Hot shower. Hot coffee. Hot men?? Sadly no. A cold old Chilean cabbie wearing a Russian cap and a big smile on his face rang the bell early to pick me up. We drove through the rain to the airport . It was rainy and cold. At least the past 2 days here were perfect (as it gets): sunny and cold.
Once at the airport, as I waited for the DAP counters to open I scanned the area to pass my judgement on the facilities. My basic criteria: comfy area to chill with free fast WiFi. Punta Arena passed and got extra credit for having heaters underneath the seats
At check-in, they weighed my bags. I was 10kg over and had to pay an overage fee for my pack. This is the 1st time I have had to pay for baggage since the airlines started charging fees. I thought since it is so cold, on the way back I could easily wear all the clothes in my pack. After giving them 15,000CLP, I received my reusable boarding pass. I love these!! I was given a similar one when I left a lovely man and lovely city Placencia, Belize to hop to Belize City.
The prop plane teeny, fitting 17 people including the pilot and co-pilot. The pilot turned around to give us his personal greeting and the flight details. Once he turned around, leaving the cockpit door open, we quickly ascended into the sky. I looked around and notice that there were 3 seats empty. I could have just showed up at the airport!
There was open seating for the plane, since I was among the first to board, I scored a window seat. The scenery at first was blocked by the clouds. Once we cleared them, I was blown away with the unbelievably beautiful snowy mountain peaks with lushious green valleys carved into them with the contrasting glistening blue water mirroring some of the peaks on the surface.
Unlike other landings this was quite graceful. I barely felt us touch ground. Maybe because there was so much snow. It was a winter wonderland indeed. Crew help us of the plane to keep us from slipping on the icy patch on the airstrip. Baggage claim was an announcement to come grab your bags in the sala de salir. The town looked small enough to walk from the airport to the city. In these snowy conditions, it would be impossible to walk with a pack. Every vehicle had tired adorned with snow chains. I paid the 2000CLP and got whisked off to Hostal Pusaki.
Patty the effervescent owner opened the door for me. Her Spanish was speedier than Speedy Gonzales and like the Tazmanian Devil, she whirled around showing me where everything I would ever need or want was: mainly coffee, tea, teapot and heater pointing at the heater, wood and man, her nephew. Her nephew, Hannibal was her bitch for the weekend: putting wood into the fire, cooking for me and the Belgian in addition to other things.
There was another Chilean staying with Patty, a friend of Hannibal. I had seen him at the airport while he was saying goodbye to his girlfriend or friend with benefits. The Belgian Marcelo was not staying at Patty’s but living on his boat and is Patty’s Kramer. Marcelo would show up whenever there was food.
Soon the almuerzo was served: ensalada de tomates y pescado con un botella de vino. I was with the 3 men. We enjoyed our meal listening to Nirvana. Once lunch and the bottle of wine was finished all of us were close to nirvana but we needed to leave with only a few hours of light to spare. Hannibal and his friend aka Amante tried to convince me to join them inside the Museo for the activities. I wanted to wander the winter wonderland in the snow.
It was beautiful. It was peaceful. It was the first sunny day in a few weeks. I was told one more time, “Tienes mucha suerte (You have very good luck)!” Me: “Si, claro! Todo el tiempo!” Of course! I am lucky all the time!
When I was only 4 or 5 years of age, I literally thought the world revolved around me aka I was the star in my own life/movie. Nothing else existed in this world other than to sustain my world. It wasn’t until I saw the movie “Truman Show”, I was reminded of this and it freaked me knowing someone else thought the same thing. However, at times when everything goes too perfect, I begin to wonder if my 5 year old mind is right! Or is it The Matrix? Whatever, call it luck or call it Keren’s world, my trip has been pretty damn perfect. My whims have panned out perfectly. Much like getting my seat on the plane today and my berth on the Golondrina several weeks back.
People were friendly. Dogs were friendly. Puerto WIlliams was paradise of the winter variety. I made it past Tierra del Fuego. This city has been bullied by Ushuaia, Argentina in regard to the title of most Southern city in South America. The marketing slogan for this city is “Mas alla del fin del mundo (Beyond the end of the World)”. Bottom line, “Suck it Ushuaia, we are further south!!”
I was happy to make it to the Southern Tip of Chile and South America. Call it a fetish, but I love traveling down South. Give me the southernmost point, I get excited. A few southern points that are part of the public domain: Kunniyakumari, India; Johor Bahru; Key West, Florida; and now enter Puerto Williams, Chile.
Walking around the town was quaint. Kids sliding down the hills on sleds. Elevated metal bins for trash to hover above the snow. Wood burning stoves steadily smoking. The town was easy to survey on one round. I found all the key buildings: the museum, the fire department, the bar and the Mormons.
The sun set just after 4:30. I took a siesta. After a sweet sleep, I want across the street for food and wine. Just as I sat down to eat, my Chilean friends returned. We began to share a bottle of vino at the mesa. Marcelo came in shortly with reinforcements. The conversation swayed back and forth between Spanish and English as we all shared a few bottles of good Chilean wine and good conversation. People try to convince others that life is not so bad by saying “It is not the end of the world”. For me, today I made it to
but things were far from bad, life is fucking awesome