Does this look like Washington or what?
Back from my trip to Valdivia. What I forgot to mention was that the pretty blue Valdivia photo I posted was taken in the summer. I chose it because it was really pretty and it probably worked for making you jealous. On Friday, Valdivia wasn't this shade of blue, it was a shade of gray. It rained all day and was very foggy, not an unfamiliar scene to us Washingtonians. I was also inside all day at a marine conservation planning meeting (in Spanish!). Despite my frustrations of not being able to be as engaged as I would like to during the meeting, because of obvious language barriers, I still gleaned some useful information out of it. I was able to meet important staff that I will be working with and learned a small bit of information about the project. Yes, I know I need to learn more Spanish, but I can't in one week and I have to keep reminding myself of it.
I did sneak a peak outside the hotel we were at, while I could, and took a few photos. There was a rhododendron blooming near the river. The experience riding the bus overnight for 11 hours two days in a row was interesting. The travel buses here shoot Greyhound out of the water. They are very modern. You can purchase seats that actually recline all the way back so you are lying down with your feet up and they play movies. I slept the whole way, but I am tired from not getting good quality rest. Luckily, before we left to head back to Santiago (me and the scientist I traveled with), the two Nature Conservancy employees we were with treated us to chocolate cake at a bakery in downtown Valdivia. One of them said that Valdivia has a lot of German ancestry (thus the wonderful bakery). After a bit of visiting, I was invited back to stay on the Reserve this time (not just hear about it), eat BBQ meat, and sing around a campfire. I think I could go for that. Now to think about my next visit... in summer!