Temuco, Chile
38° 44' S 72° 35' W
Nov 04, 2003 18:31
Distance 215km

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Text written in: English

Temuco

After three nights in Concepcion, three too many if you ask me to be honest I packed my heavy backpack again and stumbled down the chairs of Residencial Metro. A wild guess from where I would be able to find a minibus to the Collao busterminal, east of the city center, proved to be a good guess and 5 minutes later I was on my way. In the bus terminal I got a 3900 Pesos ticket to Chillan with Bus Bio Bio which left two minutes later. An excellent connection so to say but there was no time to grab a lunch. Of course there was nowhere near the ticketing offices a place that sold sandwiches. They are always there when you don't need them and they are never there when you want them, Murphy's Law. The bus left at 11:30 sharp. Travelling east again the scenery improved a bit compared to the quite dry heartland I had traveled through so far. Back on the Pan-American Highway we stopped long enough in Los Angeles (Still in Chile, not in the USA!) to buy a nice sandwich. We left Los Angeles at 13:15 and traveled south through an increasingly green landscape. Although only 165 km from Los Angeles it took almost three hours to get to Temuco, the destination of today.

In Temuco I called Pamela Silva (27) who I had contacted by email before as she is a member of the Hospitality Club. I used the telephone card I had bought at the airport in Santiago for the first time. It appeared to be one of those cards I had in New Zealand. You don't insert the card in the phone, like this stupid Gringo did of course, but you call a free number and then you enter the card number after which you make the call. I dialed the free number and after the Spanish explanation stopped I decided to enter the card number and enter a # like you have to do in New Zealand. Thank God it worked. Sometimes I get excited because of these small achievements. See, you don't need to know Spanish, just common knowledge. I still don't know much Spanish, but I manage to get the daily basics and that is all that matters for the time being. Pamela picked me up in 15 minutes with her car and we drove out of town.

Her nice, average sized house was just across the bridge, 10 minutes drive from the heart of Temuco, a city of 300.000 people. After the usual introduction to a handful family members Pamela dropped me off in the city center, before going back to work. She worked as a secretary at the Social/Law Faculty at one of the six universities in the city. She worked interesting working hours from 9:00 until 13:00 and from 18:30 until 22:30. I had a dinner in town but I was not very hungry. I have been tired for days already and stiff muscles, painful joints, headaches and dizziness indicate a starting cold or flue. The chips were oily as usual in this country but the big steak filled with a very filling ham and cheese tasted nice enough. After dinner I walked through a few streets in the city center, definitely not agreeing with my Lonely Planet guidebook that Temuco is a 'rather unattractive city'. I agree that there is not much to see or do for the tourist, but Temuco is not a bad city and definitely more attractive than Concepcion. Well, it is all about personal taste I guess. After a long internet session I took a bus back to Pamelas house and after an interesting chat with her sister Janet (35) about Chile, South America and life in general I went to bed around midnight.

The next day the symptoms of my upcoming cold were worse and I slept until 11:00. After a breakfast and a lunch 2 hours later which I managed to eat with difficulty (Not because it was bad cooking, it was quite nice actually!) After lunch I went back to bed until about 17:00 and after that I forced myself into town. I just can't do nothing all day and spending all day in bed definitely does not give a good impression when you stay with friendly people. Monumento Natural Cerro Nielol had to be climbed. This nice hill park just north of the city center is a relaxing green park and the fact that it was late in the afternoon made the climb to the top less sweaty. Several joggers running uphill chose to sweat anyway. It was a nice exercise to climb to the top but the best views were from a few lookout points halfway. No spectacular views, just a nice city view surrounded by green hills. After the climb I treated myself nice again by having dinner at a local Chinese restaurant. Again the food was very nice, almost like Dutch Chinese restaurants and definitely better than in New Zealand.

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