Monday, August 30, 2010

More Snow

Yesterday we took a little road trip, hoping to complete the "Ruta del Oro" which we have attempted a couple of times and have always had to turn around either because of a uncooperative baby or bad weather. The "Ruta del Oro" is the "gold route" which highlights where the gold rush took place. (There was a small gold rush here in the late 1800's which is how Porvenir came to be, and with such an optimistic name: Porvenir means "the future.") Well we were once again foiled by the weather. Not expecting snow, since there hasn't been any in town for a while, we were surprised to encounter a slippery, snowy, icy road as we headed slightly up into the hills. I have a great video of the WIND and if youtube and my internet connection cooperate, I will upload it soon. In the meantime, the only snowy shot we took after Olivia begged to get out of the car and run in the snow (love those eyes!):

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Here Comes the Wind Again

It's getting to be that time of year again. Windy season is upon us and I can't say I am happy about it. We have already had a few multi-day bouts of wind and they are just going to get longer and closer together as spring comes. The funny thing about winter here is that it's miserable - seven hours of light per day, freezing cold temperatures, wet sloppy snow- BUT with very little wind. So then when the wind comes, you see that you didn't realize how good you had it during the winter because *good* wasn't all that great but now it's even worse! At least in the winter, there is not a full on air assault on any uncovered body parts when you step outside (tuck in that shirt and don't forget your scarf or be ready for a drafty breeze up and down your back!). And while you focus on the freezing darkness that is winter in Porvenir, you begin to take for granted how nice life is without the wind. And then just when the temperature begins to rise (never higher than around 60 Fahrenheit/16 Celsius on the hottest days of summer), BAM! the wind hits you, literally. People all over the world discuss and analyze the weather, how ridiculously hot it is, how much snow we got last winter, etc... and Porvenir is the perfect place to drive yourself crazy obsessing about the weather. So here goes year two in the windy town. Everyone said last year was extra crazy windy for extra long so here's hoping for a short, painless, not too breezy spring... fingers crossed... very tightly...

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

King Crab Season in Full Swing

King crab season is upon us. It runs from about mid July to the end of November. Sometimes it gets extended for two weeks into December if there is a lot of bad weather prohibiting the fishermen from fishing during the regular season. So when I say sometimes, I mean practically every year because there is almost always a lot of bad weather! Here are a few pictures from some of the first catches, no commentary needed, they are pretty cool all by themselves!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Happy Birthday to Olivia!

Yesterday was Olivia's second birthday. She had been looking forward to it all week, asking me every morning if it was her birthday yet. And yesterday it finally was! We had a Hi5 party. For the 99.8% of you who don't know what Hi5 is, it's a kids' show with five characters who sing and dance. We watch it EVERYDAY (sometimes in Spanish, sometimes in English, hey we're 100% bilingual in this household!) so it seemed like a pretty appropriate theme.

A close-up of the Hi5 paraphernalia (purchased last month in the "birthday district" in Santiago):

The birthday girl opening her presents:

All the kids at the party (Olivia had a wardrobe change per her request):

The littlest guest, our handyman's five month old daughter:

Singing happy birthday (chocolate cake made by yours truly, with a "2" written in cherries!):

Family photo, Hi5 hats for all:

It's hard to believe my little baby is two years old and has lived half her life at the end of the earth.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Weather Confusion

Whenever Olivia and I go outside (which is more often than I would like, given the less than ideal climate), it's a long process of putting on layers of clothing, hats, scarves and gloves. When we were in Santiago last month, the weather was quite nice (almost 60 Fahrenheit/16 Celsius!). Poor little Olivia still insisted on going through our getting ready routine and for the first half of the week was the only kid in the park all bundled up:

I finally convinced her piece by piece that it was OK to go outside not bundled up. I wanted her to wear a jacket instead of a coat but that was asking too much. Now that we are back in the inhospitable weather of Porvenir, she doesn't want to wear a hat...

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Nap Time

Sometimes, especially after traveling, when Olivia's sleep schedule is out of whack and I am desperate for her to take a nap, I resort to a trip in the car. The disadvantage here, of course, is that there is no long straight smooth highway to take an uneventful, not bouncy, tranquil trip. The advantage, though, is that sometimes the scenery is pretty awesome! Here is a picture of our last nap time drive: some grazing sheep, a few guanacos and throw in the Strait of Magellan in the background and you have a pretty cool shot!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Walking on Water

On the day of the road rally, Olivia and I spent more time at the water than watching the cars. The tide was so ridiculously low we could walk way out on the bay. It was pretty cool!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Road Rally Madness

