October 29 in Valdivia
29 October 2011
Its been a strange week for us. The building in Fort Collins where Jeff's sister was living in one of our apartments, caught on fire. Bonnie and all the other tenants and their pets are not hurt, although they are shaken up and out of a place to stay for what may turn out to be a long time. To make matters worse, it snowed a heavy wet snow on top of the now damaged and destroyed roof of Penny Flats. Our apartment is most likely severely damaged by water and smoke. It's just stuff, all replaceable, but still it was the first place Jeff and I put together for ourselves. It feels weird not being there to make it right. We never thought it was at risk for damage. We thought Glendevey was a true risk with it's acres of beetle kill trees and even Steamboat, a wooden house up on a hill that could be struck by lightning. In a strange way, this situation has made a decision for us. We were wondering what to do with 309, keep it or sell it? If the rumors are true and there is a lawsuit filed and no work can be done on the building for up to three years, the decision has been made for us.
There is a volcano named Hudson south of us about 400 miles. It is said to erupt every twenty years. Yes, this is a twenty eruption year, and yes it has started spewing ash and steam. The last eruption in 1991 caused hundreds to be evacuated and killed a million and a half sheep. It is near where we were planning on sailing. If it really blows, we will need to change our sailing in Patagonia plans.
We thought we were going to be able to move onto Hekla today. That would have been cause to celebrate, especially for Jeff. It turns out that once again Hekla is not ready for us, though we are more than ready for her. The day started out lousy, not because it was overcast and chilly, but because our plan B fell through too and we couldn't even come up with a plan C. We even had Chilean Jehovah Witnesses knock on our door before we could get out of our cabaña!
Plan B was to go to Huilo-Huilo, pronounced Weelo-Weelo, and stay in a lodge that looks like an upside down cone covered in mosses and ferns and with water falling from the top. The building looks like a cross between nature and fantasy, a landscape architects dream come true. Because of the architecture and the dense rainforest, it seems like it would be a magical place. It is in a nature preserve and has lots of hiking trails. We were looking forward to getting away for the long holiday, but being a holiday it is fully booked. Yes there is another holiday here in Chile, the third since we got here six weeks ago. Some of the Alwoplast crew worked on Hekla a half day today, Saturday, but the shop will be closed until Wednesday. The first holiday we experienced was on Jeff's birthday, September 18th is Chile's Independence Day. This latest one is Halloween, and/or All Saints Day.
It's odd to be having my birthday in spring. For forty six years I was an autumn child. Now it is green and somehow getting greener every day. It's hard to decipher the seasons here. When we arrived it was green and rainy. It was cooler, but it didn't seem like winter to me. Now it is greener, warmer and there are more and more sunny days. Some deciduous trees are leafed out and some are just starting to leaf out. We took a stroll this afternoon in the botanic garden on the University Austral campus where I noticed an oak in the red oak family with tiny new inch long coppery leaves blazing in the afternoon sunshine against a sky brilliantly blue. Yes, as blue as the sky gets in Colorado.
The sunshine, the stroll amongst plants many flowering profusely, finding another shop that sells wool yarn, the ice cream eaten in the main plaza and a phone call from Kati turned the day around. Jeff stopped at AlterFluss, an oddly named chocolate shop with excellent and exotic bonbons, for a chocolate treat which made things look bright indeed!