Monday, October 4, 2010

Spring break in September

Cajon del Maipo!
Hello my loving friends and family. I know it has been an INSANELY long time since I last posted, and so much has happened! I've just been so busy! I'm sorry, and here come some epic updates.

Me with our new dog-friend at the waterfall
Spring break was a blast, to say the least. The week leading up to the Chilean independence day, September 18th, we all had off and most people traveled. I organized a small trip with three other friends to a relaxing locale, Cajon del Maipo. We rented a big cabin from a preserve called Cascada de las Animas, or Waterfall of the Spirits. The cabin was a great size, and could probably have fit 6 people very comfortably. It had a fully equipped kitchen, towels, sheets, furniture. I wanted to move in. It was so peaceful and relaxing. We spent most of our time cooking and making up games. We didn't have any music, computers, internet, or any other forms of technology to distract us. We filled up our woodstove with crackling logs and relaxed in our cabin. The group of people I went with was perfect. The two girls and one guy that I went with made very good travel companions, and we created a nice little family for the three days we spent in San Alfonso. This tiny town was actually pretty sufficient for our needs. We bought almost all of our groceries in Santiago and carried them on our 1.5 hour bus ride (which by the way cost about $1.50), but we could have bought most things in San Alfonso. The town was full of amiable people, and the man who worked at the Mini-Mart became our friend, seeing as how we stopped in every time we passed to augment our food supplies. There did seem to be a rather large population of alcoholics, which while providing us with funny encounters, was pretty sad. Two days in a row we saw a pair of men (different) drunkenly buying beer from the equally drunk liquor store owner. One pair tried to give us directions in an indecipherable Spanish before driving off at an alarming speed. But back to the fun parts of the story!

View of the town. This is about the entire town.

Getting ready for Triolesa
The place that we rented the cabin from provided the opportunity for lots of activities. We elected a self-guided hike to the waterfall, during which we were accompanied by a dog pretty much the whole way. It was a refreshing hike that we did in the morning. Later that day we did Triolesa, or zip-lining. It was a blast, but I about peed my pants beforehand. I was terrified once I realized where exactly we would be triolesa-ing to. It was totally worth it though. I also decided to take a horseback ride in the Andes. I felt like this was a possible once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that I couldn't miss. It was just me and a guide and his dog. Luckily he spoke English very well, and we had fun speaking in both languages. He was a tiny old man who didn't seem to understand my alarm at how small and sharp the trails were. At one point on the ascent, we had to stop so that he could remove painful stones from his horse's hoof. I was situated at a hairpin turn on a steep (obviously) hill. When we started up again my horse started to slip and fall back and I yelled out "OH _______" very loud. I thought I was about to have my leg crushed, but luckily that didn't happen. After that one little mishap, the trip was great. We rode up to a plateau that offered an amazing view of the mountains. I felt like I was nestled in a little bowl of the Andes, with alternating tree and snow covered peaks filling up my view. The guide pointed out and named all the peaks for me (of course I couldn't tell you any name now), picked eucalyptus leaves for me to smell, and showed me one mountain-line that looked like the profile of a face looking up to the heavens. It was an awe-inspiring ride. 

Like I said, we spent a lot of time cooking, which was great. I miss cooking so much and was happy to spend most of the days as the chef. We made chiliquilis (a Mexican dish with meat, eggs, cheese, sauce, and tortillas), burritos, a big breakfast scramble/omelet, grilled ham and cheese sandwiches, and pasta with red sauce. Pretty much every dish had chorizo incorporated into it somehow, along with tomato, green pepper, onion, and lemon. All very tasty! All in all it was a fun relaxing trip, and it was great to get out of the city into the fresh air. 
Our dog-guide on the hike to the waterfall

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