Saturday, February 27, 2010

Update

We are officially stuck here until at least Monday. We had to leave our hotel today because someone else had a reservation so we are now in Puerto Montt. There is no information available from the airlines so I seriously doubt that we will actually get a flight on Monday, my guess is Tuesday at the earliest. Fernando's family in Santiago are all safe and sound. A good friend of mine in Santiago who lives on the 12th floor felt the quake so strong that she could hardly walk to the door to get out. All of her dishes are broken and her bed moved 3 feet away from the wall. I feel so lucky to be here, far away from all of that. Now we just have to get home! In the mean time, we will try to enjoy Puerto Montt which is a bigger city, not as quaint as Puerto Varas but with all the facilities we don't have in Porvenir. Here is my confession: we went to McDonald's and all I have to say is YUM YUM YUM!!!! (There is not even a McDonald's in Punta Arenas. How's that for remote??)


We are ok

We felt the earthquake here in Puerto Varas but there was no damage and we are all safe and sound. We don't know if we'll be able to fly to Punta Arenas tonight since it sounds like Santiago is completely shut down and the airplane is coming from there. Fernando is at the airport right now trying to find out. Keep us and all of Chile in your thoughts and prayers!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Torres del Paine Rocks!

It's been a whirlwind week! We were in Puerto Natales and Torres del Paine National Park from last Saturday through Thursday. Then we drove back to Porvenir to pick up Olivia and left for Puerto Varas yesterday (which meant taking the ferry to Punta Arenas, spending the night, flying to Puerto Montt this morning and then renting a car and driving to Puerto Varas). I obviously haven't had much time to post but I wanted to share a few photos of our AMAZING trip to Torres del Paine. Not only did we totally luck out on the weather (three days of sunshine and no wind!) but we also got to spend time with old friends and meet some new ones too! Since Fernando and I don't have very many pictures of us together lately, we took advantage of being with friends, asking them to take a lot of pics of us. Here is a sample of our great trip.

Hanging out outside of the first lodge we stayed in. The view ain't bad, eh?

Just next to the glacier at Lago Grey.


Making it to the top of the hike to see the towers again. How do we look compared to last time?

More on the matching shirts later and tons more pictures to come when we are back home!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The View Again

Normally when I post pictures of the view from our kitchen, I show the view straight out onto the bay. But I came across this picture the other day which looks a little bit to the right and shows a great view of basically the whole town of Porvenir. It still takes my breath away, especially when the sun is shining, the sky is blue and the clouds are puffy (which normally happens at some point in time everyday, if only briefly!).





Sunday, February 14, 2010

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Heading to Torres del Paine

Fernando and I are leaving today for a 6 day trip with includes a stop in Puerto Natales and then on to Torres del Paine National Park. We have already been once in 2007 but this time we'll be doing more hiking. I am sure we'll have tons of great photos to share when we get back but here are some good shots from our previous trip.

Along the water in Puerto Natales:

Hiking up to the Torres (towers):

And the money shot of the Cuernos (horns):


Our fingers are crossed for weather as nice as we had last time!



Thursday, February 11, 2010

Trash Talk


This Saturday there is a special "Green Day" in Porvenir. The idea is to clean up the trash around the bay. I think this is a GREAT idea. In general, litter is a huge problem in Chile. For example, I have seen on many occasions people unwrap a candy bar and throw the wrapper on the ground. Specifically in Porvenir, it's an even bigger problem because of...... you guessed it: THE WIND!!!! First, you have the mentality that littering is ok. Second, you don't have proper landfills (I don't know the technicalities of a landfill versus a dump but based on the name it seems like landfills fill in to the ground with trash whereas a dump is a place to dump trash which piles up!). And third, you have the wind to help spread that litter and dumped trash around.

