Margaret at Cachando Chile wrote a great piece on her first experiences in Chile. She’s been here for 18 years now. Since she invited others to share their impressions, I thought it would be a good opportunity to write a less structured post than I usually write. Perhaps a more open post since I’m typically not a candid writer on the blog. These were my thoughts in the first month in Chile after arriving at the end of December, 2008.
E. and I arrived in Santiago after crossing the Andes by bus. About the moment we crossed into the Chilean side of the mountains, I started experiencing post nasal drip which by the time we arrived in Santiago turned into a full blown sinus infection. I knew to expect more pollution in Santiago, but I wasn’t expecting to get sick so quickly! (I have to admit to inheriting a poor excuse for sinuses.)
The first couple months, my lungs hurt certain days. This has stopped, which is probably a bad sign. My body has succumbed to the pollution.
While in Punta Arenas in January, we arranged to visit the nearby Isla Magdalena by boat to see the Magallanic penguins. They are often called “donkey penguins” because they raise their heads and honk like a donkey in order to posture in front of other penguins or predators. It is said that there are 60,000 breeding pairs on the island.
Two colonies are located near Punta Arenas–Seno Otway or Isla Magdalena. We heard that there were many more penguins to see at the island which is only an hour and a half away from the city. Seno Otway is accessible on the mainland.
The colony on Isla Magdalena seems used to hordes of touristas snapping pictures and cooing over the fat, fuzzy babies. The adults would patiently wait for a clearing in the human pathway so they could cross in a little line. There were also some fat, awkward seagull babies.
When our boat pulled up to the island, I was so excited to see a beach teaming with penguins.
Filed under Animals, Chile
We arrived in Punta Arenas from Santiago, Chile, on the way to a five-day hike. When we arrived it was cold and drizzling. I inwardly cringed, but I knew I had to toughen up because the weather would only be more difficult in the trek. Hikers usually hike and camp through strong winds and rain in the park.
Punta Arenas is a port town–mostly a place to visit on the way to another place.
We`re biding our time in Porvenir, Chile, in Tierra del Fuego. Nearly at the end of the world in Patagonia. Getting away from the water, the smell of wild sweet clover permeates the streets.
The evening boat back to Punta Arenas leaves at 8:00. I´m hoping to see a mini dolphin riding in the side wake when we return. E. caught sight of one on the journey into the port. I figured that´d be good luck.
The day is strangely temperate and sunny for the bitter cold we´ve experienced in Punta Arenas. E. and I have another day in southern Chile, and then we´re back to summer in Santiago. The weather changes quickly in this region. It´s sunny one minute and pouring the next. The wind can be a monster.
I can´t get the Dixie Chicks´song “Heartbreak Town” out of my head. Porvenir isn´t necessarily sad, it´s just that there is not much for the residents to do in their spare time. With the lack of a radio or iPod, my mind tends to put songs on rotate. During our hike in Torres del Paine, it chose a Phil Collins song “Do You Remember?” (Why?!?) I had to fight that song off with some Handel. However, Katy Perry (“Hot N Cold“) kept fighting Vivaldi for control.
This weekend I should have some remembrances on the bus ride over to Santiago from Mendoza, initial thoughts on Santiago, Punta Arenas, Puerto Natales, Parque Torres del Paine, and Porvenir.
Chileans appear to love eighties pop music as much as Argentines. If you love instant coffee, you´re in luck!