Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Touchdown- Punta Arenas

“But I reckon I got to light out for the territory ahead of the rest, because Aunt Sally she’s going to adopt me and sivilize me, and I can’t stand it. I been there before."
-  Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1885)

It only took two days, but we finally made it- the team is in place having all arrived in Punta Arenas. Definitely chilly here- and surprisingly dark given we are almost at the southern terminus of South America.  Isn't it supposed to be light even close to midnight? Maybe I'm not calibrating our true latitude correctly and aren't as far south as we thought. 

Couple notes on an otherwise un-noteworthy trip down:

- Flying into Santiago is incredible, threading through the snow capped Andes and then foothills surrounding the city. Both sides of the plane had cameras out and even while at the airport the surrounding landscape provides Santiago with a spectacular setting.

- English is a pretty rare commodity, so far I can count the number of people speaking Eigo on one hand and have had to rely on awesome and dazzling High School Spanish to get by.  Fortunately, people here are pretty relaxed and accommodating of my efforts struggling to get rust out of the Spanish gears in stitching together sentences.

- Apparently Chile and Spain aren't besties, or I just misread an experience at Customs with one of my bags spread all over a table. An agent flagged one of my bags and bypassed about 15 bags of candy, nuts and freeze dried food to hone in on two vacuum sealed packets of Prosciutto. The agent confiscated the meat and when I asked about it was told that it wasn't the meat- it was because it was from Spain. I didn't argue, just re-packed and went on my way.

On the taxi ride from the airport to hotel, it was amazing to look up into a vividly bright sky with whole constellations not visible in the northern hemisphere twinkling away, the Southern Cross sitting high in the sky. At one point, I pulled out my phone and opened my compass app.. heading due south, my compass had us on a northerly heading as it dialed in on the magnetic South Pole, not that far away. We zinged along in taxis toward our hotel (Best Western Hotel Finis Terrae- or, End of Earth) at the not-so-exorbitant rate of $12 fixed price.. this nation isn't all that expensive from what we have seen sofar.

Arriving, Michael and I met the third in our party- Ossie and planned for tomorrow.  Plenty going on in preparation and planning to be had, so tonight is sleep for the weary travelers. And as tomorrow comes along, we prepare to light out. Like Huck Finn's unbreakable spirit incapable of simply settling down as a boring old townsfolk do. We yearn to seek adventure, see the unknown and experience all that life has to offer.


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