but my pork sandwich that was called Churrasco Mamas was really good. After dinner, we got all of our bags and took a taxi to the bus terminal because we were almost late. We made the bus at 9pm and were on our way back to Santiago. I LOVE SOUTHERN CHILE! CHI-CHI-CHI LAY-LAY-LAY VIVA CHILE!!!

I Smell Taco Bell! 3-1

We woke up and had a few handfuls of Cheerios becasue we found out that breakfast was not included. Then we started our Mapuche Cultural Tour with our guide Max. We first went to a small bnuilding where small Mapuche meetings are held. It had beautiful paintings and satchels of the Mapuche. Then, we went to a lady's house where we learned and practiced weaving. It was really interesting. We then had a Mapuche lunch. We ate really good soup that smelled like Taco Bell, kinoa (small rice), cucumber, pepper and bamboo salad, and pimeons (small vegetables that look like Nan's white flowers). It was super good with pear juice. I got a jar of rosa moscata mermalada for my host mom. Back in Pucon, I talked to my mom and Corinne online. I think I'm super homesick! Then for dinner, I made myself 4 cheeseburgers which were absolutely delicious (4 burgers + 4 rolls = 500 pesos)! Then, Lauren and I went to church at 8pm. Afterwards, I tried on my equipment for the big hike up Volcan Villarica tomorrow.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Nuts + Bolts= My Kind of Art 2-28

Today, I was the first to wake up. When Hanna woke up, I helped her get her trenza out. Her hair that was in it was gross. It was turning into a dreadlock. Then, I wrote a few postcards. For breakfast, we had ham, cheese, bread and jam, tea, fruit and incredible OJ. After breakfast, we checked into Ecole hostel which I call E. Coli...not for any reason...just because. From here, we walked around Pucon. Hanna bought me Lonely Planet South America as an early birthday present. I was so excited! Then, we went into this cool art shop, where a man made art out of nuts, bolts, nails, screws and metal. He was a really cool guy who lived in San Francisco for awhile. I bought a surfer and a drummer for 16,000 pesos. I also bought my black, gray, blue, white and orange bracelet from a small shop. Then, we met a guy who runs a ski program in Pucon and his parents were visting from Richmond, VA. His child was no more than 2 years old and could speak english and spanish. Hanna and i got sandwiches from RAP Hamburger... recommended by Lonely Planet. Then, we rented bikes. Of course, I had trouble learning to work the gears, but my bike was messed up so it wasn't my fault. I love second gear. We found a cool place to go atving and bungee trampolining. After that, we "moo"ed at some cows and then had dinner with David and Amanda Bell. P.S. Lemonade with mint is not good. At night, we went to the Hot Springs which were incredible. Each one was a different temperature and you could look up and see a bagillion stars. I've never seen so many stars. The termas only cost 10,000 pesos.

HOT SALSA!!! 2-27

Before I woke up, the girls went to a grocery store for breakfast and a picnic lunch. We had multigrain cheerios for breakfast which are really good. We spent most of the morning souvenir shopping. I got a lot. In one of the stores, I met a lady who had worked at Lake Tahoe as Ski Patrol. She was really nice. I tried to use a bathroom in a casino, but you had to pay 2,700 pesos to enter. After listening to a guy playing the windpipes for awhile, we went to the beach for our picnic lunch. We had bread, strawberry jelly, butter, brie cheese, blue cheese, mozzarella cheese, bananas, and plums. Then, for dessert, I bought pieces of nougat chocolate. It was really hot on the beach, so I went swimming in my jeans. The beach was made up of little rocks. I collected a few for my window box table. The water was cold, but it felt great. Then, we went to the supermarket to get food for the bus. We had chips and salsa, and the salsa was incredibly hot. My nose was running and I was sweating pretty bad. On the bus, we got into a heated conversation about politics. Once we got to Pucon, we stayed at Hotel Geranimo. It was 51,000 pesos for the three of us, but it was worth it. It was super nice.

