Sorry about not posting for a long time. I'll be posting a story about Thanksgiving soon, but in the meantime here's some interesting tidbits from yesterday:
I went to the coast with Jaime and Guga, two tutors from San Lorenzo, to check out a campsite that they were planning to use for a Scout camp this summer. They used the same campsite last year but since the earthquake and ensuing tsunami they weren't sure how it would be. It turns out the tsunami wiped out a whole forest. I saw the pictures from last year's camp and the place is unrecognizable.
The drive was about three hours long, and a third of it was on precarious dirt road that wound through the valleys and spit us out near the coast. From there we had to navigate through rural towns and a massive plantation owned by one of the richest men in Chile. It turns out the guy's son used to be a student at San Benito, so he is known to the schools. I guess that's how they found out about the campsite, even though it took a national law to open up the coastline bordering his plantation.
When we made it down to the office on his plantation we found out that we would not be able to continue by van because of all the sand that got washed onto land by the tsunami. So we had to leave our van a few miles from the site and we went walking to reach the site. On our way Jaime had been talking about this line of coast being one of the most popular places to surf. Coincidentally, soon after he mentioned that, a white Subaru Legacy loaded down with surfboards and windsurf gear came barreling down the sand road.
Partly because we had a long way to walk and partly without reason, I threw up my hitchhiker's thumb and the next thing we knew we were packed into the back of the wagon with windsurf sails and surf boards over our heads. Our gracious surfer friends were two Frenchman on their way to the coast for a couple months of shredding the gnar, and they definitely looked the part.
We made it to the campsite successfully, where we were met by the razed coastline. I wasn't there last year, so I had no comparison, but Jaime and the surfers were in awe at the destruction caused by the tsunami. Like I said, I saw the pictures this morning and it really is incredible how much damage the tsunami caused.
The drive back was uneventful, except that I saw a black widow spider the size of a tarantula crawling across the road, and we had some really good empanandas (dumplings stuffed with meat, onions, egg, and other things) for lunch.