Here is a weird tidbit about Porvenir: the people here love car races and loud engines. And here is a weird tidbit about me: people revving their car engines on purpose is one of my top 10, make that top 5, pet peeves of all time. Not a good combination. I heard earlier this week that the annual international car race (rally? derby?) from Porvenir to Rio Grande, Argentina and back was to take place this weekend. Slowly but surely the noise began, each day a little bit more. And then Friday morning the humming crescendoed into a constant buzz much like it must sound inside a bee hive. I thought, "now this is ridiculous!" and finally peeked out the window only to see this:

And then down to the corner of my street to see this:

The pole position qualifying race was starting right outside our house! And not only was the noise bad, traffic was a nightmare with all those race cars zooming around. And it took me twice as long to get to the library, i.e. a whole four minutes instead of two! A few hours later the noise subsided a bit, only to pick up again last night, I guess for pre-race festivities.

So this morning, I put on my best "I love loud revving cars" face and we headed to watch the race. Olivia was happy (and has perfected her "how does a car go?" noise).

I had never seen one of these races before. They blocked off the main road of Porvenir and each car, one by one, started the race, tearing down the street and then screeching around the corner, heading out to the gravel roads. It's a ridiculously dangerous trip, full of pot holes, rocks, mud and guanacos.

Here's a close-up of the starting line, a pretty cool picture actually with the flags and the mountains.

And here is a close-up of that car. Ummm... you are going to drive that thing 150 miles on a gravel road full of pot holes speeding as fast as you can?

A lot of the cars are pretty clunky, especially for such a dangerous trip...

Another clunker:

Last year we were here for the race; it was actually our first weekend after moving to Porvenir, staying at Fernando's parents' house which happens to be right next to the starting line (welcome to Porvenir!). It was raining which is probably why we didn't go out to watch the race. But we were awake starting at 6:00 a.m. when the cars were lining up and REVVING their engines. Someone came to the door at 6:30 a.m. (presumably because the light was on) asking for a potato which he proceeded to slice in half and use to clean the windshield on his race car. Ummm...ok! Here's last year's line-up.

Since we were right by the starting line, very early in the morning, we saw the higher ranked cars which were a little nicer than the lower ranked cars we saw this year (we didn't jump out of bed to watch the first cars at 8:00 a.m. this morning).

And a view of the interior:

Wow! A long post for something I really can't stand! Ok, ok, I admit that I've warmed up to the concept a little bit as today was kind of fun. But... I really really really cannot stand the NOISE!!!!!

Monday, August 9, 2010

The Wedding and the Dress

I am finally posting a picture from my sister in-law's wedding so you can see the glowing bride and groom and my "bought in Porvenir" dress. My SIL's husband is from Sweden and that's where they live. Could Fernando's family be any more international?

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Dia del Niño

Today in Chile (and other places too?) is the "Dia del Niño," a day created to celebrate kids and buy them presents (we have the same thing in the US, it's called Christmas, right?). Yesterday, in honor of this special day, the town of Porvenir hosted a special festival for kids. Olivia, of course, LOVED it. It took place in the municipal gymnasium and consisted of music, dancing, a costume competition, drawing, basketball and all around general chaos.

I was impressed with the number of people at the event. There are A LOT of kids in Porvenir. Anyone concerned with a dwindling population in Tierra del Fuego need not worry. When we first arrived the bleachers in the background of this photo were completely full!

Olivia was more than happy to sit down and draw for awhile.

Some kids were less active...

There was a dance competition up on stage. Olivia had so much fun rocking out (she was down to her white undershirt as this point).

Here's the event winding down, nice view of the gymnasium which was recently remodeled.

We were, per usual, the last to leave because SOMEONE refused to go...

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Hectic Week

It's been a busy week. King crab season is in full swing (photos to come soon). We all have colds and I've been busy working (a rare occurrence these days!).

Fernando took a picture of me working in our home office. There's that view again! The weather is not always great for spending time outside but there's no better view when you have to be inside sitting at a computer!

And here are two random shots of Olivia in the bath that I felt compelled to share.

She'll probably not approve of this photo being on the internet when she is older but just look at that toothy grin!!!!

Monday, August 2, 2010

You can take the girl out of the city...

...but you can't take the city out of the girl. Olivia had a great time in Santiago last week and felt right at home with the big buildings, flashing lights and loud buses. Apparently she takes after her dad and is a city girl even after having spent half her life in little Porvenir. Here are some great pics!

Her first trip on the metro. I took her to my office and enticed her by telling her they have lots of pens and paper she could draw with! On the way back, there were not enough seats and when I sat down with her on my lap she said, "Solita! Solita!" (by myself!).

Hmmm, what magazine should I buy?

Relaxing on a city bench, taking it all in.

More relaxing, love this one!