Cliffs, Slides, and Waterfalls 2-26

We woke up at 8:30am and had cheerios and yogurt for breakfast. Then, we went to Pachamagua. There we were given two wet suits, gloves, socks, old shoes and helmets. Our guides were Andres and Alvaro. It took about 45 minutes to drive to the park. We got into all of our gear in the parking lot. Then, we trekked up the mountain alongside Rio Blanco for about half an hour. For the first slides we did, we went down on our butts facing forward. Then since we paid for the whole day, we did the first few slides again. This time we went down headfirst on our stomachs and backs. On one big slide, we went down sitting backwards. It ws really cool. Then, we had lunch which consisted of a vegetarian sandwich the size of the white plates at home. We also had a durazno and orange juice. The sandwich was super good. After lucnh, we did a few more slides and jumps. We also did what they called the matrix which was running along a wall until you were parallel with the ground and then jump into a pool of water. I was the only one to do the super jump. It was only 8-9 meters so it really didn't phase me. After that jump, we repelled down next to a giant waterfall. It was beautiful. Then, I was able to jump inside the waterfall which was my favorite part. Alvaro jumped into the waterfall from 15 meters. I was crazy jealous. Before we went back to the hostel, we bought bus tickets for Pucon for tomorrow at 5:45pm. They were only 7,000 pesos. Back at the hostel, we met two college students from Santaigo...Gabriela and Camilla. We got ice cream with them and walked alonside the lake. After that, we went to dinner with them. I had a pure crab lump which was fantastic. We also shared a huge plate of all kinds of shellfish. Before we went to bed, Hanna and I played chess (stalemate). We also met a guy from Sweden and a guy from Australia. The guy from Sweden said there's a Swedish holiday called V....? which is at the end of April. It celebrates the end of winter. He also explained other cool Swedish holidays and how popular Schnopp's is in Sweden.

I Should Be an Artist 2-25

Yesterday, we spent all day on the bus. At one point we had to chang buses, and they left us at an incredibly windy gas station. On the bus, we watched a crazy movie with Dustin Hoffman, Kung Fu Panda, and Death Race. Death Race was really cool. Hanna and I played a lot of drawing games which were really funny. Today, before we crossed the border into Chile we ate all the food that we couldn't bring in. Crossing the border was pretty quick. We are now staying in Hospedaje Ellen Haus for 5,000 pesos a night. The first thing we did in Puerto Varas was make reservations for Canyoning on Rio Blanco (49,000 pesos). Hanna and I ate at Dino's. She got an avocado salad which she didn't realize was only avocado. I had cheese empanadas because today is Ash Wednesday. Before Church, we mad English pancakes (crepes) with lemon juice and sugar. After church, we met back up with Lauren.

So Why Is This Bear Important?!?! 2-23

So I had my usual breakfast which was great. Then, we went to the internet cafe to get the addresses for my postcards. I also talked to my dad. I then mailed my postcards and walked through the artesan shops which were really cool. Hanna ran into Alex, Beth, and Laura. It was so great to see them. We had a crepe at El Living and then Hanna and I shared the Darwin Pizza at Mesita Grande. After saying goodbye to the girls, we went to Cueva Milodon (9,000 pesos for Transportation and Entrance fee). The Cave was really cool, but I still don't understand what's so special about the Milodon. In the museum, there was a bigger picture of its poop then of itself. Maybe it poops a lot! Then, we stocked up on food and games for the 30 hour bus trip tomorrow. At the internet cafe I talked to my mom, Steve, Corinne, and Nicole. I'm excited for Steve because he's going to Vegas and staying at the Wynn.

Lamb at its Best 2-22

I went to church at 11am at the main church in Puerto Natales. Before that, at breakfast, I talked to a couple from Australia. They are planning to do the W at Torres. The mass was very nice. At the end of mass, people kissed the feet of Jesus on the cross. It reminded me of going to church with Nan and kissing the wounds of Jesus. For lunch, we had salmon omlettes. Surprisingly, they were good. Then, we walked around near the port and got pics of the old pier, the emerging hand, and the bear. For dinner, we had cordillera del palo which is lamb prepared in a special southern Chilean way. It's stretched out over an open flame. Esteban recommended it and it was really good other than the patch of hair I had on mine. I think I ate the tongue too! P.S. I had more banana milk. It didn't help my hasn't been feeling right since Torres...but it was GOOD!

