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.