[Patagonia I] January 5, 2012: To Patagonia!

Still lacking definitive word about the contents of my trip south, I wrote to the Torres del Paine lodging people yesterday to ask if that part of the park would be open. Then, I slept turbulently, concerned about how uncertain my plans were. I dreamt of submarine cruise ships and anglerfish, which everyone knows is secret dream-code for “I hope my trip to Patagonia goes smoothly.” In the morning, there was an email reply from the people: “Fortunately the park has reopened its eastern side yesterday! So your reservation with us is as planned.” Excellent.

I spent the day packing up both warm- and cold-weather clothes, not certain which to expect. I also wrote down every possible scrap of information I might need for my travels on a handy piece of paper, from reservation numbers to relevant addresses and walking directions. I am awfully good at being organized when I aim to; let’s hope this makes the trickier parts of the trip go smoothly.

During the afternoon, someone knocked at the front door. I thought I heard them mention my name, but it was hard to tell for sure, as my name’s double-Ls do not have a logical pronunciation for Spanish speakers. However, the visit was for me: the man was delivering a care package of nifty odds and ends sent by my mother, including a green shirt from her college, some decorative beads, and a hand-scrawled note. It was great fun to root through.

In the evening, I fixed a quick dinner of chicken patty and tomato, before heading up the street to catch a micro to the bus terminal. Within ten minutes, we were chugging our way towards Santiago. In Santiago, I made the unfortunate discovery that the terminal-to-aeropuerto buses stop running at 11pm. I learned this by arriving around 11:15pm, finding no buses in the usual spot, and wandering around plaintively; I was so close! I ended up having to fork out extra dinero for a taxi ride to the airport, but at least the driver was very friendly.

At the airport, I got all checked in and headed to my gate. My flight was to leave at the ungodly hour of 1:20am; I read an Ambrose Bierce short story while I waited, before we all marched onto the plane. I ended up being seated next to a retired couple from Canada. I had pleasant conversation with the lady — her husband was Chilean-born, so it was their second visit here, during which they would spend several months traveling Patagonia.

The flight was only about three hours long, arriving at an obscene 4-something in the morning. This provided a very narrow window for sleep, especially since I’m not very good at sleeping on planes. I tried my best, but ended up just gazing out the window, at an almost-full moon hovering above a solid dreamy sheet of clouds. As the hours passed, the moon colored pumpkin orange, before finally tucking itself down into the cloud-sheet.

I couldn't get a clear picture, but this should give you an idea.

2 thoughts on “[Patagonia I] January 5, 2012: To Patagonia!

  1. Yayyyyyy. It took that package only, what, six weeks to arrive? I’m delighted it arrived, and intact, and that you liked playing with it. You look glorious in your dayglo green shirt. (I just typo’d “daylo green shit.” Sorry.)

    I’m glad you’ve gotten so good at Spanish, so you can negotiate the country just like a little mariposa, but with more purpose.

    I hope you got sleep. I want the next entry so I can find out if you ever slept. Oh, I’m so frightened.

    This is so much fun to read!

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