18 January 2010

Magallanes again


a happy return to punta arenas and the chiledeportes hostel that was our home for the duration of our 2009 trip; though Claudia is in Santiago, her family hosted us with a wonderful asado-- a lamb roasted on an open spit in the backyard-- which was the best meal I've had in weeks. for the sake of toughness, I feel I need the rush that I get after eating red meat. the election results trickle in with car-horns and blue flags-- Pinera, the owner of LAN Chile, has won the presidency, to the chagrin of our host.

after the sun sets, sort of, the way it does in Punta Arenas-- it starts to dim around half past ten-- we talk politics as far as possible over drinks, then switch back to cold water swimming. by this time my efforts to speak and understand castellano have me completely exhausted. each time I try to bring up the new language, it emerges in a blast of Urdu-- slowly, the smoke of my second vocabulary clears, leaving me room to think back to Latin and French, grasping for nouns, verbs, declensions. but our hosts are wonderful people and warm, and my efforts are met with good humour and patience. we return at midnight and I finally have a great night's sleep, despite the 3.30 sunrise.

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