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Written on: Thursday December 31st, 2009

A journal entry from: South America

December 3rd - 6th

We left Buffys and headed south, stopping for lunch in Salto Del Laja. There we enjoyed lunch with a view over a beautiful waterfall. Afterwards we continued to Pucón where we were going to stay with Jean´s friend Loretta, her husband Louis, daughter Carla and two grandchildren. They had two beautiful houses with an interesting design in a forest outside Pucón and generously we had one to ourselves. We were welcomed with some pisco sours and a nice dinner, and enjoyed their great hospitality for the next few days.

The next day Barrie, Louis, Ronan and Andy had arranged to go fishing on the Tolten river about an hour away from Pucón, and so left early. We arrived at the fishermans house, where they were waiting with two boats on a trailer. We stopped to pick up supplies (4 cases of beer, forgot to get any water) and arrived at the dropping in point. Barrie and Louis were in one boat (boat 2)) and Ronan and I in the other (boat 1). We caught our first fish within minutes of setting off - a small trout that we were very pleased with. As the day progressed we caught enough for lunch and stopped by the side of the river to bbq them. We saved the biggest fish that we had caught for dinner. The fishermen lit a fire and gutted and butteflied the trout, added some salt and cooked them for a minute or so each side. They were absolutely delicious!

The weather improved in the afternoon and we had a great time catching more fish (boat 1 catching more fish than boat 2!). Ronan, of course, got very sunburned as he had forgot to put any suncream on. His nose was to be bright red for the rest of the trip, much to our amusement. In the end we caught a very respectable amount of trout, but failed to catch any of the huge salmon that are in the river. Nonetheless we had a great day and we were looking forward to showing and eating our catch later on.

Meanwhile back at the house Jean and Yasmin were having a relaxing day. However Yasmin went for a run, exploring the area but managed to get lost for about an hour and a half ...... After fighting her way through many dense bushes she finally got back to a spot she recognised and was very relieved (remaining calm all through the ordeal and recalling all the wilderness survival programs she had seen on tv).

On our second day we wanted to go rafting (Barrie, Ronan, Yasmin and Andy) but the tour operator was less than professinal and had made a mistake with our boooking. Instead we went to a canopy tour that proved to be great fun. On the first long slide Barries equipment failed and he got stuck about 400m from the end. He had to haul himself the distance which took about 30 minutes and he was exhausted by the end. Fortunately it was he who had the experience to know how to get out of the situation. The rest of us whizzed along the zip line at great speeds with nice views of the surrounding countryside. Yasmin was the only one who managed to get approval from the people running the course as the rest of us kept spinning round by accident!

We came back to a great barbeque that Louis had prepared with the fish we had caught the day before and some very large steaks. We also had some delicious ceviche ("raw" fish marinated/cooked in lemon juice and some chopped onion, tomato and coriander) made with the trout. After that we went to town to get a warmer sleeping bag for Yasmin (for the Paine). Then we visited the market where Jean bought some gifts for friends, Ronan a hat and Yasmin a traditional style jumper. We drove to a nearby hotel where Jean and Barrie had stayed many years before and had a drink on the terrace that had a beautiful view over Lago Villarica and Volcan Villarica. In the evening Ronan and we went out to exprience the Pucón nightlife with Carla. We had a great time and met some of her friends, and got back home fairly late.......

The next morning was a bit of a struggle but we managed to leave Pucon in the morning headed for Puerto Montt where Jean would fly back to Santiago and the rest of us would fly to Punta Arenas.  


From Andy & Yasmin on Dec 31st, 2009

Happy New Year to everyone!! Hope that you all have a great time. We are in San Pedro De Atacama, in the desert in northern Chile and will celebrate tonight.

From Jean on Dec 31st, 2009

Wonderful to see all these photos - makes me want to be back in Concepcion and Pucon. Happy New Year to you both!! Lots of love.

From Jen, Aldus, Issy and Eva on Jan 1st, 2010

Happy New Year to you both. Hope you are enjoying San Pedro. The photos are wonderful! Wish we'd been there. xxxx

From Lina on Jan 4th, 2010

We wish you a happy 2010! I guess new years eve in the desert was magical. We spent our new years eve in a cold Enköping. Hope you are fine. When are you due to be back in England? Varma hälsningar Lina, Kristina och Tuva

From Yasmin & Andy on Jan 4th, 2010

Hi Lina, Kristina and Tuva! Nice to hear from you, yes New Year´s Eve here was great. It is a special place. We are off to Bolivia tonight and will probably be back in the UK sometime in February. We´ll let you know. Hope everything is good with you in cold Sweden! Varma halsningar tillbaka :)