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!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Happy Long Weekend, I mean, Independence Day!

It's time for the "fiestas patrias" (independence day celebrations) and this year it's the bicentennial so it's an extra long weekend - FOUR days. We're skipping out on the patriotic festivities this year to head to the other side of the island, i.e. Argentina - the land of delicious food and cheap groceries and books! We'll be staying in Rio Grande, Ushuaia and Tolhuin, a trip similar to one we made last September. Lots of pictures to come next week.

On a side note, remember that in Chile, it is illegal NOT to fly the flag for independence day. Last year I was enthusiastic about getting the flag out but this year we were not so on the ball. This evening, a man knocked on the door to tell us we better get our flag out because they had announced on the radio that the police were going to start giving out tickets to the non-flag houses. Democracy at its finest!

And on another side note, we continue to have lots of random people knock on our door. In addition to the unsolicited flag advice, this week two men came begging for food, rice specifically (!?). I gave them a package of crackers and two bananas and sent them on their way. I wonder if they'll be back...?

Happy Bicentennial to Chile and happy long weekend to us!!!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Papa's got a new set of wheels

What is this picture? A billboard? No. A poster? No. What could it be and what is it doing in Porvenir?

Are you ready for it?

It's the truck Fernando drives to and from work everyday!

There are tax breaks when importing used cars and trucks here. The plant needed a refrigerated truck. And voila - this truck, imported from Korea to Porvenir, Chile. I do not know what the truck says but my best guess is that it was used for a beef and pork business.

And a close-up of the men watching over us at night:

Always something interesting to share around these parts...

Monday, September 13, 2010

The Other Porvenir

As I mentioned recently, windy season is creeping up on us. Well not really creeping, more attacking, retreating, advancing, attacking, retreating, etc... We have already had a couple of of multi-day wind storms and they are terrible. BUT occasionally, we have days that are beautiful, sunny and peaceful (ok, a little breezy). Yesterday was one of those days. We always discuss on those days what Porvenir would be like without the wind. It would be a completely different, better, enchanting little town. So here are some pictures from the Other Porvenir we had yesterday.

Olivia and her papa hanging out on the "beach." Incidentally, Fernando is talking on skype through his iphone to a friend in Switzerland. The wonders of modern technology!

Two cowboys trotting through town:

Olivia eating ice cream and although it doesn't look like it, those cats were all over her trying to get the ice cream!

And in this picture I just love the look on Olivia's face (and you can see the botched job I did cutting her bangs!):

We also saw quite a few people flying kites. I think it's funny that it is on the least windy days of the year that people can get their kites out!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Radio

Porvenir does not have a newspaper. The only way to keep up with the local news is by listening to the local radio station. It's on the AM dial and can be heard from miles around which is good thing because one of the main "news" items are personal messages for people at the "estancias" (ranches) such as: "Juan Perez, please report back to town next Tuesday, your mother is sick." Fascinating? Yes. Enough to hold your attention? Not really. This, coupled with the folkloric music and ridiculously low and varying sound quality, has kept me from tuning into the radio very often. But I recently realized that we have missed out on a lot of things by not listening to the radio (the circus was here!). So I have tried to make an effort lately to listen more but it hasn't been easy. Every single local merchant has an ad on the radio, read by the broadcaster. And every single local merchant says the same thing in their ads: "XYZ store sends its greetings to everyone in Porvenir, especially at this time, for - insert upcoming event such as road rally or independence day - and reminds you to come shop at XYZ for the best service, best products, best prices, and run by its owners." One ad does always catch my attention though. It's the one for the slaughterhouse. Anyone else out there ever heard an ad for a slaughterhouse? I haven't really learned about any upcoming events not to be missed but wow am I glad to know where to by a box of hearts or tongues should the craving hit me.

So here is the question: do I have it in me to put my finger on the pulse of Porvenir? I'm starting to have my doubts! But if any of you want to help me out, they are online! Think of it as Spanish 101...

More Birthday Fun

Back by popular demand and in honor of the BEST birthday month (that's September in case you didn't know), here are some pictures from a birthday party at "Happy World" that Olivia attended this past Sunday.

Rocking those pants in the inflatable jumpy toy (that is the official name of those things, right?):

With the birthday girl (you may remember her from Olivia's first play date):

Who says you need to actually be able to see the table to play foos ball? Looks like a pretty intense game!

Olivia is a picky eater but a champ when it comes to junk food pig out occasions (on her own birthday she ate mostly potato chips and chocolate covered peanuts, sigh...)

Her first (and hopefully last) taste of cheese doodles, with a fork no less!

Tomorrow is my big day. Olivia is very excited but I think it's because she thinks we'll be going to "Happy World" to celebrate!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

More Americans in Porvenir!

Remember last year (exactly a year ago!)? Well three more Americans are here again this year for a four month stint as English teachers. I have met two of them and they are great. (Thanks, M's mom for reading the blog!) So once again the American population sky rockets, except there's more... Today Olivia and I walked with one of the girls to her school and on the way, a woman stopped us and said with perfect American accented English, "You're speaking English!" To which we replied, "Yes!" As it turns out, this woman is from WISCONSIN and has been living in Porvenir for the past FIVE years. WHAT? How did I not know about her and how is it that no one ever told me? I knew the English teachers were here within 48 hours of their arrival because everyone and their sister told me. How can this be? We exchanged cell phone numbers and I can't wait to talk to her again!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

More Snow Part 2

Here is the video as promised. As we were driving along, there was nothing to indicate how windy it was because the landscape is so desolate (no trees and the grass was snow covered and thus not moving). When we opened the car doors, it was a big WHOOSH of wind. Olivia and I ran around a little bit (she was ridiculously under-dressed but refused to put on more clothes) and Fernando filmed. The first part of the video he has his back to the wind but you can hear as he turns to show the rest of the landscape that the wind is crazy strong. What would life be like here without the wind? I can only imagine... (and dream).

Here's the video!