Day 21: Hacienda Vira Vira
Weather: Clear and in the high 40s at 8am, then gradually increasing to mid-60s throughout the day and low 60s at night, with a full moon and plenty of stars out after 9:30pm
Quotes of the Day:
· I was only an aspiring dictator. I was never a real dictator.
· I've seen bad guys who have become good, but I have never seen a brute become "intelligent"
Nespresso in the room at 7am after a terrific night’s sleep, accompanied by bread from last night. The breakfast buffet had the highest quality pastries seen on 5 continents! The cinnamon twists and the croissants in all the various versions were top notch award winners. THB finally pulled himself away to try a waffle with yoghurt and strawberries. The toppings were good, the waffle not the usual fluffy multi-grain version THB is used to…no matter, THB took a few pastries to have with our in room dining experience tomorrow morning.
|Jorge, one of our under-utilized guides|
|Lake below, per Macarena the visibilty is near 120 miles!|
Our first excursion is at 10, to the volcano for a 1-2 hour undulating walk. There are two NY couples and one from Melbourne. It turns out that the 1-2 hour walk was grossly overstated by Eddie the guide yesterday afternoon. It was more like a ½ kilometer walk (and one of the NY couples didn’t do that much) broken into 50 meter chunks. The Aussies were told they were going to do a 3K walk near the hacienda.
Hmmmmmm….we’ve arranged for Macarena (the other guide on the trip) to come to our room a bit early before the raft float trip this afternoon to discuss options for tomorrow.
Lunch the usual 3 course affair, very nice and with plenty of cream on the pasta and in the dulce de leach ice cream.
|Veggie pasta in parmesan sauce|
Felipe, not Macarena, shows up a bit early to explain that he’s filling in for Macarena and there’s an emergency so he has to go back to the front desk. About 10 minutes later Felipe is back. We explain we want something more vigorous and he offers up a) Angie, a freelancer guide, b) a combo hike/kayak that could be as long as most of the day depending on how we partition the two activities since they are basically contiguous, c) the reason the eight of us were all together on morning “hike” when not everyone could hike was that they didn’t arrange for enough guides for the group to be split as this is now low season and thus the hikers were saddled with the non-hikers. In other words, they put all the English speaking "hikers" together. Hnmmmmmm…really?
THB counters: can Angie start at 9am instead of 10am because we’ll be doing back-to-back excursions and it is supposed to be very warm tomorrow (low 80s) and thus we should get an early start. Felipe leaves a message for Angie. TBD
|The morning NY'ers getting ready to fish the river|
|Two locals fishing|
|Cormorants fishing the river|
|Like most of S. America, not ADA compliant|
|Reflections of the volcano|
|To the far left, that's a kingfisher on a branch|
|Another blurry image in the center|
The afternoon excursion for THB and DB is a float down the river that runs right behind the hacienda rooms. The NY’ers are going fishing and they are on the water. No problema, two more NY’ers (who arrived late last night, we saw them as we were finishing up our dinner after 10pm) are in the boat with us. Where are the Aussies?
|Jumping in the river|
|The jumpers awaiting their next volunteer|
They’ve been left behind! Our raft captain is on the phone with Felipe. Apparently there was some discussion that we go back and get the Aussies. HAH! With all rain in the last few days (and the snow on the peaks, which were bare last week), even two guys on oars can’t get us back to the put-in point. So, we float down the river, seeing some birds, enjoying the views, seeing many of the locals at camping and picnicking spots along the way, and coming to shore after an hour+.
It turns out that Felipe has the Aussies in a two person fishing boat; they are about 15-20 minutes behind us. In the meantime, we watch the locals (all women except for one guy at the end of the jump-in line) do the Me-Tarzan rope swing into the cold-cold river. When the boat pulls up with the Aussies, so does the van-trailer from the other direction, There’s only enough room on the trailer for one of the boats so the Hacienda boat crew will be coming back to the put-in point. In the meantime, off go the 6 of us back the hacienda to rest up before dinner.
Drinks on the deck outside the dining room. Dinner another nice four course event complete with a real spicy serrano-style green chili supplied by the dining room staffer taking care of us.
A few more pics from the day:
|Yet another way to arrange the faucet controls|
|The shared women/men sink area for the bathroom off the dining room|
|The answer to the pictorial pop quiz: a portable espresso machine!!|
|The Aussies' share a copa|
|Ghost bikes have come to Chile|
|The stairs leading to the roof of the small shop across the pond at the Hacienda|
|the roof-top garden|
|In the shower in our room, a mini-version of the sink in the dining room banos: a large concrete monolith (something to add at the E-ville loft?)|