I Don't Have to Camp Tonight!!! 2-21

I woke up at 10am and went down to have breakfast. I had my tea with milk and sugar and about five pieces of toast with butter and grape jelly. At breakfast, Hanna and I talked to three girls who were about to go to Torres del Paine. One was from France and one was from Mexico. Then, we went to the pharmacy to get shampoo, lotion for my feet, Q-tips, shaving cream, and orange chapstick which tastes really good. Then, we went to Mesita Grande for lunch. We shared a king crab pizza and a lamb pizza. I love lamb! Then, we went to the internet cafe and I was able to talk to my mom and Corinne. It was great to hear from them. I'm happy that they are going to lunch together tomorrow. When we got back to Niko's our laundry was done. On our way to dinner, we stopped in a few shops to get Hanna and Stephanie Torres del Paine T-shirts. We also ran into Max. Apparently, he and Stewart got out of the park 6 hours before we did. We ate at the Rincon something. It had mannequins out front. I had Spaghetti a la Parisienne. It was really good. Then, we had Crepe de Tata which was banana, honey, cream, and ice cream...AWESOME! Then, I had a fresh peach.

I Thought I Had More Money! 2-20

Hanna woke up at 9am and started boiling water for breakfast. We left Campamiento Paso between 10:30 and 11:00am. It took me awhile to get my energy and my body going. We passed Campamiento Los Guardos which was probably the worst campamiento I had seen and we arrived at Refugio Grey at 2pm. We found out that the Catamaran left Campamiento Pehoe at 6:30pm. Since Campamiento Pehoe was 3.5 hours away, we had a shot at making it out of the park. At first we were going pretty fast, but then as time went on we ended up just chugging along. We didn't think we'd be able to catch the Catamaran. We reached Campamiento Pehoe at 6pm. We went to the store real quick and bought our shirts, snickers, agua crackers and a box of pineapple juice. Then, we caught the Catamaran. My feet were killing me. Luckily, we had just enough money to pay for tickets. It was 22.000 pesos for the boat and we had 23.000 pesos. Once we got off the Catamaran. We knew we were in trouble. We didn't have any money. After one jerk was really rude to us, one driver told us that he could drop us off in Puerto Natales near an ATM so we could pay him. We were so lucky that this man was incredibly nice to us. At a rest stop, Hanna tried to find an ATM, but couldn't...and then accidentally got on the wrong bus. Luckily, she realized it right away. During the bus ride, we were able to see a lot of llamas and a few flamingos. For some reason, it made feel like I was in Jurassic Park. The ride took forever. I think my butt went numb. Lauren let us know that she had a bus ticket for Puerto Montt for tomorrow and ours were for Tuesday. Luckily, the lady at Niko's keeps an extra room open for previous clients coming back from Torres del Paine. She turned away a couple just a few seconds before we walked in the door. It felt great to take a shower, but my feet still hurt really bad. I'm looking forward to eating crab pizza tomorrow. I'M HUNGRY!!!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

I Literally Climbed Over a Mountain 2-19

We slept in this morning because we thought we deserved it. I woke up at 10:20am. I started to boil water as Hanna slept. By this time everyone else at the camp had packed up and left. Hanna had oatmeal and I had chicken and vegetable soup for breakfast. Then we packed up and left between 12:30pm and 1pm. We had to walk through a lot of mud before we got to the bottom of the pass. One time the mud went up past my long socks. Going up the pass was pretty difficult, but it was so worth it once we got to the top. We spent about 20 minutes at the top taking pictures. It felt absolutely incredible! There were two sticks at the top that people put things on. Hanna used a hair tie to put a note that said that she was so proud of herself. I left my orange "goofy" luggage tag that the Agren's got me for Christmas. The view of Glacier Grey from the top was spectacular. The ice just went on and on and on. We couldn't see it at first because of the wind and snow. It snowed most of the time during our trek today. Coming down from the pass was really tricky. It went downhill for about 1.5 to 2 hours and it was pretty muddy. I wiped out 3 times in about 10 minutes. Now we have our tent set up in an awkward place near a stream at Campamiento Paso. It was the only place left. All the others were taken. A guy from Santiago put up his tent right next to ours. He is in his 6th and final year studying dance. He plans to become a choreographer when he graduates. He is preparing for his final exam which consists of a variety of dances he has to perform. For dinner, we had chicken soup and mushroom rice. I cooked both and they were both perfect. I am really proud of myself for cooking really good rice. P.S. I really want a hot shower and a bed.

