Travel Story: Hitchhiking Patagonia| Puerto Cisnes | Working as Gardner
Hello mighty readers! How are you? We are back to the Travel Stories after a small break. Let's show a bit of Puerto Cisnes.
If you are new to the series, this is the Travel Stories, a place where I share my past adventures on this world of ours. Most of my past crazyness, before I've purchased my bicycle, were hitchhiking trips - the biggest one being a 10.000 km journey in Patagonia.
This post is a continuation of last week's chapter in Patagonia, our location at the time was a small town called Puerto Cisnes, you can check part one below:
On part 1 I wrote on how I got to Puerto Cisnes and I share a bit of the interesting dialogues along the way. The chapter ends with me on the lended shed where I lived for 5 days.
On this continuation I'll present a little bit about my days in Puerto Cisnes, where I enjoyed rain and sun, friends and solitud, where I spent days doing nothing and working as gardner/painter. I know this is quite a long reading for busy Steemians, but I believe there are many hidden messages in between the lines which the most attentive readers will get. Enjoy the reading!
Click any of the images to elnarge!
Obs.: This story is part of a bigger journey that I plan to tell you one day. Since it would be incredibly long I've decided to release parts of it, featuring the most crazy bits. It'll not follow an order of events, but I'll put it in a way that you can read as parts of a book. Hope you enjoy.
This happened when I was hitchhiking Argentina and Chile in summer 2017. Carrying only the essentials and little money for the journey. I had left Buenos Aires in early January with the main goal to reach Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the Americas. Plan was plain an simple: Work if needed, camp, hitchhike all the way, have loads of fun and let my desire guide the way.
February 11th, 2017. I had just organized my belongings inside the small shed after opening space for my sleeping mat on the floor. Incredible how we only realise that we can live with just a few items when we trully take them out of the backpack and lay all together - there's a handful of items only. This is a lesson that impacts me to this day and the main cause why I can't stand a single day more inside my flat, a topic for another chapter maybe.
My little shed was small, but big enought for living. On the left a small table where I had my diary, camping stove to prepare coffee, a candle, some books and my kitchen utentils. On the right there was a wooden bench with my backpacks on top. On the back, some construction material and other junk. There were spider webs on the ceiling too, which I hoped were not in use; because if they were I'd better not see the spiders or it would turn my night into a less enjoyable experience. The whole place was a mess and smelled like wood, but felt like home, gosh I even called it home. That's how I spent the first night and the other tree to come.
February 12th, 2017. New day, sunny day. It would be my first experience working as a gardener, so I wrote on my diary.
I woke up early today to organize my 'home', beaufitul day, perfect to work and wander. I'm writing from my 'office' where I observe the mechanism of the Church watch, that is right nearby. It chimes in quarters and full hours. One 'dong' is a quarter, two is half an hour, tree to forty-five and four to one hour. This is usefull.
Since I had woken up early that day I decided to go for a walk before receiving orders from Teresa. A glorious long and aimless walk where you simply give permission to yourself to get lost, well... not difficult to find the way home in such a small town anyway. And not difficult to find your friends as well, because soon I saw my french friends, whom I left behind on the route, walking by the shore.
The tides were low, the boats were on dry, a very different experience compared to the other day, when the tides were up high. Speaking of boats I believe my fascination for them shows up on these photos.
Puerto Cisnes low tide.
The day before these boats were floating.
As you can see, this is the same location on a different day.
CIS - 241
The wodden constructions impressed me and the contrast between old and new caught my eyes when I saw the fire departament "Cia de Bomberos de Puerto Cisnes" with its old house protecting the modern truck, ready to serve.
Fire Department in Puerto Cisnes
The streets were calm and silent on that Sunday morning while I wandered up and down the coast discovering every corner of that lovely city.
Fire Department in Puerto Cisnes
In such a small city you eventually end up in the city center, where there's always a small park surrounded by a church and a public library. On that ornamented wodden library I learned about a book called "Ocho Años como un Colono de la Isla Magdalena" (Eight Years as a Colonial in Magdalena Island), a rare manuscript originally written in german by Bruno Rösner - a man who lived there. It was so rare that they only lended me a copy with the condition of not running away with it, which I didn't. But kinda wanted.
On those pages of an amazing story written in the late 30's Bruno describes in minuscule details his jorney to settle on those far lands. I remember reading that book as fast as I could to finish before my departure. Bruno's voyage by train across the Andes, the boats he took to travel south, the people he talked. I could feel his journey in my adventure, in fact, I was following the same route. Only if that place could be isolated as it was in his times, I wished.
Back to the shed I could see no signs of Teresa and her husband, and I didn't want to bother them in a Sunday morning. I took a few coins left on my pockets and bought some tomatoes and onions, unpacked my rice and a can of "Cholgas" or "Choritos"
The Cholgas are a species of strainer mollusc native in South America and very popular in Chile, every market has them both in natura or canned - me being a good backpacker, of course I could only afford the canned ones, which I got instandly addicted.
