05 January 2010

Coyhaique, Chile

Work day is done. It is 6:00, though I officially clocked out at 5:00 today, I am sticking around the office, helping a bit with Epi Kits (no EpiPens here, just syringes and vials of adreniline), trying to set up a schedule with my supervisor, and waiting to go into town.

So, I'm here. In Patagonia. I've been on vacation for the past few weeks, and it's been extreme nice, very low key, with lots of reading and cooking and staring out the window at the storms moving in across the mountains, the occasional trip to town (11 km away) for chocolate and mate and cheese, and a short kayak trip (with a very long bumpy drive attached).

It is a little like Ireland, if Ireland had huge mountains lurking everywhere. Very green, lots of sheep. Lots of hot drinks: mate, tea, Milo, coffee. Lots of meat eating. Lots of sweet things: manjar, chantilly creme, membrillo, guava paste, chocolate with almonds.

I'm the official Rations/Kitchen Intern. I work for the senoras in the kitchen, who don't speak English, chopping onions and peeling potatoes, smiling and nodding and hoping I am doing things right. I also work in the rations room, putting spices into tiny little bottles, and having big bottles of Thai Extra Picante explode all over me.

It's been quiet here at the campo up until recently, but now the instructors are starting to arrive, and there is a flurry of activity, planning and plotting and lots of little groups of friendly people. The students are coming soon and things will be even busier then.

My visa is good for 90 days, and since I am a "volunteer" (who gets enough money to buy a few limes and some cornflakes every week) I don't have to worry about worker's visas, thank goodness. I will have to take a trip into Argentina at some point to get a new visa, but I think that will be more a fun side trip than anything.

People are friendly, social, with lots of breaks to say hello, lots of people dropping by the quincho (kitchen) to chat and help peel potatoes, drink something hot. I haven't been very good about taking pictures, so I will try to do that. It hasn't been great weather, and everyone is wondering when summer will finally arrive. But when I do get around to it you may see: cats, dogs, horses, sheep, turkeys and turkey babies, chickens, ducks, kayaks, empanadas, my new mate gourd and bombilla, and the view.

I live in the Vista, I've begun painting my ceiling blue, I wish I'd brough a few more clothes, but I don't know what I would have left out of the packing. Going to go to dinner now.

1 comment:

A. Richard Maloney said...

Great narrative. Must be nice to think summer is near.

Beginning swimming lessons. Small setback first night when I went crooked and ran into side of pool at Olympic swimmer's speed. Asked to exit water until hemorrhaging ended.