The Egg and Cheese Sandwich from Above 2-18

Hanna and I woke up around 8:30am even though my alarm was set for 9am. It rained pretty bad last night, but the ground wasn't too wet. Yesterday, I walked around barefoot, but this morning the ground was too cold...I wore my boots. Hanna had oatmeal and I had soup for breakfast. The mosquitoes were killing us again today. WE beat Max and Stewart out of Campamiento Seron. Then we leap-frogged back and forth with them and a bunch of other groups. We stopped at Campamiento Dickson around 4pm and we each had an egg and cheese sandwich with pepper and chili sauce. They were only 3,000 a piece. They were just what we needed to recharge our batteries. We headed off toward Campamiento Los Perros not knowing how far we would get before sunset. Max and Stewart decided to camp near the waterfall, but we pushed on. We finally made it to Los Perros at 9:30pm. We felt so overjoyed to sit down, take off our boots, and eat. We cooked cheese tortellini with mushroom/tomatoe sauce right outside the tent door because it was raining/SNOWING. We each had 1.5 servings of pasta and 6.5 servings of sauce. The view of the glacier from here is spectacular. I feel so relieved to be sitting down after almost 12 hours of trekking...19 miles. I'm so thankful there wasn't any rain today. I hope it stays that way...KNOCK ON WOOD. I hope the "pass" goes well tomorrow.

Physical and Mental Breakdown 2-17

For dinner last night, we had spiral noodles with chicken flavoring. We woke up at 4:30am and climbed up a mountain next to the Torres in order to see them at sunrise. The views were absolutely incredible. We were only able to see about 75% of the Torres because they were covered by clouds, but it was still beautiful. We were able to see a rainbow that traversed an entire mountain. Climbing down was was straight down loose rock. Once we got down, I was freezing cold because it rained at the top of the mountain and it was really windy. I couldn't even move my hands enough to put my sleeping bag away. I was done with everything. I just wanted to leave. Once we started the trek, I changed my socks. The socks that I were wearing had little pieces of rubber on the bottom and because of them I got a lot of blisters. Once we got to the next refugio, I felt better and really wanted to finish the circuit. We said goodbye to Lauren and Stephanie. At the refugio, Hanna and I dried our tent because it was really sunny out. We then met Max and Stewart from the UK. Stewart is an accountant for a bakery in the UK. The trek to our next campamiento was really muddy, but we had good weather. At the end of the trek, we got attacked by mosquitoes. There were all over the campsite. When I took off my boots, my feet looked like they were dead. They were pruned, turning blue, and had a bunch of blisters.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

I STINK! 2-16

Last night, we had Mac and Cheese at Campamiento Cuernos. My hand now has one huge blister and three little ones that at least don't hurt as much anymore. Today, the weather was great, but we trekked over seven and a half hours. There were so many hills. It actually got so hot, I started to sweat a whole lot. Between Campamiento Chileno and Torres, we ran into Liz who was with her mom. Caitlin and Amanda tried to see the Torres yesterday morning, but they couldn't see anything. Right now I stink really bad. Before we put up the tent, we dried it with the shammy towel. Soon we'll have pasta for dinner. I can't wait to put my warm clothes on.

Ooooouuuuuccchhh! 2-15

We woke up at 7am to start our trek. We packed up our tent and walked all day in a downpour of rain. It was so cold. At Campamiento Italiano, which was closed, we made ourselves hot water to warm up before going to Valley Frances. We only went 30 minutes into Valley Frances. The weather was horrible. Finally, we arrived at Campamiento Cuernos...WE WERE SOAKED! First, I burned my tongue on hot tea, and then I burned my hand really bad on the stove. There was a huge stove in the Refugio where everyone was drying there boots, and when I went to retrieve mine, I tripped and had to grab the chimney of the stove. It hurt sooooo bad!

