Right before we took a ferry to Torres Del Paine, we spent 6 days on the Island of Chiloe in southern Chile. It's a lot like Maine. You've got a rocky beach, dense green woods, and lots of plaid. This is a 2-parter post, so scroll all the way down!
Chiloe is also a land of colorful mythology and folklore, including ghost ships, wizards and buried treasure. Then there is Trauco, the crippled troll/Don Jaun of Chiloe. What I've learned from people here and a creepy national park brouchure is that Trauco is a disfigured man/monster with no feet and a huge ax, that he swings around to show off how manly he is. He is so manly in fact, that no woman can resist him. Don't take my word for it though, here it is straight from his eHarmony profile:
"Trauco is a short man, not longer than 80cm. He has markedly masculine forms, ugly face, sweet looking, alluring and sensual. He wears a shabby suit and a cap of the same material, in the right hand he carries a stone ax".
Trauco, for single woman, is a question that concerns them. In the opinion of some, it is a horrible little monster, frightening whom you must aviod at all costs. Other women believe differently and state that while ugly, is not so bad, but on the contrary, attractive...
The park brochure also claimed that women often state that Trauco has "struggling tenacious and permanent claim to have removed from their thoughts, where he vibrated once burning her insides..."
Good stuff, right? Better than 50 Shades of Grey at least. But Trauco isn't just Chiloe's most sexy man, 300 hundred years running, he does a lot of charity work too. Its said that whenever a woman gives birth to a child out of wedlock, and no father steps forward, Trauco must be the father, and because he's totally irresistible, the woman can't be blamed. So, Trauco has been assuming the role of father for all these kids, and has never once asked for a paterity test. Thanks Trauco. Also on Chiloe? Empanadas every place.
$1.50 salmon empanadas anyone?
Run from coast ghost!!!
Look! A jumping picture!
On the island of Chiloe, when you want a new house, instead of building a new one, you find a house somewhere else and get everyone in town together to help you move it, pulling the house with several teams of oxen. Sometimes they even move the house from island to island, by trapping plastic barrels all around the house, and floating it behind a boat. The process is called a Minga, and fortunately for us, our hosts in Calen, Chiloe, Andrea and Daniel, happened to be having one while we were there. They had bought a home for Andrea's mother to live in and wanted to on their lot, next to their house, however it was currently 800 meters down the beach. So on a Thursday morning, while the tide was low, pretty much the entire town of Calen gathered around the house. Men brought their oxen, others brought skins of wine, liters of beer and cider. There was even a french film crew on hand to capture the event, who brought a camera drone, that buzzed over top of the whole show.
The house was cut off its posts, strapped to giant logs (think great big skis, except for a house), and they were off. Ok, not exactly that fast. The oxen, a dozen in all, were strapped to the tow ropes, and each team of two had one or two guys to drive them on (oxen apparently need some coaxing to haul a house down the beach). Then add just as many guys to give their opinion on what the first guys are doing wrong, or hand out glasses of beer, cider and wine, or even play the accordion on the porch of the house, and you've got a Minga!
First a guy in the back with a great big handle bar mustache would sing a low rumbling note, then as he raised it up high, the rest would start yelling "YA!", and pulling and smacking the bulls on. The crowd (myself included) would scramble with them down the beach, trying not to be trampled, or hit by the passing house. That would get them about 30 to 50 meters and everyone would cheer, rest, drink and repeat. By around 1pm, the teams shifted the house in position, the women in the group concluded the house was straight in its new resting place, champagne popped, and the dancing began. It was a great big party for the rest of the afternoon, with huge chunks of grilled meat, more booze and much more dancing. Even with the teams of oxen, I'd say the whole process was much easier than my home buying experiance and way more fun. If we ever decide to move again, you're all invited to help us haul it away. Bring your accordions!
Our beautiful host Andrea on the right...her mom will live in this house!