Monday, September 24, 2012

Pucon: Day 1

Our little vacay to Pucon was such an adventure! I've decided to break it down into days.


It was a l-o-n-g drive. 8 hours in a not very comfortable company truck. Thank goodness the kids are older because 4 years ago this drive would have been much different. They didn't complain (much) and spent their time on cell phones and playing video games.

You can see that neither one of them look too thrilled. We'll just say that they wanted to just stay at home and play Playstation. They wanted to know "why our parents drag us to places we don't even want to go and make us do things we don't care about". They just wanted a "peaceful, restful week off". Pobrecitos! (the spanish word for 'poor things')

There were lots of interesting things to see along the way. I'll admit it, out loud, right now- apparently I am an idiot. It just dawned on me during this trip that "Chiquita"(like the bananas) is a spanish word, when I saw the sign on a huge warehouse. I also thought that once we got out of the city, I would see  - I don't know - huts and things. I expected something like you would see in a third world country. "Mom. This isn't a third world country!" duh. I guess I just see some lean-to type homes in the city, and expected more of that when we got to the outskirts. I didn't see anything like that.

The area resembled the countryside in Missouri that I grew up seeing. Besides the Andes mountains in the background. The rolling hills and lush green countryside looked like home. Farm land. Barns. Mom and Pop restaurants. It's easy to forget you are in a foreign country.

We packed a lunch because we were not sure what we'd find along the way. We didn't want to stop and eat in a sit-down place because all of our stuff was in the back of the truck. Granted we bought one of those zip up large cargo bags and tied everything down, but we still didn't want to leave it unattended. We also wanted to make sure we had something that we could eat that we liked. So when we stopped for gas, we unpacked lunch, and decided to eat while we drove. We just wanted to get there.

Upon arriving in Villarica, we knew we were getting close. We put a call in to the property manager to let him know we were on our way and to get the cabin keys ready. As we pulled into the quaint little town of Villarica, we saw the most stunning rainbow. We stopped for a minute to enjoy it and check out the lake.

When we finally arrived in Pucon and drove up to the cabin, the kids were thrilled. Andrew said - and I quote, "This place is awesome! I would love to live somewhere like this!" What was that? Wait. Did I just hear you say you glad you came? You mean to tell me that maybe your parents forcing you to take this vacation wasn't so bad after all? He just laughed. It's good to be right and even better when your kids realize it.

We were the first renters in this beautiful new cabin that was located about 10 minutes from downtown Pucon and about 10 minutes from the ski resort. It was private and secluded and absolutely perfect!

There were 3 bedrooms with enough space for 8 to sleep. We only have 4 people, so it was a bit bigger than we needed. We ended up closing off one of the bedrooms to help heat the house better.

The house is heated solely by a single wood-burning stove:

I know that homes have and still do use these. I don't think, however that those homes have huge 20foot vaulted ceilings. That heat was literally lost in the rafters. The novelty of filling baskets with wood and constantly reloading the stove, then emptying the ash as it piled high, started to wear off by the end of the week.

The house was great. Very teen-boy-friendly. Complete with a chin-up bar in the living room and snowboarding decor in their bedroom.

 Shortly after our arrival, we unloaded all of our luggage into the middle of the living room (you can see it spread out in the background of these chin-up photos) and Greg and I headed off to the grocery store. We were told by the property manager that stores would be closed part of the day on Monday, and all of Tuesday and Wednesday due to the holiday. We needed some provisions. We had decided to eat breakfast and either lunch/dinner in the cabin so we needed some additional supplies. We weren't sure if restaurants would be open over that time so we wanted to make sure we were good to go.

So with a pile in the living room, Greg and I headed to the grocery store before they closed. When we came back with groceries, the kids came out to help. Alex, being the great kid that he is, shut the front door to keep in the heat. The problem: in Chile, there are not any doorknobs. You might remember a similar post earlier. As soon as he pulled the door closed. He looked at me with panic in his eyes and said, "mom. I just shut the door!". He knew it. I knew it. We were locked out. It was freezing cold and starting to get dark. We checked the back door. It was locked. Greg had just locked it before we left. Windows? Locked. The paperwork with the property manager's number? Inside on the table. We went to the neighbors. She called the homeowner, who sent out her teenage son with his key to open it up for us. Problem: the key was in the keyhole on the inside of the house - so his key wouldn't work and apparently, they don't even have a key to the back door. They never lock it. So eventually, with the help of the neighbor guy, the kid unscrewed the trim around a window and took out the glass and had his buddy climb in the window and unlock the door. What an ordeal.

It was embarrassing - AND - to my dismay, we had our crap strung out all over the living room. Whatever. It all worked out in the end.

We got everything inside, I sorted down our things and we settled in for the night. What an eventful day - and we haven't even gotten started yet!

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