343 Patagonia: 7 lakes to the end of the year at the southern end of the world
Puerto Montt, Chile—Dec 30-31, 2013
Woke up in San Martin ... after drawn out mobilization amidst a complex family system, we eventually left the girls in San Martin & went with my brother & nephew along the seven lakes road towards the border w/ Chile. Don't ask us to name the 7 lakes—they all blended together into 1 wide segmented river ... & there were more than just the 7, other minor lakes & ponds in between. Drank a whole bottle of lake water from one of the aqua-blue middle lakes to supplement our gut microbiome w/ natural Patagonia water ...
Stopped to eat trout in La Angostura, the town hit hardest by the eruption of Puyehue volcano two years ago ... they got some 60 cm of ash. Most of it's been cleaned up, but you can still see it in spots. And down along the lake, the beach is made of pumice, floating along the shore.
The ash got deeper as we got crossed the border into Chile. Something seemed metaphorical about it ... especially in the presence of our brother & nephew ... at one point the topic of our other brother's ashes came up ... & also that scene in Big Lebowski where they dump Donny's ashes. Went again thru all the rigmarole w/ customs & immigration from Argentina back into Chile. Raining off & on. Onward to Fruitillar ... which we think we've been to before (when we were here some 22 years ago) but it's not such a memorable place. And now in Puerto Montt.
New Year's day ... waking up looking out over a bay we don't know the name of but it connects eventually to the Pacific. Slept maybe an hour last night. Got back from dinner (lots of meat of course, tho now we are in the land of Pisco) after 1:30 a.m. & now it's 6:30 a.m. & we need to mobilize soon to go to airport. The problem with this journal is that it's public so there's things we can't say here because they concern more than just us. Much as we don't believe in resolutions, our mind has been thinking about such things ... maybe not resolutions, but arbitrary or not, we think of such days as milestones where you evaluate yourself ... how we've changed in time. And being w/ our brother & nephew has made us think about some things ... because family & friends are also benchmarks by which to—not sure if evaluate is the right word—maybe it's admittedly to judge—yourself. We've seen changes in our brother that makes us wonder how we've changed & also how in time we become more & more set in our ways.
Last night we judged our brother—it matters not what about, but let's just say it's his judging or pre-judging ... is judging about judging worse than just judging? Part of us feels «bad» about judging him ... but on the other hand it makes us wonder if there's things in ourselves that we can't see that only the judgment of others can bring to light ... it's similar to literary book criticism in this regards ... it's easy to suppress your «negative» thoughts (that perhaps come out as judgments), but then what is accomplished or learned? What worthwhile information is revealed?
Elucidating perceived harsh realities can be painful but perhaps necessary. Regardless, it is just not in our nature to bite our tongue. In the case of our brother, we can't even imagine what's it's like to be in his shoes. Having 4 kids changes your ways ... & in a sense you lose your ego & no longer even think of or for yourself, which could be a good thing or bad thing we don't know ... 1 shouldn't judge 1 way or the other. But being that we don't have kids, we've perhaps (that's for you to say) earned the right to be egotistical & make this life all about ourself. But there's a part of our brothers in ourself so if there are things we see in our brothers that run contrary to the grain of our own belief system (egotistical or not) we take it personally & wonder where it comes from (surely it is not genetic).
Unfortunately no one ever seems to point out the perceived flaws in ourself so we never know what people really think of us ... not that we'd care or change our ways either way. The same goes in literary/art criticism—rarely do we receive criticism, negative or not. Lack of criticism lets us stay the course, whether what we are doing is perceived as «bad» or whatever. Not sure what we are trying to say ... perhaps we should keep a separate private journal to speak more freely about such matters ... but if we ever say or imply anything that fundamentally bothers other people we'd hope they'd say something otherwise how are we to ever know?
New Year's Day ... woke up Puerto Montt, to airport, flew 2 hours further south to Punta Arenas ... basically the southern end of the world. Furthest south we've ever been. Desolate & wind-scrubbed landscape, dotted w/ water. When we landed & went to get the car we reserved, found out they wouldn't allow us to take it into Argentina ... thankfully there was another company that did ... tho we have to do some special notarized paperwork that takes a few days to process & have to pick up later along the way.
Went straight off to see penguins ... got totally lost & went too far. Eventually came back & found the road which was only 3 km from the airport ... half an hour or so on dirt road ... pay extortion to some estancia to drive thru their land & then pay again to get into this private «pengüinero» as they call it (on Seno Otway). Worth it in the end to see these strange creatures like no other on this planet ... magellan penguins.
Back to town, checked into our estancia ... like staying in a ranch house ... decorated w/ all sorts of strange kitsch, guns & military regalia (seems the patriarch of the family must've been in the military). They were gearing up for a big family-only party so we set off to find a place to eat & celebrate New Year's. Drove all around Punta Arenas ... everything closed or booked. Eventually found a place & made a rez then went to some casino on the water to have a pisco sour ... 11 floors up looking out. Then our dinner ... multi-course prix-fix, regardless we were fortunate to be eating (others kept coming & being turned away) ... not bad. Ten minutes before midnight the place emptied out & everyone went down to the waterfront ... grabbed a bottle of champagne & donned New Year' swag ... no countdown so not sure when exactly it happened until ships in the harbor started blowing their horns which was pretty cool ... firework display over the water ... fairly low key w/ families & wild dogs just milling about. The coolest thing tho was that it was still twilight ... the sun still circling on the horizon. But pretty cold. One of the best places we've celebrated New Year's.
Back at our hotel the party was still on ... thankfully in some other part of the ranch. Talked them into giving us a bottle of champagne ... but it was shitty sweet cider so we raided their kitchen & found real champagne & beer. Another long & somewhat heated & circular «discussion» until 4 a.m. ... mostly for the benefit of our nephew & uncle who apparently have some issues to hash out & we acted as a sort of catalyst/conduit ... none of us sober, just babbling & probably annoying the hell out of other guests at our hotel ... maybe our New Year's resolution is to stop drinking because it just makes people babble bullshit ... when we went to bed the sun was starting to come up ... sort of slept a few hours but hard to with the sun coming up & now it's time for a shower & breakfast & to push on ...
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