It has been a month since I've last blogged! Golly Moses. You must know that I still love you, dear reader, but I was diverting myself entirely too much here in Chile to put my adventures to pen. :)
In the past month,
**I have camped out overnight at the beautiful Laguna Verde ("Green Lagoon") -- a green cove at the end of Valparaíso along the beach's shores.
**My program and I traveled to Santiago to learn more about the torture techniques and affects of Pinochet's dictatorship in Chile -- heartbreaking and life lessons. Please take the time to look at the following article: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20091101/ap_on_re_la_am_ca/lt_chile_dirty_war_draftees_2
**Also, last weekend I went with my program to Pucón, 12 hours to the south of Viña del Mar & Valpo. I fell in the mud flat on my face, went advanced white-water rafting, and soaked in some thermal springs. Such stress, no? (see "Pucon-ish" photo link)
**Lately, I have been working on a 6 page paper that analyzes and comments on the 8 stanza poem by Mistral, "La Bailarina." Although Gabriela Mistral doesn't romance a reader to her poems like Mr. Neruda, she has a certain profound sting portrayed. I would encourage you to read a sampling in your free time.
Then last but not least, the theme that inspired me to blog, is my hiking adventure to La Campana ("The Bell") yesterday. This has been on my list of things to do before I leave Chile, a 4-5 hour hike to the summit. APERRADA, hard-core is the ideal adjective. Nonetheless, I could not have gone with a better group-- 3 patient, hilarious Chileans and a beautiful fellow gringa, 5 of us in total. We explored mini-caves, made trails where only rocks existed, played with tarantulas safely, and sang children's songs in Spanish. As far as the hike itself, it was one of the most intense hikes I've done in my life, not counting the hike up the Costa Rican volcano this past summer (whew). When you get 80% to the summit, the other last bit is a one hour hike up pure rocks, at a 45 degree angle. I can see how it could be super dangerous. Yet there were children hiking this - what?! And that was the only thing that gave me motivation, my arrogance, "Well, if these little kiddies can get to the top, so can this pathetic 21 year-old gringa." When you reach the top, it is ALL worth it. Every last panting, sweat ball, tripping, dirt spot, thorn, and extreme thirst. Vale la pena, amigos. I saw the Andes Mountains in a whole new way. (P.S. For those who have known me longer, I had my "hysteria attack" of laughter in our hike climbing down. Nobody knew what to do with me.)
I will leave you to look at the pictures: "La Campana." However, without a doubt, a person should be at the very top handing out buttons as prizes when you finally arrive... something like, "You're a winner", or "Look at this hard-core hiker", or "You wanna talk about sweat?", or "You came with ONE bottled water?", or "Falling on your butt can be sexy", or "You're a Campana champion". Obviously, the buttons would have to be multi-lingual, but it would be a worthy business.