Our Trek

unspecified-5.jpegAfter spending one night in Termas del Flaco, we woke up the next morning to get ready to start our hike. We had breakfast at the hostel that consisted of pain, jam, and tea. While we were eating breakfast I was putting jam on my toast. I couldn’t tell what kind of jam it was – raspberry? strawberry? No not either of those even though the color was red. The owner of the hostel told us that it was tomato jam that he had made fresh that morning!

Once we had breakfast we got all of our packs ready. We packed our sleeping bags, extra warm clothes, sandwiches, helmets, pick-axes, and tents. We were unsure if our pack horses were going to come so we had to make sure everything fit in case they didn’t. Luckily they came and carried all of our food and our tents up which made the hike easier on all of us.

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Termas Del Flaco

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Our ride to Termas was very long and very funny. We were crammed into our van Gus Gus and set out to the Andes. We traveled through wine country and saw beautiful vineyards from the highways. We talked and laughed and told stories to make the car ride go quicker. We thought about the foods back home that we missed, like a meatball grinder from Joe’s Pizza.

To get to the small town of Termas Del Flaco you have to drive along a narrow, one lane road on the edge of the mountains. This means that there are certain hours for cars to go up and other hours for cars to come down. The day we arrived was a holiday so the hours were different from what we thought they would be. The road was closed to cars going up for hours. But! We talked it over with the guard and went up the hydroelectric power company’s roads since the gate had been broken. We traveled up this bumpy, sketchy road for almost an hour. Halfway through the drive we noticed something wrong with our roof rack. Through all of the bumps, our roof rack gave out and broke. We ended up driving the rest of the road with all of our luggage on top of us. This sight was funny to see.

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Where this “idea” comes from

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I want to take this blog post to explain how I came up with the name of this blog – My Chilean Style. This concept started with a story that Emilio told us and then Kurt created a prompt for us to write about this. The prompt reads:

Can you use the idea of the topos to explain what Emilio calls “Chilean style’? What is it?  1) isolate a single example of it, and 2) try to explain how the personal behavior you witnessed was either a result of the destruction or creation of that person’s topos. How did all the things they can’t control, things bigger than themselves, determine their behavior or actions.

“Emilio told us that Chileans have a different time. He said that if you ask them to do a job for you, you will get someone who says ‘ok – sometime I will do it later, I will get to it, I was about to do it but something came up.’

To me – Chilean style is doing things on your own time. Most people are very happy and content. Some stores have the oddest hours here because it really doesn’t matter. In the U.S. this would never fly. But Chilean style is the life style here. I believe that some people think that Chileans are hurting from some things changing in their country – deforestation, monopolization, new construction. But I think that every country goes through this. Every place becomes  affected by new technology and new advances in society. I believe that these are unavoidable but I don’t think that have an affect of what I think of as “Chilean style.”Chilean style is a mind set and a life style that I think has always happened. Maybe some people have a different idea of Chilean style but I’m not sure if the deconstruction or creation of a person’s topos (their community or environment) has a huge affect. Or maybe it does but personally I believe that it is just the mindset.

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Downtown Days

When we first arrived in Pichilemu it was late and dark out, we were all tired peering out the windows of Gus Gus (the van) to look at where we ended up halfway across the world. There were restaurants and shops with their lights on. There was one restaurant we saw – I’m blanking on the name – but it was lit up with a cool sign and Nell immediately said “I want to go there!” What I didn’t realize until the day after is that the center of town was separated from Punta de Lobos and that Punta de Lobos had its own little center.

The center of Punta de Lobos is much smaller than the center of Pichilemu. We would usually go into town to attend our dinners at Rancho Salvitario (which were amazing). Or we would go into the produce vendors and buy fruit or vegetables for our breakfast and lunches. There was one hidden gem we found one night after dinner when walking around town. There was a little shop front bakery with homemade pain, cakes and other goodies. There were so many men stuffed into this small area cooking up so many different things. Along the wall was posters of women. The food that came out of there is unreal.

Kurt told us that we had to try the best fried empanadas for the best price in Punta de Lobos.  The first day we tried to go they weren’t open because in Chile you can be open or closed during the most random times and people deal with it. Instead of getting our empanadas we had a funny interaction with the store next door and bought baggettes and fruit juices. The fruit juice was really just a blend of different fruits with water and ice so it wasn’t what we really expected. And then we hopped into the car with them and Ursa spilled hers all over the place.