Chilly Chile Coco Pop! 2-14

We woke up at 7am, but it was raining really hard and was really windy so we slept in until 8am. I had a crazy dream about a plane taking off the top of a building to go to a movie theatre and right before it crashed, I flew out of it and watched the crash. I went to find Corinne, but Stephanie grabbed my leg and wouldn't say anything. It was like she was in shock....weird dream. Last night, I thought our tent was going to collapse because it was so windy. The trek to Campamiento Paine Grande took three hours. During one long stretch about the length of 1.5 football fields it was incredibly windy. Hanna was blown over. I made a short video of the crossing. I got a picture of the Chilean Fire Bush. I wrote Team Chilly Chile Coco Pop 2009 on the shed at Campamiento Carretas...don't ask how we came up with it...we don't know. I also got a picture of a rainbow. Halfway along our trek we hit Pehoe Lookout. The water was the coolest shade of blue I've ever seen. Campamiento Paine Grande was 3,500 pesos per person. We decided to take a nap. I napped from 2:30pm to 5:30pm. When I woke up we played a few rounds of blackjack. I ran into the Swedish family we met at Patagonia Pais. They are staying in the refugio and finishing their trekking tomorrow. They were eating cheeseburgers that were the size of the white plates at my house in the US. Before our nap, we had bread with PB and Nutella mixed. It was really good. Before making dinner, I ran into Sergio who we first met at the Santiago airport and stayed with at Backpackers' Paradise. He is on his sixth day in the park. He's already done the backside of the circuit. Tomorrow, he's taking the same route we are. For dinner, we ate "Headbangers and Moshpits"...or what it's really called "Bangers and mash"...sausage, mashed potatoes and peas. I also had strawberry juice and green tea. We ate with a really nice couple from Dublin, Ireland. After dinner, we ran into our buddies from Wales. They were exhausted. They went all the way up to Glacier Grey and back. They say that the glacier is incredible. Then, I brushed my teeth and took pictures of the tent. the couple from Sweden told me that at Campamiento Cuernos, our next campamiento, some of the people's tents were flooded. I really hope that the weather holds for us. So today is Valentine's day...that's all I'm going to say. I miss you! I wish I could have lunch with my whole family. I miss being able to laugh really hard. Right now Hanna is popping her blisters. I think I'm going to leave mine alone and see what happens. My feet hurt, but I think they're just calliscing over which I don't mind. Here's hoping for a warm and dry night. Chilly Chile Coco What? Blazing Torres Now!

Day One of Torres 2-13

We got up at 6am. The nice lady, Gladys, made us toast and tea. She also told the driver to come back in 10 minutes so we could eat. The Zodiac was awesome...well worth 75,000 pesos. They gave us a huge lunch with two sandwiches, sushi, and a bunch of snacks. Our boat driver was a daredevil. He would driver right up to waterfalls and swerved back and forth in front of a huge boat. We were able to see a seal. The waterfalls and glaciers were incredible and I was able to eat a thousand year old piece of ice. After the trip, a chouffer dropped us off at one of the entrances of Torres del Paine at the administration building. Entrance into the park was only 4,000 pesos. It would have been 15,000 pesos, if we didn't have Chilean IDs. From a park ranger, we found out that Campamiento Italiano was closed. Our first day of trekking was only 1.5 hours. For dinner, we made jumbalaya. I loved the sausage.

I'm Going Camping and I'm Bringing...

