Early in the morning, I extricated myself from my top bunk in the hostel dormitory, cautious not to wake any of my roommates. Last night, the hostel owners had kindly prepared an easy breakfast and left it out on the table for me, even though their breakfast service usually isn’t available until 7am. I munched on that, and then held vigil at the front window, waiting for the transfer van.
The van scooped me up, and we headed to the airport. I feel I owe Magellan an apology: his strait is quite beautiful when there’s a clear sky and a bright orange sunrise. It was the polar opposite of yesterday’s melodramatic storminess. I think I’ve put words to my conflicting feelings about Punta Arenas: I like driving through the city, and I might like its more rural outskirts, but I’m so-so about being in the main bulk of the city.
I had forgotten to do online check-in for my flight yesterday, but I’d somehow been assigned an excellent seat: an aisle seat only five rows from the front. I attempted to switch to a window seat, but according to the self check-in machine, every single other seat on the plane was occupied.
On my way to the gate, I noticed that there were a handful of departures to Antarctica later today — sorely tempting! If only I had brought appropriate Antarctic clothes along with me. Perhaps next time. The flight passed uneventfully, with a stop in Puerto Montt (during which I stayed in my seat). I’ve been rereading The Golden Compass using my iPod’s miniscule screen; it’s tiny print, but it’s worth it to have something good to read.
When I arrived in Santiago, I did the bus-to-terminal, bus-to-Valpo, micro-to-home sequence with perfect confidence and speed. Hopefully, should I return to Chile, I’ll still remember how to achieve this! I leaped off the bus near V.’s, and walked down the hill, glad to be home (if only for eight more days). While I was gone, somebody had painted some new art on the walls and pillars near my street. I love that I’m now able to recognize which art is old and which is new.
I did a quick trip to the supermercado, attempting to stock up on just enough food to sustain me for the rest of my trip, and not more. When I returned home, a handful of men (who were also staying here) had taken up residence in the living room, and they merrily played guitar and melodica into the night.
I don’t think I’ve mentioned, but it’s probable that I had a cold for much of the Patagonia trip. I steadfastly refused to admit it, and thus, it didn’t really slow me down or prevent me from doing anything I’d planned. Now that I’m back at home, the cold has poked its head up, plaintively asking, “Now will you let me rest up?” I suppose I shall have to allow it.