At first I had no idea how I'd cook them, or if they were supposed to eat like mussels, so I did some experimentation and combined with rice and spices. Not a gourmet looking dish, nor the most photogenic one, but the flavour was fantastic for a meal prepared in one single pan, using a micro camping stove in a wodden shed. It was good!
The Afternoon Hike
To pass time before Mrs. Teresa appeared I started with minor gardening tasks, sun was providing a nice heat, despite being in southern Patagonia and I felt cozy and encouraged to work on the plants. Sometimes we just gotta relax for a bit, that's what I was doing when she came to check.
- Oi, what are you doing? - She asked.
- Just relaxing and taking care of your plants as you asked me... - I said.
- But the day is so beautiful, don't you prefer to do it later? Go for a walk if you want. - She proposed.
- Nah, I have a deal with you, I need to fulfil it. - I said.
- No, no... don't worry, you can go for a walk, enjoy our city! - She insisted.
I don't even have to say that I headed straight to the mountains, yes, in the true meaning of 'run to the mountains'. That's when I took some time to really relax and enjoy myself and the view.
Hiking to the mountains.
View from the top.
February 13th, 2017. After waking up early I was determined to work on the garden no matter what, I found that the tasks were somehow relaxing and entertaining; I had to clean around the plants, soften the soil, take dead leafs out and put on the compost. It was not an obligation, it was something I was really enjoying to do.
That day Mrs. Teresa came for a chat and to see what I was doing, at that time we were already good friends. Mr Sergio, her husband, was more reserved and quiet, a short middle age man that seemed introspective but would also exchange a few words. He seemed to be still curious about the strange boy living in his backyard, so our contact was less frequent. Seeing my enthusiasm and good work, Mr Teresa proposed a new and more hard work task.
- You are doing a great job, would you like to work cleaning a more severe terrain? I could pay you. - She said.
- Well, why not? What do you need? - I said.
- See that space over there in between the two houses? I need that cleaned. - She pointed. It was a corridor between two houses of two meters in width by ten in lendth full with tall grass and some scrap wire fences.
- You need that cleaned? Sounds like a deal! - I said.
Hard work with a machete and a hoe, sweat dripping, spiders running away, loads of organic material for the compost, wood and wire fences lost into the dirt. It made me think about how we undervalue hard working people, on how we undervalue such simple tasks that could help us travel around the world. No, we don't need to be rich to travel, the same way we don't need to waste our time for years in a big company to be able to enjoy a great retirement. If we really want to do it, and trully open ourselves to accept different tasks, then everything can be possible. Thinking about all that from the comfort of our sofas won't make us travel either, the first step must be done.
That day I worked hard, I was without a shower for some days which made Teresa and Sergio open their hearts a little more. On that day those two amazing persons openned not less than their own house for a somewhat strange brazilian boy, they let me take a shower. A hot and well needed shower, one of those simple things of our every day life that we take for granted, afterall, it's just a matter of turning the faucet on and there it is - clean hot water. It's that easy when we are at home, which makes us arrogant somehow. If today I value a hot shower at home, it's because one day I learned the hard way how it is to live without one.
February 14th, 2017. Last day in Puerto Cisnes, that day I wrote on my diary.
I was worried about spending 5 days stuck in a city waiting for our boat departure, but now I don't want to leave... This small town and its people has captivated me, I wish I could stay more.
The last day was incredibly beautiful again and the tasks on the garden were minimum, just small whims here and there.
Teresa and Sergio invited me for lunch - lamb meet - absolutely glorious! They told me about their only son that was living in the capital; I could understand now why they were treating me so well, I felt as if I was part of the family. During our lunch I also met Blanca, the curious woman with long white hair that was responsible for discovering Bruno's manuscripts. Another person that simply drags you into hours of interesting conversations.
I must've been well-known on the small town by that time which granted me some tasks for the city hall, believe it or not. During the afternoon I worked painting touristic signs all over the city, all sponsored by the touristic center.
Oh, how I wish I couldn've stayed more there! Amazing generous people, full of history and culture. We all spent the evening together eating and drinking, they gave me treats for my upcoming trip early on the next morning. I just hope that one day I can go back there to retribute their help.
February 15th, 2017 On that cold and dark morning I finished yet another chapter of my grand hitchhiking trip, it was time to leave Puerto Cisnes and continue on the journey; I left a small thank you note on the desk of the shed I lived for five days, closed the door, dressed my backpacks and headed to the bay. The water was calm that day with no wind at all, which is not common near the cordilleras. On the port, the boat's lights were reflecting on the water and the workers were already loading up cars and trucks into the cargo decks. I was moving again.
The story continues in an old post that is linked down below, the whole Patagonian story can be found on my blog page, they are not connect, but you can enjoy as small parts of small chapters of a book.
Would you like to read more about the Patagonian journey? Drop a comment down below, I love talking to you!
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~Love ya all,
Disclaimer: The author of this post is a convict broke backpacker, who has travelled more than 10.000 km hitchhiking. Following him may cause severe problems of wanderlust and inquietud. You've been warned.