Wet set of clothes
Rain Pants
Rain Coat
Head Band

Dry set of clothes
Shoes/2 pairs of socks
Long sleeve shirt
Winter hat

2 bags of gorp
Dry fruit bag
Bag of granola bars
Bag of Crackers
Bag of Pasta
Bag of Parmesan Cheese
Bag of Sausage
Red Pepper
Bag of Seasoning
4 Packets of soup
4 Packs of jelly

Box of Matches
Toilet paper
Tent/sleeping pad/sleeping bag
Bug repellant
Swiss army knife
Water Bottle
Extra Zip-lock bags


We arrived in Puerto Natales around 10:30pm last night. We checked into Hospedaje Magellanes. It was 5,400 pesos with the mini hostel card. It was dirty, the bathrooms were filthy, and a guy woke me up because he was snoring like a freight train. However, they have the most amazing breakfast. I made myself an egg and ham sandwich and also had, bread, manjar, jelly, a banana, and some awesome pink juice. We went to Omar's hostel but it was filled. Then we went to Niko's. It is 7,500 pesos, but I think it is definitely worth it. The lady is super nice and the place is spotless. It also has a huge map of Torres del Paine in the kitchen. We first planned out our route for the park and we made reservations for the Zodiac for 75,000 pesos. It's a boat we take from an entrance of Torres del Paine to see Glacier Balmaceda and Maritomos. Then, we went shopping at Abu-Goush or what I call Babu-Ganoosh. I got most of the food I needed for the trip there. Then, the girls went to lunch at a pizza place, while I went to a meeting about Torres del Paine which was supposed to start at started at 4pm. On the way to the meeting, I found the two guys from Wales. We all had Chacareros from a little yellow stand. It was the best burger I've ever had and it was only 1,500 pesos. The meeting was very informative. We actually learned a lot from it. During the meeting, Esteban called me just to see how everything was going. From the meeting, we finished getting what we needed and I found this awesome dry fruit stand. The lady was flattered that I wanted to take a picture with her. From a souvenir store, I bought an orange head band, a cool shirt, and a bandana/map of Torres del Paine. A girl who worked at the store goes to school in Santiago. For dinner, I cooked eggs with tomatoe and green pepper. It was reall good. At dinner, a lady told us that she only got through two days of the circuit because the weather was so bad. In the middle of the day, and old man said he came down...or over from Sydney, Australia to do the circuit, but he just found out he has blood clot in his leg. Now, he can only do one day at the Torres. I felt so bad for him.

Semi-Cama?!?! 2-11

Hanna, a guy from California, and I played Egyptian Rat Screw for awhile before I went to bed. I also wrote out 9 postcards to be sent out. In the morning, we had sugar-flavored corn flakes and some milk. The guy at the desk, gave us each mini hotel cards which gives us 10% off a lot of hotels in South America. The walk to the bus station was a little over a half an hour. There was a little confusion on which bus to get on, but we were able to figure it out. I couldn't really sleep on the way to the border. We had to go through the Argentinian border control first and then the Chilean border control. Everybody says that Chile is really strict since they screen all of your bags, but luckily we didn't run into any trouble. Then Hanna had me listen to some "apparently" good country songs. I don't know what it is, but I hate country music. After crossing the border, I was able to get some sleep. For lunch, I just snacked on granola bars, granola, peanut butter, bread, and cookies. The bus dropped us off in Punta Arenas at 6pm and we had until 7:30pm before we left for Puerto Natales. Lauren and Stephanie went to a cafe to eat. Hanna and I went to the supermarket and bought plums, apple juice, a bagette, President's cheese (my fav), and cups of flan. The bus to Puerto Natales was a semi-cama which means you get a leg rest. We were able to sit on the upper level which would have been cool if it wasn't raining. We watched a movie with Vin Diesel...I think it was called "Babylon A.D." It was really bad. I think tomorrow will be our day to prepare for the big camping trip.

Arrrggghh Pirates! 2-10

I only woke up once in the middle of the night. It was really cold, but when I woke up, it was pretty warm. We had cardboard flavored corn flakes for breakfast and a little bit of milk. We packed up and sent off to find the trail Costanera. Lauren went back to Ushuaia to get us bus tickets for Puerto Natales. I got my passport stamped by a small postal shop in front of Isla Rodonda (a pirate island). The trail was absolutely beautiful. We followed the coast for 75% of the time. We ended the trail at Lago Roca. The hotel was really nice. We tried to get a transfer early, but all the drivers were a pain in the butt. Then, one nice driver took us to another hotel where I bought an "End of the World" t-shirt and other souvenirs. Once we got back to Ushuaia, we found out that Lauren got us tickets for 7am the next morning. She also got our laundry. It felt so good to use an actual bathroom. P.S. I scared off a fox in the park. The shower was amazing. We then went to an internet cafe. I talked to my mom, dad, Timmy, Jessica, Matt, and Corinne. For dinner, I cooked empanadas, pasta, and pasta sauce. It was actually pretty decent. We met a few guys from the states and one is a fish observer for some large association...Noah. We also met a girl from Bavaria, Germany.