When we finally made it to the fried empanada place we we’re so excited to eat! We had just surfed all morning and were ready to get down and grub. I ordered a crab filled empanada. It was so full, there was an insane amount of crab in this thing. So. Good.

Click this link for a video of us walking around the center of Punta de Lobos unspecified-12

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Surfing is a religion

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Like any religion you have to practice it.

The first morning we were in Chile we cooked this big breakfast – we had eggs, yogurts, toast and fruit. Just as we were about to sit down Valentina and Emilio told us that we shouldn’t eat before surfing. The irony was unbearable and I’m laughing about it now as I think about that moment. We still ate all of our food but pushed back surfing for another hour to let us digest our breakfast. Even though they told us on the first day to not eat a lot before surfing – we didn’t really listen. Breakfast was usually a fruit or an avocado, some eggs, and toast. I loved going to the markets the night before and picking up fruit or vegetables eager to eat them the next day.

Around 8 or 9 AM, everyone would meet at our little Air B n B and get ready to head out to the point to go surf. Once we were all piled into Gus Gus (our van) we’d follow Valentina and Emilio down to the beach. As we hauled ourselves out of the van we got down to getting out wetsuits on and the surfboards out of the truck. We were supplied with hoodies made out of towels to get into our wetsuits without flashing anybody else in the group.

Once everyone was all set we’d head down to the beach to warm up before getting into the water. This was one of my favorite parts – we laid out our surf boards into a mandala shape to practice our moves and motions. We’d take a couple sun salutes to get our bodies moving and then we’d jump up and down to get our blood rushing. It was a funny sight to see all of us jumping and swinging out arms in a circle. Emilio would brief us on which general area of the beach we were to spend our day surfing since the surf capital of the South America is always busy with surfers. And then we were off.

I found one journal entry that perfectly explains what was happening as we were in the water – “These past three days have been all about surfing. As we are surfing Emilio is teaching. His teaching is intense – shouting, waving, yelling directions. There is somewhat of a language barrier but maybe the waves are too loud to hear over. I always feel small when learning a new skill that I’ve never done before. It is difficult to be a student learning a challenging and difficult physical activity. Surfing requires a huge amount of strength. Catching a wave was such an indescribable moment. My body surprised me since I didn’t think I could preform this well as I did this week.”

Click this link for a video of our last day surfing 

Click this link for a video of Los Morros  

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Thoughts from 12.29.16

“I keep forgetting I’m in Chile. Everything is similar but still different to me. As we drove three hours from Santiago to Pichilemu I started to look at the trees along the highway. I saw plants that I could recognize belonging to certain families – theres a Salix, a Pinus and something like a Populous with the waving leaves and flat petioles. We arrived to Pichilemu when it was dark and I was tired after traveling for thirty hours.

As I sit outside on our deck I’m surrounded by all of these plants I can’t recognize. The neighbor is blasting Spanish music and I love it. And there are some noises of hammers or drills going on from the construction of new homes in the neighborhood. My face is completely red from surfing this morning. My hair is full of sand and salt. I’m trying to drink a lot of water to keep my body healthy.”
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Our Little Party

unspecifiedPictured above is a poster that promoted the “party” we were throwing, it reads “We invite you to enjoy a meeting at the point (sector the cross) where we will start summer 2017. It will be an instance to share our love for nature through art exhibitions, talks and educational walks.”

We partnered up with the Fundacion de Punta de Lobos for an afternoon while we were in Pichilemu. Before we came to Chile we planned a “little party” on Punta de Lobos to engage with the community. We decided to showcase our groups artistic skills since we had two very skilled ceramic artists (Thanks Robbie and Kat). In the states, we created pendants to make necklaces and raise money for the foundation. The pendants were so cool and unique – there is nothing like hand made goods. So with some time and a little work we made a lot of necklaces from these pendants each with our own character behind the design, shapes and colors we chose. On the day of our party we set up a tent with the foundations logo, laid out of pendants and waited to meet and talk to locals about conserving Punta de Lobos and promoting environmental education.

Along with the foundation and our group, there were other vendors selling goods such as bracelets or hats that they had created. I bought leather bracelets that a man had made right in front of me. He fit the bracelets to my wrist immediately to insure I’d enjoy his product. Others in our group laughed as they tried on winter hats in the middle of a Chilean summer. One vendor who is always selling his goods at the point gave us each a necklace as a gift which I think was the sweetest thing to happen to us that week.


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