WARNING: The following photos may be shocking and not appropriate for the weak of heart. This is Porvenir's town dump:

Yep. That's it folks. It's about half a mile out of town. It really makes you think about where your trash goes, eh? It doesn't just disappear or quietly melt away. I think that most of us don't think much about where the trash actually goes (although I know there are huge recycling pushes in the US now). The city picks it up and you never see it again. Well here in Porvenir, the city also picks it up but you are likely to see it again! Whether you drive past the dump or the wind picks it up and it swirls its way through the air landing at your front door, the trash is never far.
Also, as you may have imagined, there is no recycling here. I think it is something they would like to explore but right now the cost of hauling the recycling across the Strait is too high. (Fernando and I are so trained to recycle cans and bottles that we just cannot bring ourselves to throw them away and they are taking up space in our pantry!)
If the dump photo was not shocking enough, take a look at the coast of the Strait just outside of Porvenir facing Punta Arenas. Much of the trash in Punta Arenas BLOWS across the Strait (as the wind generally goes west to east) and lands here.



It's really awful. I understand that the wind is beyond our control but it seems to me that two actions need to be taken immediately:
1) Teaching people that littering is wrong (a campaign needed country-wide).
2) Investing in proper landfill techniques to keep that trash from blowing away!
I took these photos back in October and I have since been back and it actually looked a little better so I don't know if there has already been some clean up effort but more is definitely needed.
Porvenir, it's time to GO GREEN, big time!






Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The Reaches Of Modern Technology


I thought my American friends would find it interesting to know that it was possible to watch the Super Bowl on Sunday night all the way down here in Porvenir. Although I did not watch the game (I confess that I didn't even know ahead of time who was playing...) I did turn it on part way through and saw some of the half time show. I kind of laughed to myself thinking about how crazy it was to be SO FAR away from the Super Bowl and to be sitting in the comfort of my Porvenir living room watching the game!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Lamb BBQ

As promised, here are some pics of the lamb cook-off. The weather was not very nice (anyone surprised?) and it was hard to eat the lamb standing up but it was fun and definitely worth going to once.

A typical stand (many of the entries were from Argentina):

Un Argentino - typically dressed and drinking mate, a typical Argentinian tea in a special mug:




Olivia and me hanging out. Olivia has a serious look on her face because she takes lamb tasting very seriously!


Despite the worsening weather, more and more people showed up as the day wore on:



The Fam posing by one of the stands:


Olivia enjoying her new toy:
It was fun but as I am not a big fan of lamb and there was nothing else there I probably won't go again next year unless the weather is amazingly great (haha).



Friday, February 5, 2010

Lamb Barbeque Preview


Tomorrow is the largest barbecue in Tierra del Fuego. It's a lamb cook off competition with participants from both sides of the island (Chile and Argentina). This poster hanging around town announces the event. Take a closer look and note that they took the poster from last year and taped over the "Eighth" with "Ninth" and replaced the date. Thumbs up for recycling left over posters. Thumbs down for lack of creativity and innovation!


Stay tuned for photos from tomorrow's festivities!



Thursday, February 4, 2010

Fun On The Ferry


Guess what we did yesterday? Yep, took the ferry to Punta Arenas. Do you feel intimately familiar with what it is like to cross the Strait of Magellan from reading all my posts about it? On the trip there the water was quite calm but on the way back it was a different story. I ended up having to stand outside for the last half hour. The dilemma is always - stay inside feeling nauseous or go outside and freeze. I usually wait until the last possible moment to head outside and this time besides the cold, I had to deal with the added bonus of huge waves crashing over the side and getting me soaking wet. Just as things were clearing up, a boy standing in front of me puked on the floor which was followed by two adults nearby commenting on the contents of the vomit. I tell you all of this so that you understand that what I experienced next was even more rewarding after having suffered so much! The waves disappeared, the sun came out and a group of about 8 dolphins accompanied the ferry into the bay, swimming in line formation, jumping, crossing each other in the air, disappearing under the ferry, reappearing in formation. It was INCREDIBLE! I am pretty sure they were these dolphins (this is not my photo unfortunately!):

Next time I will bring the camera outside with me!