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  • Gauchos

A very special experience and close contact with the local culture in Aysen, is to make a visit to Pedro Soto, in Leones valley, where he and his wife have been living for more than 40 years. A simple house, a small fruit trees garden, a greenhouse, hens, sheeps and cows, plus some nice horses and more than 1000 hectares of mountains and glaciers, constitute the landscape that has surrounded them during all their lives.

Visiting them is a pleasure. Warm and happy couple, they receive tourists simply in their daily life place, a small room with a warm wood kitchen in the middle, always with some warm water for a "matecito", as they offer to every visit.

They have a lot to share regarding this isolated life in Aysen region, and they like to share deep conversations with guests and tourists that visit them. 

In March, we were invited for the marking of the new animals, so we could have the experience in don Pelluco´s land, where he and all his neighbours get to know which animal belongs to who.  

Before midday it was already with a huge piece of meat, don Germán Fuentes, al old friend from Puerto Guadal, who was supposed to cook the barbecue at the Patagonian style. On the other side, inside the kitchen, the housewife and the other women were preparing cooked potatos and several bowls with fresh salad, including lettuce, tomatoes and onion salad.  Short after midday, the first part was over, don Pelluco arrived with five of his horsemen and a big group of about 60 cows and calves, that were placed inside the livestock.  First part of the day is over. Don Pelluco closes the livestock and with his helpers, go to lunch time. 

Around the fire, and the meat, people has arrived, mainly young families and relatives who help don Pelluco. We were also there with an australian couple. Salads and some wine arrive to the place. Finally the owner, don Pelluco, takes a big knife and starts cutting small pieces of a hot, greasy and flavoured meat. 

We all take our plates and start eating this most flavoured meat we had ever eaten. Good wine, salads and hot cooked potatos make an unforgettable lunch in Patagonia. Nice conversation and many "salud" drinking wine, celebrate a typical Patagonian feast.

After eating and drinking and before the clear light is gone, there is still a lot of work to do with the animals. Separate mothers and kids, cows and calves, to mark the new ones. They know it will hurt, so there is a big resistance. Two cuts in the right ear will definitely distinguish them from other neighbours animals. A couple of hours were we watching all the scene until all small calves are marked. Meanwhile, the group of gauchos keep an eye to any surprise that can occur in the process, making jokes and playing with the animals. 

Once they finish, don Pelluco goes home, for a hot tea and early sleeping. We leave the place having had an unforgettable memory, that probably very few Chilean have had and obvoiusly less Australians.  

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