Dervla and I are wondering why there seem to be so few women on the roads in Chile? Is this the case in South America in general? We’ve seen combine harvesters, horses and carts, dogs, walkers and cyclists on the Panamerican (often traveling against the traffic), but female drivers are in short supply. That some male drivers seem to want to race you when they see that they’re being overtaken by a female might go some way to providing an explanation, but I’m sure that there are others out there who in such situations calmly accelerate whilst muttering “don’t play those games with me sonny!” I’m sure Dervla would give me a high five, if she had hands.
I’m still feeling a tad fragile so we decide to avoid the supermarket and just forage in the service stations as Adele y Helmut can provide dinner. Copec certainly put UK service stations to shame. They’re cleaner, cheaper and the Pronto chips (fries) are lovely! You can’t say the same about Little Chef. The dirt road up to the hostel is a bit hairy but our little studio flat – the Llaima apartment, is compact and bijou. We literally have a view of Volcano Llaima from the bedroom window, a small kitchen area with a gas hob, and a very well designed shower room. I don’t want to sound as if I’m obsessed by toilets (although mum said that I always used to draw a little door on the left hand side of my pictures when I was a little, and that I would patiently explain that this was the toilet door to anyone who asked, as if they were the strange ones) but a nice loo makes all the difference, especially when of late I seem to have been spending a lot of time in them. The landscape could quite easily be Bavarian (if it weren’t for the volcanoes) so it’s easy to see why Helmut chose to settle here. I love to travel but for the time being am happy in the UK. If given the opportunity to live and work somewhere else for a few years though, the chances are we’d happily take it! Not such a contradiction really.
It’s a few degrees cooler here than up in the wine region but still pleasant enough to sit outside with a cuppa, scanning the horizon for the puma which have been known to walk out here from Conguillo National Park. It’s a good job that we changed our minds about self catering for these two nights as unfortunately there’s no fridge but Adele is a talented chef and for dinner serves potato and courgette fritters to start, followed by salmon in a cream and mushroom sauce and quinoa. Neither of us could eat it all so I hope that she didn’t think we were being rude by not clearing our plates. I did try explaining that it was solely because I’d been poorly, but my Spanish is limited, and there’s only so far you can get with mime before onlookers start thinking that you’re quite the freak.