Tierra Del Fuego 2-9

We started the day with the usual Patagonia Pais breakfast of tea and toast. I talked with one of the owners and he allowed us to keep some of our stuff that we don't need for hiking in a locker for free as long as we stayed there the following night. We went to go SCUBA diving, and every agency told us to go to Club Afasim. We went to the club, but they didn't have an opening until 3pm. The early group was a group of creepy men. We decided to go straight to Tierra del Fuego. We searched the town for Stephanie like CIA agents and found her in an internet cafe. We got food for the camping trip and cheese sandwiches for lunch. We went back to the hostel, but they said we weren't allowed to use the bathrooms or anything. They were very rude to us since we weren't paying for that night. I took all of our dirty clothes to a laundry place, and by the time I got back, they kicked the girls out of the hostel. I was furious. Our transfer bus picked us up and took us to Tierra del Fuego (50 Argentinian Pesos for the bus and the same for entry into the park). At the park, we saw a lot of beautiful horses. We took a side trail to see a waterfall. It wasn't really a waterfall, but I thought it was cool....long story short my boots got soaked. Then, we followed the Pampa Alta trail to campsite Ensenada. Along the way, we were chased by a pregnant horse or so the girls say. One said that she doesn't trust anything pregnant...haha. For dinner, we boiled water from the river and cooked pasta. Stephanie and I asked two guys from Wales to help start a large fire...long story short I burned my socks.

Glacier Martial 2-8

Our hostel is called Patagonia Pais. It is such an open and friendly place. Last night, I met a very nice couple from Sweden. After dinner, we went to a club called Kaitek. We had fun playing two truths and a lie and never have I ever. I woke up this morning to Hanna shoving my phone in my face. I couldn't hear my alarm because I was wearing ear plugs. After breakfast, we went to the tourist center and got info on buses, SCUBA diving, trails, and a map of Tierra del Fuego. We got our passports stamped three times with "El fin del mundo." Unfortunately, dogsledding is only in the winter. I tried to use my ATM card, but Bank of America froze my card because I didn't tell them I was going to Argentina. We then went to the End of the World Prisoner Museum, Yamana Museum, and the Antigua Casa Museum. Each museum was very interesting. Afterwards, we ate lunch at el Griego. The best thing we ate was the Napolitana pizza. It was so good. Then, we hiked Glacier Martial. It took four hours from the ocean to the top. It sucked going up, but it was definitely worth it. It was absolutely incredible. It was so great to complete the difficult hike and have a great view of the water. Then, we took a taxi from the bottom of the glacier to the supermarket. For dinner, we had stir-fried carrots, onions, and bell peppers with beef. There was so much fat on the beef that we had to cut off, but it ended up being a great dinner.

Ushuaia Here We Come 2-7

So I stayed up all night playing cards with the Israelis. It was a blast. After they went to bed, Hanna and I started getting ready for our bus trip to Ushuaia while the others were still sleeping. I made PB+J sandwiches for everyone for the bus. We had cereal and strawberry milk for breakfast...not as good as banana milk. We got to Espana early, so I tried to call the states, but the pay phone didn't work. I was able to get through on my cell phone. Corinne told me she received the Rubik's cube I had made for her. The bus ride wasn't too bad. I slept most of the way. Ushuaia is such a beautiful town. For dinner, we had fish, salad, and bad rice that I made. We also had Dulce de Leche cake. We met a girl named Marieca is from Holland.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Are you Gellin'? 2-6-09

