The bull was running, and omigod it’s running towards me!
Having not grown up among large farm animals, I had no idea what to do: run away, or stand and face it bravely like a matador?
I split the difference, crossed to the other side and sorta jogged-walked fast while looking over my shoulder. I figured if it crossed to my side of the road — then I would know. I figured I could dive into this ditch if things got serious.
It’s always a little weird confronting something larger than you in the same no-holds barred space. I had a similar stroke of fear scuba diving in Cozumel when a huge grouper swam by me, as wide as I am tall.
When I saw the bullÂ push through the gate and come towards me, I had no idea whether it was just taking a stroll — or, you know — coming for me!
He went to where a herd of cows were in another field. Funny how they gathered around him, seemingly fawning over his massive studness.
So, okay, the bull probably wasn’t chasing me, probably barely noticed me, but in my mind I thought he was, and that’s got to count for something!
My final day in Santiago I felt somewhat accomplished. I figured out the metro (subway), which on my first day, among a huge crowd, with a line behind me at the purchasing machine — seemed impossible. But this day, I figured it all out, found the right bus station (after a couple wrong stations), and then making my way to one of 3 rock gyms in the area: El Muro.
The walls were very small in comparison to my home gym of EarthTreks Golden. And, there was no set routes — everything was a rainbow route — meaning you just picked whatever hold you wanted to. Regulars seem to make up routes for themselves. One young rockstar picked out routes for other people. He was pretty impressive moving powerfully across the bouldering area, up through a cave route and traversing across Â for a bit before downclimbing.
I was curious how he’d do at EarthTreks.
The other curious thing was that no one had their own chalk bag — except for me. Everyone else dipped into a communal bag — probably owned by the gym. In this limited space bouldering area that sort of made sense. The bag was within reach of everyone who wanted to use it.
I didn’t speak to anyone, except for the desk person who spoke the perfect english he learned after a year in Vancouver, Canada.
I wanted to talk to my fellow climbers, but even with a shared activity, it’s not the speaking that’s hard — it’s the understanding what they respond with that is the hardest. I could feel the language barrier as stiff and solid as the rock wall.
Onwards to Frutillar!
Figuring out transport is always a bit difficult. Pushing through crowds and figuring which bus to take and where is difficult in your own language let alone another. But, with a few well placed questions I was able to figure things out.
The interstate bus cost about $24 US to take an 11 hour trip south from Santiago to Frutillar. It’s a red-eye that starts at 10:45 and arrived at 10am the next day.
I slept relatively well in the seats that reclined nearly horizontal. I thought, ‘the airlines could learn a thing or two from this.’
Frutillar was overcast, yet not rainy (yet). After meeting my host Ricardo, and having breakfast with him and his mom and dad (and a couple somehow related — not sure) we talked about his different projects and how I could help.
I don’t think it the project is well-defined, but I will find out more tomorrow. Basically help with the interface — whatever that means. I want to be able to contribute before I leave.
I’m staying in a large communal hostel house by myself. Another volunteer couple is staying in a different house.
<! — -Before Ricardo left, he handed me 2 bowls with things for my meals: a bowl of meat, and a bowl of potatoes. Meat and potatoes. He mentioned something about how the meals in Frutillar could be better — I guess we’ll see. I’m not complaining — the meat and potatoes were tasty, but I can’t see myself eating the same thing for days on end. I thought Frutillar was the fruit capital of Chile? Perhaps I’m mistaken… — ->
Anyway, a short nap, and a hike to the beach and along the road marked my first day in Frutillar.
Oh yeah, and being charged by a bull ;-)