o Feliz navidad...
Sunday 23 December 2007 - Thursday 27 December 2007
´Twas the night before Christmas
And all through the house
Not a creature was stirring
Not even a . . .
Well, actually, there were guanacos, condors, horses, flies, horses, gauchos, twins toddlers on a new pair of bikes...
In other words... my mom finally arrived in Chile last Sunday the 23rd and we left AL TIRO for Punta Arenas, one of the southernmost cities in Chile and in the world. Poor Mama had to spent almost 24 hours in transit on 3 flights and then a 3 hour bus from Punta Arenas to Puerto Natales. The Patagonian landscape stretches for infinity in all directions it seems, with a huge open sky with clouds built up in layers.
After a night there, we went to the much loved Parque Nacional Torres del Paine, with its trademark 3 torres (towers) the shoot up out of the rugged Patagonian landscape. We managed to do a grueling 5ish hour hike towards the towers from out the very nice Hostería Las Torres, and on the return Mom said she was "one tick" above her max abilities.
In any case, we spent 3 nights there, managing to get some film footage of mom walking to the horses´corral to observe them. (She likes observing animals.) Later we got to talk to some of the horsemen, called "gauchos." It was a little sad for me to see SO few Chileans in a place that is one of the most well known in their country. Basically the only Chileans were the very friendly staff members, and few guests knew Spanish.
TWICE I was asked if I was a guide in the park! I should mention that BOTH times were AFTER I had started talking Spanish! I mean, is my Spanish really that good? Do I really look that Chilean? Do I really look like I have any idea what I´m doing, let alone guiding someone else??
Of course, I took it as a compliment.
One of the gauchos asked where I was from, and I said, "Chicago," and he misheard and said, "Santiago??"
More mistaken identity moments coming up.
Today we came back from Torres del Paine to spend one intermediate night in Puerto Natales. Tomorrow early we leave for El Calafate, where we will go to the Los Glaciares park and to the famous Perito Moreno glacier. After a few nights there we head to Ushuaia for our ice adventure!!