Friday, March 09, 2012

Tierra Firma

We are back on land after our odyssey to the south. The cruise turned out to be much more than a trip to see the glacier. It was the beginning of a new family, Spanish speakers who so warmly welcomed us to their world.

At our table were Maria and her 80-year-old grandmother Marta, to whom she is totally devoted. Maria looks like the protagonist in a Gabriel Garcia Marquez novel, just pure untarnished beauty that needs no makeup to be radiant. She is 30 years old, living at home with her family and working in a bakery making wedding cakes. She is quite proud of her grandfather, who was 3 times the basketball champion of Chile. She loves to play basketball as well, but the men in her family tell her it's a boy's game. Her favorite place in all the world is the farm which has been in her family for generations.

Our other table mates were a somewhat elderly couple from Uruguay, whose Spanish was virtually unintelligible to me. Maria said she understood only half of what they said. They would speak, she would repeat in Spanish I u desktops, and I would translate for David. It was quite an interesting way to have a discussion.

Yesterday we spent much of the afternoon in Chiloe (on land) with the ship doctor and her friend, both 30-year-olds who are actually ophthalmologists. Every cruise has a doctor on board and it's a good chance for an adventurous Young person to get a free trip. Both girls were delightful and entertaining, treating us as their surrogate parents.

We got to know a number of other people from Chile and Argentina, but also from faraway places like the Canary Islands and even Australia. we exchanged email addresses and will certainly keep on touch. They are seeds planted for subsequents travels.

Last night we were treated to the "Captain's feast", a buffet of every specialty of Chilean cuisine possible. There was lobster and locos (abalone) and centolla (crab) and ceviche and salmon and every sort of cake imaginable. The centerpiece was a huge piece of ice from the San Rafael Glacier, lit with a green light. There were flowery speeches and dancing following dinner. It was quite a send-off.

Today we awoke to find our ship docked once again in Puerto Montt. After breakfast we loaded our things into a taxi and took off for the next part of our Chilean adventure. By mid-afternoon we will be in San Pedro, in the far north Atacama Desert. It will be a shock to be so warm after shivering at the glacier.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Puerto Montt, Chile


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