342 Trout Fishing in Patagonia to Voodoo Chile & volcano meat
Xmas day. While most people are egg-nogging around indoor trees, we're headed south to the other side of the equator. More importantly, xmas eve is our anniversary (#17) ... celebrated by eating paddlefish caviar & habanero fried chicken.
At the airport & on plane read Nocturno de Chile by Roberto Bolaño ... typical Bolaño—from the p.o.v. of a hack poet/critic on his deathbed reminiscing ... not a big Bolaño fan, mostly read it because we're on our way to Chile & it was in spanish so figured it was good practice.
Switched to Ficciones by Jorge Borges ... also in spanish. We'd already read most of the stories in english, but just wanted to see what they were like in his native tongue ... definitely hard to follow with our limited spanish, over my head.
Switched to Ghosts by Cesar Aira, in english. Although he's Argentine it was (appropriately enough) about some Chileans living & working in Argentina, squatting in a luxury condo ... interesting but not sure we liked it as much as some of his other books, like An Episode in the Life of a Landscape Painter.
Arrived Santiago, 3 hour layover. Lots of affluent Chileans that casually mix spanish & english together. Plane to Temuco ... the town where Pablo Neruda is from. Our brother was there to meet us ... first we'd seen of him in 11 years. He's been living down here for some 23 years so is essentially Argentine. Even when he speaks english, he's thinking in spanish.
Went & got what would probably be the first hunk of meat of many at a place aptly named 'Pura Carne'. Drove to Villarica ... volcano Osorno in the distance. Feels like Pacific NW w/ all these volcanoes dotting the landscape. Had a coffee in Pucon, on the lake by the volcano Villarica.
We were in this area once before, but well before the time of 5cense ... in 1991. Went to give my brother a surprise visit, but he wasn't there ... so we killed some time crossing the border into Chile. Seems more modern now.
Drove, on a dirt road at this point, across the border ... first a Chilean migrations office, then the Argentine immigrations office ... on the slopes of volcano Lanin, surrounded by Monkey Puzzle forests.
Then down into drier landscape ... more monkey puzzle trees and Ibis-like birds. Sheep, goats, cows. Right outside of San Martin it seemed a forest fire had just sprouted up. Police were there, but firemen hadn't yet mobilized. To my brother's house that he built himself (he's a carpenter) .... he's expanded on it a lot since we were last here (which come to think about we blogged about it here). He has two new kids we've never even met. Fortunately the only son that wasn't there we just saw two years ago when he visited us in Rome. He's a professional snowboarder that spends our winters (his summers) snowboarding in Europe. He's off doing Olympic trial stuff ... which he would've made but dislocated both shoulders. Good to see everyone & catch up, to say the least.
Yesterday all of us went around the town of San Martin ... our brother & family know everyone so everywhere we go we bump into people & it's not just a matter of saying hi in passing, but you got to kiss & make small talk & be introduced & chat w/ everyone, etc. It's a wonder anyone gets anything done in places like this. Went to Quilaquina, on the lake (Lacar). Swam in the cold water. Went & got some kayaks & paddled around.
Came back, my nephew made us a proper asado. Have eaten nothing but meat since we've been here, but oh is the meat good. They take meat very seriously here.
By the time people eat around here it is well past midnight. Problem is we can't sleep past crack of dawn so hardly sleeping. Wake up on pink sheets with sun in our eyes, Hello Kitty paraphernalia everywhere. Everyone else sleeping in ... just me & the cats & dogs ... when we write this.
Next day we went to Huechulafquen lake ... mobilizing a family is a complex process ... trying to get everyone (7 people) into a car. Drove past Junin de Los Andes to Huechulafquen, to the mouth of the Chimehuim river (where evidently Jimmy Stewart used to fish).
Only caught a few small trout ... none big enough to eat (evidently it's a popular spot that's been fished out) ... one that we think was bigger but we let the line go slack & he got away. Unbelievable backdrop to fish in regardless.
Today we just toodled around town. Earlier in the day went for a run up in the hills behind the house with our nephew ... steppe country is we think how'd they qualify it .... started out as a run on a steep dirt road ... eventually scrambling like goats up a steep hillside of scree & thorny shrubs, up to the base of a waterfall (that was barely running because it's been a dry summer) ... while we ran he told me of a vision he had of our other brother (the one who died, the author of 'SSES" 'SSES') ...
Tomorrow headed back across the border (another way) to Chile ...
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