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Frozen Fingers Travelling from the land of the polar bears to the land of the penguins, in the wake of the Arctic terns.

just hanging around

CHILE | Thursday, 18 December 2008 | Views [631]

We´re just hanging around, waiting for the call to go South. And waiting for my luggage to turn up. It apparently came to Punta Arenas airport 7 hours ago but has yet to make it into town.

Seabird man has been joined by another bird man who also comes with news. Penguin man isn´t coming on our leg of the expedition. This is not good. I was going to work with him and get to see all the penguins close up. Major disappointment. But I´ll try not to let it show. After all, collecting midges from the lake could also be fun. Our expedition leader can't make it back to Chile for the flight to King George Island, and won't go directly to Byers until after Christmas as he´s stuck in central Antarctica on a nunatak! He´s due to travel back to Chile with the British ship 'Endurance' which has broken down.

The arrival of Bird man has brought much hilarity. He has a brilliant sense of humour and is laughing and telling jokes all the time. I can´t understand a word of it, but his laughter is so infectious, I just have to join in. Luckily for me, Seabird man has a better grasp of english, and has been invaluable in translating when I´ve tried to make myself understood (mainly with luggage related issues- not that it made much difference as it turns out).

It is very windy here. It was probably about 10C today but when the gusts come you need a windproof jacket and a hat. And when it gets windstill again and the sun shines its baking. But it was pritty nippy my first evening, about 3C. The weather is changing constantly. Quite confusing. Its so windy in Punta Arena that there are ropes around the plaza to stop people being blown out into the traffic!

Canned music is played at loud volume almost everywhere here (including outside my bedroom door all night). Its most incongruous to hear 'Rudolf the red nosed reindeer' and 'I'm dreaming of a white Christmas' in the middle of a Chilean summer. There are Christmas decorations in the shops and I even saw a beagle dressed up in a Santa costume today. In fact there were 3 beagles on the high street, maybe it's Beagle day. There are a LOT of dogs here. Mostly strays, just wandering around, singly or in packs. When the birdmen and I went out today we were adopted by a dog which followed us around from bank to travel agent to airline office, patiently waiting outstde for us til we came out again. In the airport in Santiago there were load of labradors used to sniff out illegal substances from bags. All the normal ones like drugs, fresh fruit etc and also dried fruit and an impressive array of things I´d´ve never considered transporting in my luggage. Maybe the dogs got my birthday cake and they won't send the bag til the dogs have finished munching it.

Tags: waiting



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