Sunday, September 13, 2009


Day 6 was Mapuche Day. We immersed ourselves in learning about the ancient Mapuche peoples who were native to South America.

Andres served as our guide throughout the entire day. He drove us in Tosha’s car an hour north to several important sites. We were also joined by Roderigo, his wife, Carmen, and the children Emi (14), Sophia (5), Roderigo (4), and Antonio (3). They were a delight to have along on this journey as they experienced the Mapuche culture with such excitement—often dancing, singing and playing instruments.

First, we visited the historical fort of Fuerte Tucapel. In 1553, the Spaniard who founded Chile, Pedro De Valdivia, created this fort to conquer the native strongholds of the area. With just 2 cannons and 12 men, he destroyed all the natives and the land surrounding the fort.

Here I am at the fort with Sophia and Emi

This is the valley the fort overlooks.

The laughter yoga leaders doing a happy kick dance.

Yay! This is Emi.

The large tree had a cave like opening at the bottom.

Here’s little Antonia

This is one of those important cannons.

And this is Sofia.

This is a Mapuche designed sculpture.

This one is too. It is the special way they draw the native trees, which are called Araucaria.

This is a shot I took on the street of a Mapuche woman.

Next we went to the home of a Mapuche Indian who builds and plays traditional Mapuche instruments. He’s a friend of Andres’ and he invited us into his home to see the instruments. He explained the significance and symbolism of each instrument and played it for us. The children were eager to get their hands on the instruments too, even though they couldn’t play most of them.

Notice Antonia covering her ears. It was so loud.

Roderigo is trying his hand at Mapuche music.

Tosha is trying on the jewelry of Mapuche women.

Emi tried on the Mapuche headress made of coins and ribbons.

The Alejandra had to try it as well.

And then me! I am totally a Mapuche.

Well then Sofia had to try it as well.

Here is Emi playing one of the instruments.

Andreas actually knew how to play this one.

After that stop, we went to an interactive outdoor museum which enabled us to go inside the traditional Mapuche homes out of straw. Our guides were Mapuche people, including the chief of the area tribe and his son. They are passionate about teaching and preserving the Mapuche way of life that is deeply connected to the earth.

This is a little Mapuche boy from the tribe.

This is the inside of the meeting house. The things hanging above are foods being smoked. Though their was smoke throughout the house, it didn’t smell very smoky because the ventelation system allows the smoke to go though holes on either side of the ceiling.

They had set the table for us to eat a traditional Mapuche lunch including sopapillas, a meat stew, vegetables and hot chili sauce.

Though the Mapuche now live in more substantial homes, they are of the same design as the straw buildings.

Here is Roderigo’s family in the Mapuche house.

They served us the traditional matte tea. It is so thick with tea that it looks like green mud. You have to suck it through a specially designed silver filter straw. Obviously, it is really strong tasting.

The chief and I werre having lunch together and I think we look alike.

Here is William’s cup of matte tea.

The Mapuches played instruments for us around the fire and told us more about their customs.

Here is the chief telling us a story.

Me and my friend Sofia.

Andres and the chief’s son.

Look! Tosha and Alejandra found boyfriends there.

Here’s William hanging out with his buddies.

Next we went to a German restaurant owned by another friend of Andres’.

On the way in, Tosha found her hollywood star on the sidewalk.

And Alejandra’s true character came out.

Here is the restaurant owner, Juan Carlos.

Here are the other employees of the restaurant.

Since we were the only ones there, we talked them into doing a short laughter yoga session with us.

Then we were all laughter friends.

Juan Carlos bid us farewell.

Back at the resort we checked out the selection of wines.

Alejandra and I were still kicking after a busy day of touring.

We were happy with our wine selection.

They even made vegetarian spinach balls for us.

Alejandra thought they were marvelous. Mmmm!

At the end of the day we witnessed a spontaneous laughter moment. Andres in his typical aggressive fashion, stood up so quickly from the table that he bonked heads with his cousin’s wife. Here they are the moment after the bonk.

Now they are laughing.

Now they are offering healing to each other’s heads.

Then we headed to bed after a wonderful Mapuche day.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi Laura! Please say hi to Tosha ror us, too! I just looked at your photos and they are soooo awesome!YOU are awesome!

He He Helen and Craig Whitley