I have lots of pictures to post, but they're not for the dialup connection of the beautiful ranch house I'm now typing from. So here's text through yesterday (in two posts).
I need to learn to slow down. In Puerto Montt, a pretty girl stopped and looked at me, popsicle in pose. "¿Tienes un cigarette para la chica?" I could have said a dozen things: "Not on me, can I offer you something else?" Instead, just like I would some days in English, I mumbled a "No," and moved on. But she was there: "¿No fumar?" "Not today-- want some fruit juice?" Instead, another, "No." Still, she tried, as I walked by, but too fast for me to follow. I half pretended I didn't hear. It's must have made her feel crumby.
My first afternoon in Puerto Montt, I headed out along the shore, walking well outside of the town center. Suddenly, I came apon an interminable row of tourist handicraft stores, and was surrounded by elderly, camera-toting, English speakers, like there was a great granparent relocation program. The street finally ended in an resort-looking, fish-smelling shopping center, with a big entrance and no exit. I decided to pull a Vandiver and took for the hills. I didn't get much into the wilderness, but I did get yelled at by Chilean from his window.
The next day, I went on a full-day tour of Chiloe, the first island drip off Chile's sopping nether-regions. The jolly tour guide, who kept tweaking his nipples, told our group plenty in Spanish that I couldn't follow. A dutch hosteller came too (which created a pocket of English around us), but the tour was fun for the pictures and the boat trips. The plantlife has a huge diversity there, but Chileans are not to be outdone. In the US, the Smith house is white (with picket fence). In Chile, I think it's blue, with green trim, and has an orange roof.
At a fort in Chiloe, another tourguide asked if I wanted him to take my picture for me. "No, gracias." "Oh! ¿Que pais? ¿Frances?" "Los Estados Unidos." "Ah! So who do you want for president? Osama? Edwards? Clinton? Who are you going to vote for?" "Um, probably Obama." He shook my shoulder. "Yes! I too think Obama will bethe next. He's young! Brings change."