Punta Arenas, Chile
31.08.2010 34 °F
Punta Arenas, the end of the world as I'd say to people, is face numbing cold and that cold wind bitch slaps you in the face! Walking around town with my snot running down my nose makes me feel like Jim Carey in the movie Dumb and Dumber. I swear my snot is frozen. How the heck do these people live here?! It's a town so remote you can only access it by air or boat. The only road access is a round about highway through Argentina and it's not an easy drive. Google it if y'all don't believe me. My friend Judy and I are staying at Hostal Keoken while in Punta Arenas. We climb these wooden stairs to get to our room and from the top of those stairs you can see the Pacific Ocean. It's a family run place and our room is spacious and the down comforters are f'ing nice in the frigid night.
Punta Arenas is difficult to define as a town. It's industrial in some parts but a sprawling metropolis in others. There's a giant hotel casino spa called Dreams and is right up against the Pacific Ocean and it's weird to see this in such a remote town. A Caesar's Palce in Patagonia...weird.
Then you walk towards the main center of town not too far from this casino and it's more colonial looking.
I have yet to run into American tourists here. I think my friend and I are the only tourists from the states. There are other tourists staying at the hostel with us but they are Chilean. I noticed that the people here are mainly middle class and it's apparent when you sit down at a restaurant or cafe and there are all these sharply dressed Chileans right alongside you paying the same amount of money as what us tourists from America is paying. Makes sense since Chile is experiencing an economic boom right now. Overall, the people here are very nice and hospitable. A stark contrast to the inhospitable land that they live in. The weather here is down right stingy with the sun so when it peeks out it feels nice and you don't feel so stupid for wearing sunglasses like my friend Judy here.
I've been eating at this local joint called Sabores. It's in this unassuming building that looks weather beaten but when you walk up the stairs to the dining area it's got this unpretentious atmosphere with bomb ass local food and the prices are easy on my travel budget. Been here twice already and you can see how happy I am eating here. The seafood is the best I've had...so much so I've already ordered the same dish twice. It's callled Calamares Pilpil. It's Calamari for you Americans and is steamed to perfection in white wine, olive oil, and garlic. I savor every last drop of that piping hot broth in this cold weather. The wine selection here had my head spinning and I cannot decide on what to try. And if you're a wine lover like me and like Justin Timberlake would say you'd jizz your pants.
The town pays homage to Magallen and the indigenous people that have been living here for hundreds of years. There's an easily recognizable maritime feel to some parts of this town. Magellan sailed through here I don't know the fuck when but this dude is an important figure here. There's a statue of both Magellan and the indigenous in the town square Tierra del Fuego. I saw Chilean after Chilean taking pictures next to the foot of the statue of the indigenous man sitting below Magellan. I didn't think much of it and just thought well it's the one part of the statue that you can actually touch. But then I walked into a souvenir store and saw a bunch of key chains made from a replica of that foot so there had to be some story behind that. I asked the store clerk...well my friend Judy the Spanish speaker asked her and she said that when you visit the statue it's customary to kiss the foot in hopes that one day you'll return to visit Punta Arenas. So I went back and kissed the foot of the indigenous man.
Well the sun is setting here in Punta Arenas but from the looks of all the hustle and bustle in the town square the Chileans don't seem to mind it. The kids are out of school and they're everywhere and they all take the Emo look to the extreme. I've got a long day tomorrow as both my friend Judy and I will be trekking Torres del Paine and we are leaving for the park at 6 in the morn yo!