|After I dropped off Jacquelina in Aulen, a town so small it's not on the Garmin, I followed the dirt road along the coast line. The tide was out so there were lots of fishing boats resting on their sides tied to their mooring. Huge piles of discarded shells littered the coastline. I don't think they are clam shells but they're not oysters. It's something in between. After eating some in a local restaurant I've concluded they're a type of muscle, but not the kind we usually see as these shells are lighter in color and the muscles are bigger. I regretted my lunch choice of sopa de mariscos y congrio (shellfish and congrio fish) though because, while it was tasty, I always seem to get sand when I order anything with shellfish. I hate crunching down on sand.
I walked around the small town of Hornopiren and came upon some horses grazing along the street and wandering aimlessly around along with a lot of dogs. Hmmmmm. Stray horses? There was a nice children's playground down on the beach of the lake and once again, there were snow capped volcanoes towering in the distance. I saw a tourist info office (very surprising since the town has probably less than 2,000 people and it's not tourist season yet) and went in to find a young man at the counter speaking to a tourist. He was giving the tourist a real earful of info in rapid Spanish and I was wondering if this tourist understood everything and was going to do everything the man was pointing out on the map. Turns out the tourist was a Canadian and the man gave me exactly the same schpeel which, while interesting, was way more info than I needed. He did tell me where the ferry launch was and some interesting things in town. And he told me that the horses were strays like the dogs. Things happen with people and they can't afford them anymore so they let them loose and they more or less wander the community. It was cold and it started to rain and I felt especially sorry for all the dogs who are all matted and sad eyed, although once again appear well fed. They all had lots of fur on them so they are probably warm enough. I saw one smart dog running behind the trash truck in the morning feeding on whatever was dropped.
I stayed at a place called Hotel Oelckers in a single room with a private bath which was warm and cozy and clean. Cost: 20,000 clp which is about $32. Room came with desayuno (breakfast). At breakfast, they did not have a buffet, and the first thing the woman brought me was a hostess cupcake. Huh???? I didn't eat that. She then brought a small skillet of scrambled eggs and two rolls. The coffee in Chile is generally terrible. This is not Peru or Brazil. Coffee is instant out of little packets or dust in a can. They don't have coffe makers at the places I've been. Water is heated on the tops of very beautiful and elaborate wood stoves. The instant coffee I have in my trunk for when I stay in a cabana is light years better - I should have brought it in with me. Oh well.
I woke up Monday morning with a sore throat and think I'm starting to get a dumb cold. I drove down to the ferry port and found una fila (a line) of autos so I got in line and went to check it out. For this ferry I was able to buy my ticket online but a lot of people were in line to buy. It's not tourist season yet so there was still space for cars once we got underway and the inside pedestrian area wasn't even at a quarter capacity. Apparently only fools like me and some other stupid tourists do this road trip during the shoulder season. I don't hear any Americans so I'll refrain from calling other people SATs. I think most of the people are locals. I'm sitting on the ferry and am quite warm except for my feet. If I see a pair of boots I like I'm going to buy them. Not sure I'll find a store selling boots any time soon but you never know. I could use some boots anyways. I'm headed for cold weather when I return to the states.
On the ferry, I bought a cafe latte and a piece of kuchen. Kuchen looks like a torte, with a torte like 3/4 inch crust and then a 3/4 inch top consisting of like a yogurt cheese custard with fresh strawberries cooked into it. Absolutely delicious. I thought the slices they were giving were really big but I managed to gobble it down in no time flat. I paid a whopping 3,000 clp for it which is almost $5 and recalled that there was a woman selling the same thing outside the market the day before for 850 clp which is like $1.50. They always get you on the boats.
The ferry ride was somewhat uneventful as it is very foggy. The ferry will arrive in Leptepu and then I drive 10 km to the other side of Leptepu and get on a second ferry at Cruce Leptepu to Caleta Gonzalo. The two ferry rides are included in the price of one ticket. The first ride is about 3 1/2 hours, the second 40 minutes. From there I will drive to Chaiten and poke around there for a while and then go find the house where I'm staying just outside of Chaiten. I'm hoping it's not raining.