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Saturday, November 24, 2012

My Life as a Tour Guide (aka Interpreter Tag-Along)

"Today we'll go to the waterfalls then Osorno," said Marcelo, my temporary boss and the owner of the private tour company. "We leave at 11am, return in the evening."

Those words didn't really prepare me for what I saw today. I'll tell the story in pictures.

We started at Petrohue, some (small) waterfalls that connect to Todos Los Santos Lake here in southern Chile (part of the lake system in the area...not the lake I live on).

There were all sorts of people like this,
snapping pictures of the incredible Osorno Volcano.

The couple I was interpreting for opted for the "Jet Boat Tour". 
We took a few high-speed turns through the water,
catching the view of Osorno from below the falls.
Then we ate some blond fudge afterward that I'm positive
was made from pure cow's milk and sugar. Only.
It was so tasty, and completely unwrapped and sitting in the open air.
Also I was recognized by the boat company operator, who also lives in Puerto Varas.
Damn these dreads. 

Here is Osorno with an artistic branch in front of it.

Looking back over the falls.
That body of water is where we took the Jet Boat Tour.
The water was insanely crystal clear,
you could see all the way to the bottom.
The water is so clear because of all the 
minerals from the volcanic sediment....or something.

We lunched at a small restaurant after the falls.
I ate salmon, tried Kuchen (local german dessert)
and then took patriotic photos of Chile, as seen above. 

Then we headed to Osorno, twisting and turning through
roads that were far more stable and paved than any other
Latin American country I've visited. Ears popping the whole way. 
A lack of burning brakes and heart-in-your-throat-type fear
was evident. 

Once we drove as far up as we could,
we boarded the chair lift system. As "The Guide", 
I got to ride free. I held on for dear life (not pictured above). 

Here we see the top of Osorno looming in the distance.
I asked Marcelo if we were to fly over in a helicopter 
and look down at the top of the volcano, what would we see?
For some reason, I thought the hot and roiling innards of the volcano
would keep the eruption hole clear.'s dormant. No roiling innards. 
I'm also not sure what the right term is for eruption hole.
....It can't be eruption hole.

The ride up was breathtaking. And also increasingly colder,
as evidenced by the abundance of snow.
I made the mistake of being sad yesterday about missing
snowfall in Ohio. Well, I experienced the frigidity of snow-air today.
Homesickness: gone. 

After two chair lift rides toward the summit, we disembarcated 
(Jill Smith) near the top but not quite all the way there.
As trekkers were toiling their way up through the snow nearby,
laden with backpacks and hiking poles,
I was dusting the snow off my butt from my leisurely chairlift ascent. 

Volcanic rock. Super light, and looks like soil.

Snow farm. 

Checking out the mountain ranges on the ride back down.
It was much easier to comprehend my surroundings on the way back,
since I wasn't being blinded by the pure-white snow all around.
(I think I have sensitive eyes; I meant to ask my optician this before I fled the US.)
But I was much more terrified - I didn't notice how steep the
chairlift was on the way up. On the way back, well....
let's just say I made a little peepee in my pantalones.

After all the breathtaking scenery of the day
(not to mention the physically exhausting chairlift ride...phew),
we stopped by a nursery and I found these lily pads.
Hey...not bad, Mother Nature. Not bad. 

A successful day in Chile for Project-Based Bradford,
part-time non-profit worker, part-time travel writer,
more-than-part-time fiction author,
part-time interpreter, part-time tour guide impersonator,
full-time vagabond.
(My resume is getting hard to condense.)

Tomorrow's agenda: the island of Chiloe! Expect another picture-heavy post soon!

1 comment:

  1. All I can say is WOW! I could never ride that chair lift. Looks really cool (literally). Great pics!