Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Land of the Extremes

Porvenir is extreme, in every possible way. Here are some examples:
Starting with the obvious - the extreme and ever present WIND
The ridiculously extreme darkness in winter, followed by the ridiculously extreme lightness in summer (it is now light at 5:30 a.m. working its way down to about 4:45 a.m. come December 21).
The extreme isolation - it is an island and the only way off is on one of two ferries or a plane, none of which run at night so essentially you are trapped on the island every night!
The extremely brown vegetation - there are so few trees and plants here that any time I travel anywhere up north, I am fascinated by the green landscape now!
The extreme lack of food variety - you've read it here and here before, broccoli where are you?

Of course there are the positive extremes too:
The extremely cool penguins that stop by to say hi sometimes.
The other extremely interesting and different wildlife we see - flamingos, guanacos, foxes, dolphins...
The extremely tranquil lifestyle - no traffic jams (or traffic lights for that matter!) here.
The extremely healthy happy cows and sheep which lead to extremely delicious meat.
The extremely clean air we breathe (especially grateful for this after 4.5 years of filthy Santiago air).
The extremely beautiful view from our house, especially when the sun is setting.

But... I have to admit, I am getting extremely tired of the extremeness. This blog is meant to share fun and positive activities and learning experiences we have here and so I have decided to take a break from the blog until next year. We will be in Punta Arenas next week and then in the States for a month so I won't really be in Porvenir until mid January anyway. So... until then, happy holidays!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

I Love Argentina

Argentina is great. Fernando and I had a little weekend get away to Rio Grande, Argentina two weekends ago and I would like to thank Rio Grande for being everything that Porvenir is not. Sometimes I need that. So thank you, Argentina:
For your amazingly delicious and creative food (veggie sandwich which included sliced pumpkin, yum and different!).
For your beautiful double paned, hermetically sealed windows (especially important in windy Tierra del Fuego although the Chileans didn't get that memo).
For your friendliness, which when coupled with your lovely accent, makes you seem even friendlier.
For your smooth, quiet, paved roads (as I have mentioned before almost all the roads on the Chilean side of Tierra del Fuego are gravel).
For your amazing and cheap shopping.

It's so frustrating to be only 3 hours away by car from this "oasis" and live on a daily basis without so many things that are so close by relatively speaking. But at least we have a nice weekend get away that we should probably be taking advantage of more often!

And don't get me wrong. I don't want to live in Argentina. Viva Chile! But they sure do have a lot of nice stuff over there....

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

It's not a real penguin, mama?

Yesterday Fernando called me when he got to work to tell me there was a king penguin in the bay. So Olivia and I hopped in the car and set off to find it. When we first arrived and Olivia approached the penguin (who did not seem to care we were there), she thought it was a pretend penguin, I suppose because she has never seen one so up close before. Here is the video:

And here are the photos!

Pay attention to me, penguin!

Maybe I should shoot photos for National Geographic??

A view looking back at Porvenir so you can see how close to town this penguin actually was.

And proof I was there, trying to take a self portrait with a toddler and a penguin. Not an easy feat.

I have even more photos to share because later the same day ANOTHER king penguin showed up in the parking lot of the fishery (presumably looking for its mate we saw?) and Fernando got a lot of good shots.

Ok so the wind sucks but the penguins are pretty darn cool...

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Just a regular day in Porvenir....

throwing rocks in the water... or is it?

More photos to come of our second "royal visit" soon!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Another Porvenir Road Race

Remember when I WON the women's race last year at the annual road race? Well this year there was a special race sponsored by the government in honor of Chile's bicentennial. It took place the weekend that my dad was here so the three of us (dad, Fernando and I) signed up for the race. The distance was 8k for me and everyone else under 35, but those "oldies" over 35 (i.e. Fernando and my dad) only had to run 4k. Kind of a funny message they're sending, right? Well the competition was much stiffer this year and I came in third in my category but my dad WON the sixty and over category! Woohoo! Ok so there was only one other guy but still, FIRST PLACE IS FIRST PLACE! Not only did he get a medal but also a water bottle, a computer bag and a shirt. Good times! Here are some photos of his triumphant day.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Broccoli Crisis, Grapes Galore

You may remember that when I first moved to Porvenir, I learned that broccoli (among many other produce items) was unavailable. And then I discovered the frozen broccoli and all was well with the world again. These days, even the frozen broccoli is not around (low demand, supply problem? not sure), but the other day at one of the fruit and veggie places I go to, there were grapes. Ok, no big deal. But upon closer inspection these were not Chilean grapes. They were from the United States! That's a big carbon footprint to leave just for some grapes.

So in conclusion, apparently it's not too complicated to get American grapes in Porvenir but broccoli, fresh or frozen, from anywhere, is too much to ask!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

More Bilingual Fun

I have mentioned Olivia's incredible bilingual development before and she continues to amaze me everyday. While I always speak to her in English and Fernando in Spanish, we have never labeled the languages with their names. We just speak them. Then a couple of weeks ago, out of the blue, Olivia said: "Car in Spanish is 'auto.' " What? So I asked her a couple more and she got them all right so now it's a game we play. I finally got it filmed last week and wanted to share. Please ignore the gum chewing (that's a different story related to motivation for a very slow potty training process...!)

