The end of the earth
Trip Start Apr 08, 2010
48Trip End Jul 08, 2010
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Where I stayed
I had a very fitful flight. The ventilation was poor (or maybe it was just my hiking boots and down vest causing me to overheat!) and we had two less than disciplined children in front of us. Sam, meanwhile, was comfortable kindling his face off. There must be some kind of speed reading award out there just waiting for him, having already crushed through several long reads in a few days. He suggested joining my 'Three Cups of Tea' read, but only after I am 2/3 of the way through in order to finish on the same page. How chivalrous. While I digress, I might also add that domestic security at the Santiago airport was nonexistent
Upon landing, I was anxious for fresh air and distance from Kids 1 and 2. In a RUSH (oh no!), we deplaned and made our way to baggage claim. The carousel went around and around deepening my 2am hypnotic state until it hit me -- I didn't have my camera bag. Without so much as a coherent remark to Sam, I was off, sprinting through the airport, running back up the escalator, jamming my way back on the jet-way. I darted down the corridor, got on the plane and forced my way down the aisle against the flow of deplaning passengers. Mind you, not once was I stopped or considered for security reasons. After squeezing through, I made my way to row 5 (thankfully not 25) and found my camera bag, tucked nicely under the middle seat right where I had left it.
After I rejoined Sammy at baggage claim, our bags arrived. We looked for a driver with our names on a placard to no avail. The airport, small and about as happening as State College's, was clearing out and our ride was nowhere to be found. We found a taxi van and boarded it along with a dozen or more other passengers, which meant our drop off could realistically take an hour
On our way, we settled into the ride for a 20 kilometer drive into town. Sam was engaging in his usual Spanish conversation and I was completely taken by the darkness around us. Millions of twinkling stars forming countless constellations filled the sky above me, around me and behind me; it was like nothing I had ever seen in my life, not even in the fields of Iowa. It was like being in my very own planetarium.
We checked into an earthy, modern boutique hotel, Ilaia, and had a good night's sleep before being picked up by our handlers and starting the 6 hour trip to Torres Del Paines. With the Strait of Magellan on our right and Patagonian estancias all around us, we were at the end -- or as our guide Eric told us, the beginning -- of the earth.