Sunday, January 29, 2017
We were up early this morning. Here as soon as the sun peeks out over the horizon the birds and animals wake up and start their morning songs. There is not sleeping through that in here. Not that I'm complaining. I don't mind being woken up at 5 am by the hooting of monkeys.
We decided to have breakfast at a nicer beachside restaurant instead of the same Soda we've been eating at for a couple of days. We ate at Witch's Rock, pancakes, fruit, eggs and bacon for a change from all the rice, beans and plantains. We ate while watching the surfers ride the morning waves, and watching the surfing instructors put their students through their paces, push up and jump into crouching position, running on the beach, windmilling arms madly. Makes me tired just watching! I learned as a kid without all the fancy exercises.
Breakfast was followed by another walk on the beach. As we walked back to the hotel there was a lady set up under a tree with a massage table right on the beach. Last trip we got nude massages in a spa outside on the side of a volcano. This time we got nearly nude massages right on the beach. Wonderful. The only problem with it was that I misunderstood the price, she quoted me one price but charged double when it came time to pay, and of course she wanted American dollars cash, not local currency. Not surprised. But it was well worth it in the end. One of the hardest massages I've ever had, I was seeing stars by the time she finished pulling and pummeling. As usual with a hard medical type massage I finally had feeling back in my hands that I don't usually have because of pinched nerves in my back. I just hate the being shaken down for dollars like a rich tourist.
We braved the icy electrocution shower one last time, packed, bought more fresh fruit salad, fresh local banana bread for the road and left around noon for our next hotel, driving into the central valley area. It was a long journey that had us driving down the beach areas on the west coast before heading through the port town of Punta Arenas. Being it was a Sunday and sunny the entire area of Punta Arenas was crowded with people enjoying the beach, and traffic crawled, taking us a full hour to get around to the main highway towards our next hotel.
At least most of this day's drive was on major highways, not windy twisty pitted roads with one lane bridges. The problem was that this next hotel and the town that it was listed as in were not to be found on the GPS. The map I had was no help. We got close and then stopped something like six times to ask directions in broken pigeon Spanglish. Turns out it was at the top of a mountain up winding roads and quite isolated.
It was fascinating that as we got close to the place I started to see signs in German, a sign advertising that an apartment complex was under German management. One of the places we stopped to ask directions had German beer and was serving German food, Jagerschnitzel and the like. Found out later that there is a large German population in that area and that they celebrate Octoberfest.
When we found the place we discovered much to our disgust that hotels.com had screwed up royally again. This place, the Valley View Lodge, didn't even have reservations for us and had no rooms left. In the end we ended up paying for an upgraded room, much more than what we needed or had reserved and I'd had an angry conversation with an Indian call center demanding they refund the money I'd paid three weeks before. Instead of a single room with double beds, or just one bed we ended up with an enormous apartment style suite that slept nine people comfortably. I told Jim that it was bigger even than any rental place we needed.
The view when we arrived was just amazing, you could see all the way out to another set of volcanos.
The air here is amazing. I can breathe freely and fully for the first time in a very long time. Absolutely zero tightness in my lungs. Tons of wildlife, iguanas, birds, trees laden with ripening star fruit. A tiny bird just came up and sat in the chair right next to mine watching me as I write this down in my notebook. He stayed several minutes. Charming.
Where else can you see signs on a highway warning you to be careful of the iguanas crossing the road? I wish we could stay here in this hotel and area a few days. We passed an orchid museum / garden on our way here and the town at the base of the mountain looks like a place worth exploring. I would not mind settling in this area.