Pucon, Lake District, Chile
Tatan, our 18-year-old kayaking instructor, looked like he'd just stepped off a skateboard in California, so his claim to be Chile's best kayaker seemed about as valid as Kato Kaelin's claim that he could count higher than 10 without assistance.
Apparently, Tatan took up kayaking when he was eight, went over his first waterfall when he was 12, and broke his back when he was 16. He now competes internationally when he isn't working for Cascada, the only kayaking school in Chile.
"Sure, anyone can kayak," Tatan explained, trying to squelch any doubts my girlfriend, Signe, and I had about coughing up $75 each for two days of lessons. Normally, he would have charged $100, but I was having trouble getting that much out of my overworked Visa card, so Signe and I got 25 percent offa journalistic discount.
Anyone may be able to kayak, but not everyone can get into the school . . . or even find it. Located in Chile's southern resort town of Pucon, Cascada doesn't have an office, and the company's cell phone works about as often as a Russian public official. The only way to get in touch with these people is to hang out all day at a hostel in Pucon called Ecole and wait for one of the school's representatives to swing by. We were fortunate we only had to wait two days.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication