18 January 2010

cultural sweep


in the morning, Jose Miguel drove us to the airport, stopping off at the beach for a photo session at the Strait-- perhaps we'll make El Mercurio again.

waiting for the others to wake, I read in El Pinguino about the 'Patagonia Expedition Challenge', a growing race that combines trekking, bicycling and kayaking through both the Strait of Magellan and El Canal Beagle. despite my (obvious?) ability to relate to the impulse behind extreme individual athleticism in remote, beautiful places, I puzzle over the mental image of sixty triathletes bringing intense competition with them to one of the most remote-yet-populated places on the planet. I'm not even here to compete with the Natural World, though at times, of course, I do feel that I pit myself against the elements in order to see what I'm made of. I'm here to commune with nature, one of the best rewards of just a few years of hard, consistent training. the growing number of tourists to Antarctica; the single travelers we've encountered making their way around the south over months of travel; the cultural creep of American individualism-- I haven't totally made sense of what this means to me yet.

we are juggling logistics of all sorts, without private space-- I'm holding four conversations as I write this. our Beagle swim, thus far, presents myriad challenges.

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