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Trails & Techno_Text_December 17

Trails & Techno_Text_December 17

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Published by Patrick Archer
Trails and Techno: A South American Odyssey is the tale of two young Americans dodging Corporate America long enough for a 30-day, 120-beats-per-minute journey through Argentina, Chile, Boliva and Peru.

Trails and Techno: A South American Odyssey is the tale of two young Americans dodging Corporate America long enough for a 30-day, 120-beats-per-minute journey through Argentina, Chile, Boliva and Peru.


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Published by: Patrick Archer on Dec 23, 2008
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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 Yet another 6:00 wake-up call. I was in desperate need of a shower,but the wall-mounted bathroom water heater presented a real obstacle.The pilot light instructions were about as detailed as those on an airsick bag. But instead of two images clearly depicting:
1) Open Bag 
 2) Gag 
,the heater’s instructions were much harder to pin down. The first image was that of a match being lit and a knob being turned. The second imageshowed a stick figure working up a mean lather and enjoying his hotshower. Unfortunately, neither of us could emulate the stick figure’sdexterity and shower savvy, so bathing would have to wait until Pucón.On the plus side, we were able to score a handful of shampoo packetsthat María provided in each guest bathroom. The
Head & Shoulders 
miniatures were much appreciated as bar soap had been our sole meansof scalp scrubbing and trail exfoliation for the past two weeks. PerhapsMaría would consider adding this subtle amenity to her already impressivefull-color portfolio. At 6:30, we bolted down the spiral staircase out back and straightinto María’s white
minivan which was idling in the driveway. With coffee mug in hand, María came out of the house, climbed in,threw it in reverse and launched into a dizzying sequence of stops andstarts. We were not exactly sure what she was trying to avoid hitting, butour best guess was driveway air pockets. On the ride to the bus station, we were joined by a young Chilean couple who had also spent the nightat Marías. We sat facing them in the back benches of the minivan, butnone of us were in the mood for idle chitchat this early in the
.Five minutes later, we arrived at the
Terminal de Omnibus 
trying tosay a quick “good-bye” to María. Unfortunately, we were slow on thedraw giving her plenty of time to come around to the sliding door andshove a fat wad of business cards in our hands, presumably for all of ourfriends that would soon be visiting Valdívia. Inside, we purchased twotickets to Pucón via Villarica on the 7:00
express for 1,600 pesos
martes17 de diciembreValdívia a Pucón,Chile
Destino:PucónModo:Omnibus y RaftingDistancia:155 kilómetros
D L M M J D L M M J D L M M J D L M M J D L M M J V V V V V  
1 2 3 4 5 6
8 9 10 11 12 13 14 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 
each. I grabbed a
café con leche 
and a candy bar from the terminal
vendor for 300pesos and we were off.The trip started like most of our bus journeys with only a handful of passengers,so Andy and I each staked out two seats andspread out in the back. This extra room would soon disappear however,as the 7:00 Valdívia to Pucón bus transports more than just tourists. The7:00 express is
the morning school bus for young Chileans that liveeast of Valdívia and west of Villarica where the local grade school is located.Between 8:30 and 9:00 the bus made several stops, and we picked upover twenty-five polite, uniformed Chilean Catholic school children whoeither took seats among us or stood in the aisles. A few of the kids curledup and slept while the majority either talked among themselves or withthe gear-laden tourists seated next to them. One
alert six year-old must have really overdonehis morning Cocoa Puffs as he sang to himself for the entire thirty-minute ride to school. Thekids got off at their school in Villarica and thebus emptied out; however, the drill would berepeated on the stretch from Villarica to Pucón,the site of another grade school. We arrived in Pucón (pop. 8,023) on a beautiful, sunny Tuesday morning. We were both psyched to see that the town had a bustlingdowntown full of hostels and outdoor adventure stores. Tourism hadblossomed in Pucón ever since the federal government had completedthe coastal highway from Villarica in 1940. Once places like the
Hotel  Antumalal 
(1945) began opening their doors, artists, intellectuals, andfisherman all began to flock to the secluded town. It was like a small-scale Telluride where everyone was really into sports and taking fulladvantage of the beautiful surroundings.At the bus station, we were unexpectedly greeted by a friendly, young Londonernamed Paddy who gave us some good
information about the various
hostels andoutdoor outfits in town. Andy and I justassumed that Paddy was a longtime
Ambiente Europeo... 
Hostería Salzburg
resident from the way that he spoke so knowledgeably about the town. We were surprised to learn that this was only his ninth day in Pucón.He and a friend from London were on holiday and had decided to spendthe entire summer in Pucón before going back to the U.K. Anxious toget in on the outdoor action, Andy and I checked out a whitewater outfitcalled
and booked ourselves on the 14:30 trip down the
Tacamuna Alto
river, a challenging two-hour trip with Class IV and V rapids for3,500 pesos each.Our next assignment was to seek and secure lodging which wemanaged to do quite easily. After a not-so-informative inquiry at theTourist Information Office, we backtracked to town. We decided tocheck out a place on the main drag,
 Avenida O’Higgins 
, that caught ourattention:
The Hostería Salzburg 
. Thesign out front promised reasonablerates and an “
ambiente europeo
.”Inside, we were welcomed by MariaScharler Zehentmeyer, a sweet, gray-haired Austrian who was neatly-dressed in a flowery red-and-whiteoutfit with shoes and stockingsreminiscent of the garb of hermother country. When she toldus that a double would only cost7,000 pesos (US$15), we didnteven bother haggling.The place was postcardperfect: a two-story woodengingerbread house situated onthe corner with a nice yard and well-manicuredgrounds. The interior was spotless with a large dining roomdownstairs and five guest rooms upstairs. Maria gave us room number
pucón = whitewater

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