Punta Arenas-Day Two

24 Oct

The feeling of royalty continued during breakfast. Just look at this place.

After a great nights’ rest in my royal bed, I woke up and indulged in the complimentary breakfast of Jose Nogueira.  There was delicious pastries, fruits, cheeses and yogurt.  Not necessary the bowl of Fiber One or Honey Nut Cheerio’s I was looking for, but it was tasty none the less.   It was time to venture out and explore the town. 

Having arrived at the hotel at dusk, I saw the hotel in a new light.  It was even more beautiful in the day light.

Just breathtaking...

 The center of town hosts little stalls with the locals selling their ‘goods.’  Still a little rusty on my spanish, I continued on, but ran into this statue commemorating Megallen’s voyage.  It is said that if you kiss the foot of the Selk’nam indian statue, you will have a safe and calm crossing of the Drake Passage as well as return safely to Punta Arenas.  I was told that rubbing his toe is an acceptable substituion so I did so EVERY time I walked past this area.  I figured if once is great, multiple times can only help.  

The special toe belongs to the lower gentleman on the right side. It was a pretty big toe, too!

As I continued on, I quickly ran into the pier.  It was an small, but busy. 

First real views of my soon to be home for the next few days (the big red and yellow boat on the far right).

I continued along the boardwalk and saw the Dreams Hotel. 

The Dreams is the large, out of place, silver/grey building. Cool at night, but a odd on the pier.

Found some miscellaneous artifacts without any plaques or signs identifying what they where and why they were there.

Old and rusty and very cool looking.

And then there were the dogs.  Stray dogs were everywhere. 

There were something in the sand that I think has now become their 'chewtoy.'

And the birds…

Not sure what type of bird this was, but there were loads of them in the area.

 At this point, it was time to head to AGUNSA to try on and pick up all of my Extreme Cold Weather Gear.  Although here, there is more layers and a great deal more wet gear.  I was issued galoshes, rain pants, and many types of long underwear and socks.  I wasn’t, however, issued BIG RED.  It was a bit sad.  I did get an olive colored wind jacket with the USAP patch.  It reminded me that the weather at Palmer was going to be much more mild in comparision to McMurdo.  
After all the costume changes, I headed over to the Research Vessel Lawrence M. Gould for our initial briefing regarding our upcoming southern cruise. 

She's a big one...

 We talked about what the plan was for the following day and were given our berthing assignments (the proper lingo for where we would be living for the next week and a half).    Being a part of Food Service, I volunteered to check in the Freshies.  I worked with the boat crew as well as the AGUNSA folks to ensure that we received what we ordered and that it was in great condition (keep in mind that this had to last the week on the boat until we reached the station).   This was a perfect opportunity to practice my produce Spanish.  Let’s just say that it was a learning experience for all involved.  I did remember ‘lechuga’ from my high school Spanish class meant lettuce.  It was a good start.
Being inspired to speak food Spanish with the folks delivering the produce, I headed to have a hot tasty beverage and a few mintues to sit and relax.  Along the way, I rubbed the toe of the statue again.  Like I said, it can only h elp. 

Another view of the statue. I really believed this would do the trick.

I met up with a few other folks from the program and we indulged on some warm and delicious hot cocoa and the comings and goings of our day.  
After great company and great treats, we meandered over to another local dive called Lomits.  It’s known for good sandwiches and adult beverages.  Not being too hungry, I enjoyed the socializing.   I did sample some Leche de Plantano, AKA banana milkshake.  Milkshakes are a traditional drink in Chile and I thought it was very tasty.  It was milk, cream, sugar, and bananas.  How could you go wrong with that.  It was good.  Not good like Strawberry Quik, but good and refreshing in a childhood memory way.   After a lengthy discussion, we made our dinner plans and all separated. 
I took a brief tour (and by brief, I mean two minutes) of Bar Shackleton, a special place of the Hotel Nogueira in honor and recognition of Ernest Shackleton.  It was in Punta Arenas that he planned to rescue his trapped men.

I felt a chill just entering this bar.


Dark and empty, but full of history and meaning.

I changed for dinner (not much really, just put on my best pair of jeans) and met up with my friends to dine at El Remezon, a restaurant that is known for their creamy garlic soup and their assortment of wild and exotic game (beaver, hare, rhea, alpaca, llama, guanaco, etc.) and seafood.  There were eight of us dining and just from the walk there, I could tell it was going to be an exciting evening.
We walked into this charming place that looked like someones home.  There was only one other table of two already dining and only about five or six other tables.  We were greeted by this older woman who apparently doesn’t speak much English.  And she showed us to this large round table in one of the back rooms that held the wood burning fireplace and old fashioned record player. 

So cute...

So old-world.

As we began to review the menu (we were given an English as well as a Spanish version), I was blown away.  So many tempting options; beaver carpaccio, real Chilean sea bass, braised hare, squid ink fettucini pasta, etc..  After many deliberations, I decided to go with the sea bass.  I mean after all, I was in Chile.  I know they are slowly becoming endangered, but I had to try it once and then I promise, I won’t do it again. 
Our server (I think was also one of the owners) came to take our order.  As we began butchering the Chilean language and placing our order, we came to find out that even though the restaurant had just opened in the last hour, they were out of almost everything.  Because of the language barrier and the lack of available proteins, the only other folks in the restaurant came to our rescue and helped in translating what options we had.  It was a slightly frustrating converstaion, but we survived.  Since the wine had already been poured, we began to indulge and all frustations were gone. 
We sampled the delectable creamy garlic soup and began great conversation.  It was getting late, we were drinking, and the table talk was all over the place.  There was lots of laughter, lots of jokes, and even a few tears (of joy that is!).  Our dinner was delivered and there were ohh’s and ahh’s.  We all shared our mouth-watering treats until our bellies were full and the wine was gone. 

This was after several bottles of wine and our delicious meals. The smiles got bigger as the evening progressed.

So at this point, you’d think my day was about to end…not so.  I still had some energy so I joined ‘the guys’ at Olijoes, an upscale English pub not far from the restaurant with leather booths and mosiac tabletops.  It was a Monday night and not too many folks filled the pub, but as we sat, more program folks joined us.   The smack talk continued and I did get an insight on life at Palmer; what to expect, what to fear, and everything in between.  It was an enlightening and education experience.  I also got a chance to see some of my new coworkers a bit schnockered… and that’s always fun!

Since we were sleeping on the LMG tonight, we all sauntered back to the ship and tucked ourselves in for the night (or atleast the remainder of the morning since it was about 2am by the time we got back to the pier).

Sleep tight…the next day we were setting sail.


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