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JULY 31ST 2007
Nick and I woke up early and caught a shitty rural bus to a small town called Las Trancas. This is the last little town before the resort of Termas De Chillan. It was very windy and the resort was closed that day.
` We stayed in a popular hostel for a cheap price. We called it ďthe walk-inĒ because of how cold it was. Nothing like putting on all your clothes and standing around the wood stove to stay warm. They welcomed us ok, but didnít want us in their kitchen. They wanted to make us dinner and charge us an arm and a leg. Well, tough shit. It is affiliated with Hosteling International, which means that you can cook your own meals. They didnít have to like it though. It was very windy that night and the metal roof sounded like it was going to blow off. Our tiny little room(only room for a bunk bed) had a nice breeze blowing through it all night long. My hands froze as I read that night. Good thing I slept with my Puffy coat and pants on.
The next day was the same. Really windy and the resort was still closed. The town water system(pipes at the bottom of a frozen water fall) froze last night and now there is no water. Nick and I got dehydrated pretty bad, not to mention stinky since there is no shower. Another night sleeping in all my ski clothes.
AUG 2ND 2007
We were really impressed with this resort. Itís really big, and part of it is below tree line. There is a hotel here that goes for 4000 US dollars a week. The high winds made for some really large sustrugi(wind scoured formations) and some dense wind buff. There is the longest lift in S. America here. In my opinion itís also the slowest, oldest, and most uncomfortable. The long run down from the top seems like several miles and takes about 20 mins to get down. We had a blast spraying snow in the air and then traveling through the spray like a ghost. If this place had decent powder you would have the best day of your life.
There are also thermal vents everywhere. A really large one above the hotels smokes all day long. There isn't any snow on the hillside that it occupies. We heard tale of one that you can skin up to just outside the resort. Just down the road there is a hot-spring to go to. We tried to ski to it but just missed it. Not having a shower at home to clean off the sulfur we continue on.
We tried to eat all our food that night as we left the next day.....
AUG 4TH 2007
Back in Santiago today. Never thought I would be glad to be here but i haven't had a shower in 5 days. Waiting to here from the cat-skiing operation just outside of town.
Then itís over the pass at Portillo to Argentina. We are going to Penitentes next.
We hung out in Santiago for another day waiting to here from the cat-skiing to no avail. They are booked until the end of the month. Itís too bad, since they were going to comp us a day of cat-skiing. Nick really wanted to go cat-skiing for free, but it wasnít in the cards. We will still include them in the dvd somehow. Maybe they can e-mail me some pictures.
AUG 6TH 2007
We woke up early and tried to ride the subway with our ski bags. No Dice. They wouldnít let us because of rush hour traffic. Itís a good thing to because it would have been hell. I am really sick of dragging that bag around. Itís time to throw some things away. Iím not sure what to toss but it has to happen.
Then we hung out in a public square near the station. Every one that walks by stares at us. I donít think we stand out that much, but everyone gawks at us. We have a joke that there is something on our faces. People would sit down on the bench next to me and smoke. I would have to get up because it bothers me so much. What bugs me even more is that they make no attempt to blow it away from me. Everyone here smokes and it never even crosses their mind that someone doesnít like it.
Rum and Cokes brought us to the border(the pass between Portillo and Penitentes) where we stood outside the bus for an hour. They didnít even bother with our large ski bags. Five minutes later we were off the bus and on the side of the road. The resort is right next to the road. Found our place just fine
AUG 8TH 2007
We woke up in the smallest space yet. I guess that all the places we stay are small but this one is tiny. It was a ten by ten foot room with bunk beds for four people. Nick and I had the top bunks and there was only two feet of space between the bed and the ceiling. Hi-Camp Base was the name and it is part of Hosteling International. That twice we have had a bad time at HI hostels. We we decided the night before that we would find a new place to stay. It is really cold and cloudy out so we were not going to buy a ticket anyway.
In the process of leaving I slipped on the and fell in front of everyone in the hostel. I bruised my hand and knee. When I came back inside the man that runs the hostel asked if I was ok and I said NO, IíM LEAVING!!! I was super pissed. Yeah its the winter and itís icy out but their entrance was dished out and very tough to navigate.
The new place is much bigger for the same price but dinner is not included.
Nick went skinning later on and I filmed him. It was mostly out of boredom but we havenít done anything for several days. We needed the exercise. I met the ski patrol and gave the avalanche guy a movie. Later he said they all watched it in the bar and said it was really funny. He tried to get us some tickets but could not get ahold of the general manager.
Nick had his first Fernet and Coke that night. This is the unofficial drink of Argentina. It is a strong spirit that tastes like whiskey with a lot of herbs and spices in it. The only way to describe the drink ďit like drinking coke after brushing your teethĒ.
AUG 9TH 2007
Left Penitentes at noon. Four hours later we made it to Mendoza. A four hour wait in the bus station and a three hour bus ride brought us to San Rafael. It was very late and the hotel we wanted to stay in only had single rooms for 80 pesos(32 dollars) They wouldnít let us share a single.
I went around the block and found another place. I made the mistake that the place is too small and there is no room for our bags.
Another thing I have noticed in this part of the world is that people that own a business donít want our money. When we try to get something it seems that they donít want to be bothered. Itís like a huge chore for them to take our money. They get pissed. If itís a big deal then donít have a business. WTF
AUG 10TH 2007
A three hour bus ride brought us to Las Lenas. Nick stood by the bags for a solid 4 hours while I ran around and tried to get tickets and a place to stay. By the end of the day we had tickets and a place to stay until friday. The weather is gonna be bad for a couple of days and then we will break out into some sun.