Translating Toddler:

In case you can't understand all her words and don't speak Spanish: chair = silla, bread = pan, bed = cama, owl = buho, cow = vaca, couch = sofa, horse = caballo, dog = wow-wow/perro.

Translating Toddler Body Parts:

hair = pelo, eyes = ojos, mouth = boca, nose = nariz, knees = rodillas, hands = manos

So much fun!!!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Viva Chile!

What an incredible story with an amazing outcome. I was glued to the TV all day yesterday watching the rescue, moved to tears every time a miner arrived to the surface. A-M-A-Z-I-N-G

Some great photos are here.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Olivia in Ushuaia

Here is my final post on our trip to Ushuaia. Olivia had a great time. She loves to travel, see new things and socialize with new people. And when you live in Porvenir, just about anywhere you go is a great adventure with lots of new activities. Here are some photos of Olivia enjoying herself on our trip.

At an arcade, riding the horsey:

Swimming in the balls:

On the merry-go-round:

Up and down on the seesaw:

Don't be deceived by this picture. She spent very little time asleep in the car! Thank goodness for portable DVD players.

Friday, October 8, 2010

In case it still isn't clear... windy it is here:

Please note that there was no wind at the time this picture was taken. Please also note that the right side of the tree has not been chopped off.

The wonders of nature and its ability to adapt and evolve! (versus my lack of ability to adapt to the wind...)

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Grandpa's visit

My dad left on Friday after six relaxing days in Porvenir. He got really really lucky with with weather - lots of sunshine and very little wind. (I recently heard a rumor that last year we suffered through effects from "el nino" and that this year spring and summer should be milder from "la nina." Fingers crossed!!!!)
Here are some pictures of his trip.

Walking along the water on a wind-free afternoon:

Fun going down the tunnel slide!

Face painting at a little fair:

Eating ice cream at our usual ice cream spot:

Love that look on her face (and the outfit, that she picked out of course):

Post run (the only day it was cold enough to need tights, hats and gloves):

Saying goodbye at the tiny airport, getting ready to get on the tiny plane:

Olivia had a great time with her grandpa and is looking forward to more grandparent fun in Columbus at Christmas time!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Signs, Signs, Everywhere Signs

Even a road trip in the middle of nowhere at the end of the earth involves passing signs here and there (but no billboards, thank goodness!). Here are a collection of interesting signs we saw when driving to and from Ushuaia.

Beautiful sky on Argentina Route 3, the road that runs through Tierra del Fuego.

And here is the guanaco crossing sign I was wondering about. It does exist, at least on the Argentina side of the island!

Love this sign. WIND!!!

The signs on the Chilean side were less interesting. We always complain about how in Argentina the government has taken an active interest in developing Tierra del Fuego (paved roads, better infrastructure, better tourism) whereas in Chile, this is not the case. This sign perfectly represents the lack of investment in Chilean Tierra del Fuego. "Welcome to Chile" where we just can't be bothered to fix the sign greeting people as they enter our country...

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Ushuaia Continued...

As promised, here are some more photos of our trip to Ushuaia.

Olivia and her papa at the most southern ski resort in the world.

The ski lodge:

A very cute tea house near the ski lodge where we paid an arm and a leg for a bread basket and a coffee but it was oh so worth it. (Remember, no cafes in Porvenir...)

And some very cute meringue penguins at the restaurant where we had dinner:

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Eleven minutes over the Strait

When my dad arrived on Friday, I was waiting for him in the Punta Arenas airport to make the last leg of his loooong journey together. We took the tiny puddle jumper over to Porvenir. It's an eleven minute flight over the Strait. I always get queasy but I managed to get some good photos and my dad had the *privilege* of sitting next to the pilot!

When they say you can be co-pilot, they aren't kidding. There was actually a controller in front of my dad which moved with the pilot's controller movements. So I guess in theory my dad could have seized control of the plane!...??

Looking out at the Strait:

Saying goodbye to the main land:

Notice the angle of the horizon in this picture. This is why I get queasy...

Happy travels!

Grandpa is in town!

Thursday late afternoon my dad started his long journey from Columbus, Ohio to Porvenir, Chile and 24 hours and 20 minutes later, he made it - with stops in Atlanta, Santiago, Puerto Montt and Punta Arenas. What a journey. But oh so worth it to be with his favorite (only!) granddaughter. She was anxiously awaiting his arrival (mostly because he had told her he was bringing presents!). He will spending a relaxing week here with us before making the long trip back.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Ushuaia Road Trip

Blogspot is not cooperating and I cannot upload my photos but here is a sneak preview of our road trip to Ushuaia. Highlights are: yummy food, sunny weather, and greats shopping. Lowlights are: Olivia getting car sick.

Ushuaia from above:

Ushuaia from below, looking up at Mount Olivia!

More to come when blogspot is working!