19 January 2010

a clubhouse for cibbows


after much scouting and scrambling up and down hills, avoiding cow-pies among the tiny yellow flowers-- manure is ubiquitous, but oddly so, since I've only spotted three cows grazing near the airstrip yesterday and have yet to see more-- on our quest for a decent place to swim, we finally find a clear, deep spot near the Yacht club. the rocky beach is on a small inlet behind the airstrip. it meets all of our requirements: the kelp is not too thick, there are no pink-and-teal oil slicks on the surface, less metal debris in the shallows, and there is a wood-burning stove inside the club-- actually a retired German ship from 1925-- where we can sit and warm up after our swim. the rusty, grey hull of the ship looks a little scary, but it is surrounded by well-worn sailboats, most in transit and occupied by Europeans here to sail the Drake Passage and Cabo de Hornos. I suspect many may have come north because of tsunami warnings, after the earthquake in the Drake earlier this week. there are five boats: some french people, three women and a man; the two Hollanders we met yesterday; and several sun-worn Chilenos. we stoop to cross the threshold. inside, it smells of stale cigars. dusty national ships' flags hang over bad plaid couches and sharpie-signed photographs of travels to el territorio Antartico. the bar is dark.

on our way back to the hostel, it begins to pour, and the unpaved road-- our boots are already white with dust, dog-licked-- swells muddy, marking the terrain with a maze of what look like tiny glacial-sediment lakes.

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