Chiloe so far...


Near Castro
Arriving in Quellon fresh off the boat from Chaiten was a bit of a shock. Despite only being small writing on the map it was bigger than any town I've been to sinse Punta Arenas. I took it slowly along to Chonchi. The whole way along there were houses by the road or barbwired farmland. There are gently rolling hills but that's not a problem if you've got the Carretera Austral still in your legs. Chonchi is a delightful little fishing port with colourful buildings. I walked into a shop and bought a bottle of fruit juice and asked if there was a campsite.
"Yeah," the shop owner said, "Juan Carlos´s house." He said it as if everyone knew that.
The selfsame Juan Carlos was a funny little character with a beard that made him look a bit like a leprichorn. The campsite, in his back garden, was a nice enough spot and I met an american couple of cyclists heading south.

From Chonchi it was a short 20km hop to Castro, the capital of the Island, where I am now. I headed out last night in the hope of finding some traditional Chiloe folk music but first I went for a pizza. Whilst getting my bill a pair of Brazillian brothers and a German guy asked if I wanted to join them for a drink. We had a couple of beers and the one brother, Rodrigo, kept getting extra chairs and inviting Chilean girls to come and join us. Good spanich practise. Then we all climbed into taxis to go to a nightclub a few miles from the town.

The place was thumping out Reggaeton: sort of a beat heavy mixture of Dancehall with Merengue which origionates from Puerto Rico. There is also definately a hip-hop and R&B influence to Reggaeton with many a Beyonce remix with a gravel voiced rap interlude (what I think of as urban music's equivalent of the guitar solo). All reggaeton songs have the same drum beat which, depending on your viewpoint, is either infectious or infuriating. In short, reggaeton is pretty dreadful. Nevertheless it is very popular across Latin America and also seems to have a growing toehold in the USA and Europe. I think the reason is that it has a strong beat to dance to.

And dance I did. Although, because I was wearing hiking boots, I was unable to unleash the finest moves held in my reportoire. Well, that's my excuse. Later, having sampled the dangerous chilean poison Pisco Sour and its partner in crime Piscola, I walked home, getting fairly lost in the middle of some farmland when I attempted to take a shortcut. I arrived back at the Hospedaje Bellavista just as dawn was breaking and found the front door locked. I rang the bell but when there was no answer I tried pushing one of the windows open. I managed to slide it open enough to climb inside but there were a range of little orniments balanced on the window sill. So, whilst balancing tentitively on the window ledge I had to move them all out of the way. I spent the morning comatosed.

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