Saturday, 26 May 2012

Hitching to Valpariso

We set off to the main road out of pucon about an hour later than planned armed with two cardboard signs, one read "The north please" (in spanish) and the other read "Santiago" as that the road we were going to take was heading that way (even though we planned to head further north, to val pariso). The first ride we got was from a guy who was a boat inspector, so he offered to take us on his route, with a couple of stops to examine some boats, then on to the main road. The guy was a hero and had a really cool job. we got to see some ridiculously nice houses and kate got to practise her spanish. I listened intently hoping to pick up a few things as they spoke. after a quick stop for some lunch we then headed to the main road and got a lift from batman. The only thing that made him batman was the fact that he had the batman simbol on the spare tire to his jeep! He was a phisio theropist who spoke ni-on perfect english and the only down side about him was that he was only going 20 clicks down the road!

The next ride was a tad scetchy, but turned out fine. It was a couple of plumbers who were driving a van who offered to take us in the back along with all their tools. I was about 50% certain that this was going to be the end of my existance on this planet but you've gotta take a few risks when hitch hiking. Kate fell asleep and I chose to stay awake to be extra safe so I watched a film on my (now lost) ipod :-(. They took us about half the distance from Pucon to Saintaiago, I imagine around 200k. And they didn't seem that interested in chatting to us which, to be honest, we kind of liked as we wanted to just chill for a couple of hours.

The next ride came soon after from a truck driver. I'd never been in an articulated lorry before so it was really exciting. The excitment soon wore off when I realised how bouncy it is in the carraige! The guy was really nice and was telling kate, who was then translating for me, all about the landscape, the wine fields and loads of other fun facts. It was all going smoothely until kate asked him what cargo he was taking and he said something she didn't understand then he pulled out a knife. For a split second I shit my ass in fear! Then he handed her the knife and told her to look down by her side, to which she produced the biggest, juciest, most succulant looking apple ever. I'm not sure if it was the fear of death that helped the enhancment but this thing was gorgous! And if you hadn't worked out by now, the knife was so that she could cut it up and share it around. About an hour later down the road the conversation came to Mate (pronounced matay) which is a traditional south american drink. He asked us if we'd ever tried it before to which kate responded, no, but I'd like to. She didn't mean right that instant! He pulled over pretty much immediately to a lay by and went to his storage compartment by the trailer and produced a gas stove, tray and the mate container. Now Mate is basically tea but it turns out (we didn't know this at the time) that it's a really valued tradition in south america and there are certain etiquete rules that one should abide by when partaking in a Mate ritual. We broke pretty much all of them! You should never complain that it is too hot, you should never ask for sugar and you should consume all the contents before re-filling it and giving it to the next person. We kept operating on the puff puff pass technique, much to the drivers annoyance! Woops! I was mainly worried that he might have attempted to drug us so that was why I was insisting that he drank some of the same batch as we were. I suppose it's best to be a bit warey and safe than blazay and dead! He took us all the way to valpariso and dropped us off at the bus stop so that we could get into town. After a hike up what felt like mount everist we finally got to a hostel and bedded down for the night. Along with a few bed bugs.....

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