Chillin´on Chilly Chiloe Island in Chile

Dear loyal friends, family, and fans,

I formally apologize for forcing you into the unwilling roles of therapist as I struggled with my personal issues a few posts ago. I swear I´m not going crazy like Kathy Bates in Misery (RIP James Caan). I´ve decided to give myself a new challenge. It´s called relaxing and re-energizing; everyone should try it. I´m not even planning the amount of time to stay here in Castro. Just forcing myself to take each day as it comes and make decisions at the moment. It´s good practice to be in the present.

Someone told me that if I wanted to get off the beaten backpacker track, I should visit the small villages on the Island of Chiloe, off the coast of Southern Chile. So I hopped on a bus, arrived in dreary, dismal weather reflecting my mood, and tagged a long with two Spaniards to a small fisherman´s cabin of a hospedaje with cast-iron wood-burning stoves, old sailor maps, vintage fishing paraphernelia…and my own room. When I woke up the next morning, I had an orange-banana smoothie, coffee, freshly baked bread, cheese and confiture waiting for me. It was just the slice of remoteness I needed after my prior trials and tribulations.

palafitos on the waterfront

palafitos on the waterfront

Ancud town on the northern coast

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Isla de Grande Chiloe is a mystical, magical, setting for legends and lore (examples include a repulsive midget that seduces women and a hen that eats your phlegm while you sleep). The weather´s always a bit murky and the damp air a bit chilly with wafts of wood smoke floating through. The towns are choc full of relics from your favorite seaside myths and fisherman fairytales. Along the seashell encrusted shores miniature sea urchins crawl to shelter to avoid becoming part of the day´s catch.

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Home to a range of species, wild deer, pengins, and even mermaids with seaweed hair, Chile is a grand masterpiece of an old fishing village from the days of yore and Magellen´s heydey. The women wear muted shades of charcoal and navy in Easter-European grandmother ensembles. The men layer argyle sweater vests, knitted generations ago, over weathered button-downs. They smoke pipes and sometimes they´ll smile and reveal their black jack o´lantern teeth. Maybe their forefathers were the pirates that made this the happenin´spot. Though quiet and modest (a far cry from the locals in the wonderful country of Argentina), I have found these Chileans to be some of the nicest people I have met on my journey thus far as I´ve hitched rides throughout the island, finally forced to get by on my minimal Spanish and engage with the locals.

Local artensans widdle tools from wood and shell, a striking contrast to the mass artisan crafts fairs chock full o´generic scarves and useless trinkets

Local artensans widdle tools from wood and shell, a striking contrast to the mass artisan crafts fairs chock full o´generic scarves and useless trinkets

I´m usually not one for churches, but the worn, weathered, wood of these were quite a sight.

I´m usually not one for churches, but the worn, weathered, wood of these were quite a sight. Apparently UNESCO agrees and has declared many of them ¨World Heritage¨.

curanto is the island specialty: freshly caught shellfish, fish, potato and meat

curanto is the island specialty: freshly caught shellfish, fish, potato and meat

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can´t stop with the churches. This one is on an island off the island of Chiloe, acutally, in a town called Anchao. The other one was from the main island´s capital, Castro.

can´t stop with the weathered churches. This one is on an island off the island of Chiloe, acutally, in a town called Anchao. The other one was from the main island´s capital, Castro.

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The island is truly a bizarre place for the imagination to run free. Last night I dreamt of a giant sea wolf chasing me with an ice cream cone. And when I´m not mermaid-scouting and sea wolf-dreaming, I´m traipsing through the Araucunia forests in search of elves:

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A day in the life in Chiloe…

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cecilia-0142Feeling the stormy, salty sea air rush against my face on these wicked days, staring out into the torrential sea with my coarse hair whipping against the wind, I feel revived and well, looking forward to everything that lies ahead.

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~ by ceciliabien on March 8, 2009.

One Response to “Chillin´on Chilly Chiloe Island in Chile”

  1. Seafood gives me crazy dreams too, CB. Glad you’re feeling rejuvenated, but what’s this about your “course” hair?! Not the Cecilia I know! Do you need to mail you some pantene pro-v? Perhapsth thom pert pluth?

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