Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Punta Arenas

I left Pucon early this morning heading to Temuco. This town was not exciting at all from the bus so I'm glad I did not stay there. Got a cab out to the airport from the bus station, since there's no public transport out there. The cab even had a meter, no bargaining required. Actually I've noticed that with Chile after Peru. No one is harassing you to buy tourist shit you don't want, take cabs, eat in their restaurants etc. Based on my experiences in Asia as well, there is a correlation between the wealth of a nation and people annoying you.

Today I was flying sky airlines, Chile's budget airline compared to LAN. Although it wasn't that cheap. First stop Puerto Montt then a connecting flight to Punta Arenas. The airline was fine. It left more or less on time and my bag didn't get lost so no complaints. I also enjoyed reading an article in their inflight magazine about raw veganism. Raw veganism in South America? Love it. Not that I met any.

I asked for a seat on the left side of the plane cos I knew this is the better side for looking out the window. Do you think I got the left side? No. And I know the word is izquierda cos it look me 6 months to pronounce it properly! Anyway, looking past the people on the left, the scenery out the windows was spectactular. Mountains on the left, and leaving Puerto Montt, the archipelago of islands on the right.

I switched seats at one point to see the mountains better. An older man was sitting next to me and he was from France but lived in Mexico. So I had a French/Spanish conversation with him. It was actually really good, cos like most non-native Spanish speakers he spoke slowly so he was much easier to understand. He aslo spoke French slowly so I could understand that as well. My speaking (of either) isn't that great, but I can understand a fair bit more when accents, speed and slang words aren't getting in the way.

I got the mini bus into Punta Arenas from the airport. I like this, its cheap and drops you wherever you want. I needed the bus station. Said au revoir to Christian and bought my ticket to Puerto Natales for 5pm. That left me with an hour to explore Punta Arenas.

After about two minutes I was confused by the existence of this town. It is the windiest place EVER. Why would they build a town here? Seriously, I was trying to walk and getting no where or being pushed along almost running. Ridiculous. And it turns twigs and dirt etc. into missiles which hurt a lot when they land in your face and eyes. There's no way you could ever ride a bike here. That would be so dangerous.

Tim, water feature.

I did see some cool birds that looked a bit like penguins.

You know you're very far south when you have a government department which includes Antarctica.

It goes without saying this place is cold. An hour later I was glad to be on the warm bus and heading north to my final destination for the day, Puerto Natales!