When we decided to do this trip Jons colleague Bosse told us to talk to his sister Agneta and her husband Luis who has a house outside of Santiago in a small village called Catemu. As it turned out they were not there at the moment but she told us to visit Luis’s brother Chatto. After many phone calls back and forth to Sweden and Catemu everything was arranged.
We went to the bus station in Santiago, this time the one called San Borja, and bought tickets at the very reasonable price of €3 each. After one and a half hour we arrived, and using our default modus operandi we got out of the bus and started to look a bit lost. Seconds later a Chilean man greeted us and let us know that he is Luis’s brother!
We managed to more or less speak to each other and understand most things even though my Spanish was as bad as his English. After getting some rest in his house in downtown Catemu we went to buy some food for the evening and Chatto found us all a “Collectivo” which is a taxi that works like a bus with a defined route, and is dirt cheap!
After a quick brush with death as the driver got very creative when making a u-turn on the main road a bit outside the village we arrived at El Cobre which is the small village on the mountainside just outside of Catemu. Here we got to meet a big part of the family, and maybe most importantly Chattos mother who went to great lengths of making sure that we knew that she was the boss there. They offered us some traditional Chilean sandwiches which we accepted and then forfeited our own food we had bought.
When the night arrived we moved to Agneta and Luis’s house right beside the house of Luis’s mother. It is not completely finished but is starting to look really nice. And it has a view that is not bad at all!
The day after Chatto bought us lunch at the local restaurant, they did not have a menu but rather a choice of beef or chicken. Both turned out to be good! After this Chatto wanted us to meet the lady who runs the local radio station. It turns out she lived a few years in Sweden and therefore speaks Swedish. Jon was put in a chair with a microphone in front of him and asked questions about how he liked Catemu and what Spanish words he knew. The most advanced Spanish that emerged was something along the lines of “Una cerveza, por favor!”.
All in all it was a great experience to visit Catemu and meet Chatto and the others. The village was very relaxed and Chatto literally knew everyone there! It was also great to meet people with a connection to, not a close one but very different from meeting people in hostels.