El Sur

Read all the exciting things our scholars have been up to!

Bahhh!! I always feel a little guilty when I’m late on the blog posts, but sometimes life gets ahead of you!

Last week we headed south for our spring break. We flew from Santiago to Puerto Montt, where we hopped on a bus to Castro on the island of Chiloé.

In Castro, I tried octopus for the first time. I don’t usually eat seafood, but felt I had to given the circumstances. It was surprisingly good.


My trying-octopus-for-the-first-time face

Parqué Nacional de Chiloé, on the western coast of the island, was definitely one of my favorite places we visited. I was surprised and in awe at how many different little microclimates and ecosystems this tiny park had to offer. 

We stopped in Ancud, a small city at the northern tip of the island, specifically to try Curanto, a traditional food of Chiloé that is prepared in a hole in the ground. Try it we did, and I got down on some more seafood. It was delicious, but the amount of meat was a bit overwhelming for us.

From Ancud, we bussed north to Puerto Varas. Like many towns in southern Chile, it has a large population of German immigrants and therefore, a strong German influence. It was so starkly different from what I have seen of Chile so far, and at times, it seemed I wasn’t in Chile at all. Apparently, I was so disoriented I forgot to take pictures. Whoops! I did however get these few, which don’t show much about Puerto Varas, but are perhaps a bit more intimate. 

Our bus from Puerto Varas to Bariloche, Argentina was two and half hours late to pick us up, which meant we got to spend time with this lovely woman in the photo above, who worked at the ticket sales office. I don’t remember her name, but I will remember these two hours for the rest of my life. She was so kind and so pleasant, with such a warm and inviting energy; there was something very maternal about her. She had this very Chilean habit of throwing “ito” on the end of everything, like cafecito, pancito, ratito, etc. The ito ending makes whatever word it modifies a small version of said thing, but it also expresses affection. It was adorable, and now, whenever anyone uses the diminutive ending, I think of her.

The bus ride to Bariloche was in and of itself incredible. We rode straight through the Andes. It was unreal.

We passed through acres and acres of dead trees. We found out later that a volcano erupted some years back, so now, it is all sand and dead trees.

Just outside of Bariloche, we hiked in Nahuel Huapi National Park. Turns out, we were in Patagonia. And we didn’t even know it until we arrived.

This was also one of my favorite places; it is made of the same stuff as Dreams.

While in Bariloche, Marissa and I went out dancing with some folks from our hostel. Pictured are two estadounidenses (Statesians?), an Argentinian, a Chilean, an Israeli, and a Brazilian. We were also later joined by someone from Switzerland. We managed to cross the communication barriers, finding enough words to connect and have a really good time. It was a beautiful experience. Of course, it helps that dancing is a universal language ;)

From Bariloche, we bussed back west to Valdivia, Chile. It is the low season right now, and all of us Portlanders were so excited because it rained. Hah. We also got fancy and touristy for a day and took a boat tour!

The trip was nothing less than magical. The whole time, I kept finding myself in the space of I can’t believe this is actually happening. 

Also, there’s this:


Ok, tengo muchísimo sueño. Sleep sleep time.