I woke up briefly to say goodbye to Sergio. He was off to Torres del Paine. We started the day with Wheat Cheerios and banana milk. Banana milk is so good. Then we went to Sernatur to get information on kayaking, Cabo Froward, and bus tickets to Ushuaia. Luckily, we somehow ran into Pali Aike...the place that Karrah (classmate) recommended. There we booked a kayaking trip on the Straight of Magellan for 26,000 pesos. I also bought a book of Punta Arenas post cards for 4,500 pesos and a flag of Patagonia for 3,000 pesos. Then we had to find bus tickets to Ushuaia. Pacheco bus company didn't have a bus for Saturady, so we tried Espana bus company. There we bought tickets for 30,000 pesos for Saturday at 7:30 am. Walking away from the bus company, we were looking for a hostel nearby. Two ladies came up to us and gave us a pamphlet for the hostel "The Blue House" for 5,000 pesos a night. They even drove us to the hostel. It's a little far from Espana, but it's not too far. The guy that set us up with the penguin trip actually owns the hostel. We dropped our bags off and went to lunch at Austria Restaurant. We got a 4-course meal for 3,000 pesos. At some point, Hanna and I climbed a tree. It was a really cool tree in the park. After lunch, we went back to Pali Aike to be taken to the place where we would kayak the Straight of Magellan. Our guides were Patrick and Felipe. They're incredibly cool and nice. Last year, they came in second in a Chilean tandem kayaking competition. The owner of the place gave us hot chocolate, chips, and cookies after the trip. The water was so clear and we had a great time. We had the taxi driver take us to Zona Franca (Duty-Free). The important thing we bought was our gas and stove. For dinner, we had wraps...mayo, avocado, tomatoe, cucumber, lettuce, cheese, turkey, and lemon juice. We drank pineapple juice. It was awesome. After dinner, we each shoved a spoonful of peanut butter in our mouths without having something to drink. It wasn't as funny as I thought it would be. So in my group, we call ourselves a family...and in the family I'm the crazy uncle who does crazy and unexpected things. We are sharing our hostel room with a Brazilian guy and a French guy. We met a large group of people from Israel. Most of the hostels have signs in Hebrew. We also met two guys who play water polo in California. This is their post-graduation trip. I repacked my bag and put everything in plastic bags. At Abu-Goush, I bought socks, a sham towel, and a map container for the tent rods. Hanna and I played cards with two guys from Israel (Johanatan and Sergi). We played Egyptian Rat Screw and Bullsh**. I can't even describe how much fun we had. There was a bottle of beer on the ground and Johanatan said that he thinks that it's no one's bottle so he should drink...and he did. They also gave us some great advice and told us about the Israeli army.

First Day of Vacation

My alarm never went off, so I woke up when the driver of the transfer bus was in front of my house. Our flight to Punta Arenas stopped in Puerto Montt and then in Punta Arenas. We had two meals on the flight. I read a few pages of Isla Misteriosa. At the airport, a man gave me times to see the penguins at la Isla Magdalena. We took a transfer bus to the hostel Backpackers' Paradise. It was only 5,ooo pesos each night per person (about 8 dollars). Then we went to make reservations to see the penguins. It was 20,000 pesos for the boat ride and 1,150 pesos for the bus to the boat. The boat ride was two hours long and then we had one hour to spend on the island with approximately 150,000 penguins. It was absolutely incredible. We were able to get a free ride back to our hostel because the driver thought we paid already becasue I told him the price of the boat but he thought I was talking about bus transportation. Then we went to the grocery store and got things to make pasta. P.S. We met Sergio Rios on our flight in the morning. He's from Mexico and he's a really chill guy. He's a graduate student at the Univ. of Alberto Hurtado for economics and knows spanish, portuguese, and english. We had pasta and stir-fried tomatoes and mushrooms for dinner. The food was incredible. Tomorrow, we will have cereal and banana milk for breakfast. We'll see how that goes. On the boat, we met a nice couple from Australia. The man worked in Ft. Meade, Maryland. We also met a guy from Brazil.

Friday, March 6, 2009

I'm Alive and I'm Not Injured

My summer vacation during February in Chile was amazing. I put up my pictures at This is the address I kept a daily journal while I was on vacation and I'll put that up as I can.