Saturday Night

Hallo from Pookaverse. A canceled trip from this morning’s 6 oclock start to see the penguins leads to a day walking this conurbation occasionally clinging to the streets. And when on the beach – a thousand needles in the face and neck as the relentless winds that lay siege to this point drive sand along the Strait of Magellan.

In a rare first, Pookaverse shows you the place we are staying - the 100-yr old Tragaluz Bed and Breakfast, Punta Arenas, Chile

A first. Pookaverse shows you the place we are staying – the 100-yr old Tragaluz Bed and Breakfast, Punta Arenas, Chile

It’s that one. Where before the construction of the Panama Canal which began in 1881 and  was completed in 1914 – all the worlds ships passed around Cape Horn to the West Coast of America.

Punta Arenas was used extensively as a coaling station by the steamships transiting between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. It also prospered in wool between about 1890 and 1940, the Magallanes region becoming one of the world’s most important sheep-raising regions. Now Punta Arenas is the gateway to the Antarctic for scientists and tourists and a native population of over 100,000 people.

Alison picks her way amongst the detritus of the beach where the waves of the Strait of Magellan Fall, Ounat Arenas, Chile.

Alison picks her way amongst the detritus of the beach where the waves of the Strait of Magellan Fall, Punta Arenas, Chile.

Pookaverse is deep into Patagonia and only a 72km drive and a 32km walk from Cabo Froward – the southernmost point of the American continental mainland marked by a large cross, Cruz de los Mares, marking the the end of the American continent.

One of the many

One of the many elaborate mausoleums that form a miniature city within the fascinating Municipal Cemetery…as long as you are’nt feeling homesick.

Pookaverse won’t be travelling to this site as the trek itself is quite demanding incorporating timed river crossings and a full days walk

The hooms are just not equipped for it. Nor are fit for it. The Houhynmms are out hunting. For the creatures that are said to inhabit and terrorise the people of Chiloe. On their arhcipelago. A myriad of demons and terrifying apparitions – coming to an apocalypto near you soon – that include:

Invunche: The main guardian of the cave of the brujos. Invunche was born human, but the brujos disfigured as he grew, turning his head 180 degrees, attaching one leg to his spine. He eats human flesh and cat’s milk and is extremely dangerous.

And not forgetting El Trauco: A repugnant forest gnome who can kill with a look and can fell any tree with his small stone hatchet. He is simply irresistible to young virgins, they fall rendered before the birth of this passion, and sometimes giving them a “mysterious” child out of wedlock.

One of the more compressed areas of the Municipal Cemetery...note the 'block of graves' that form the 'new builds' for recent inductees with probably less money to spend on your last 'house' on earth.

One of the more compressed areas of the Municipal Cemetery…note the ‘block of graves’ that form the ‘new builds’ for recent inductees with probably less money to spend on your ‘last house’ on earth’.

And last but by no means least La Voladora : A witch messenger, who vomits her intestines at night to be light enough to fly and deliver messages for the witches. The next morning, she swallows her intestines and resumes her female human form.

The Houhynnms set traps with strange weapons that resemble smooth silver and uncommonly married toys are causing some strange looks in the city.  They are unconcerned. The fact that the people of this remote place hold hard to these beliefs in one hand while ministering Roman Catholicism with the other is fascinating. One of the many winding stories of this part of the world.

Cypress Trees form forlorn and well-armed sentinels guarding the shadows and stones...some long forgotten and left

Cypress Trees form forlorn and well-armed sentinels guarding the shadows and stones…some long forgotten and free from mourning

Another being the Municipal Cemetery in the centre of Punta Arenas that contains some truly stunning memorials and mausoleums with exquisitely sculpted European cypress trees to a wide variety of nationalities. For all the people that landed here seeking a fresh start. A large Croatian contingent in one enclave.

The attractive, and mostly litter free, main street of

The attractive, and mostly litter free, main street of Punta Arenas, Hernando de Magellenes.

Possibly 50% of the population of Punta Arenas are descendants of Croats. A mass marker to the HMS Doterel – a ship that sank by an explosion on board on 26 April 1881 with the loss of 143 lives. 5 “boys” – presumably ships apprentices –  are mentioned amongst the dead. Scottish, Irish, German, Austrian, French.

People from all corners of the earth ended their days here.  As well as the native Chilean population. Family mausoleums well attended with pictures, toys plastic flowers and sentiments. There is nowhere quite like it.

Where the railway once ran out into the Straits of Magellan - now neutered and unworkable

Where the railway once ran out into the Straits of Magellan – now neutered and unworkable .

And it is one of those rare places so far witnessed in Santiago and Punta Arenas where there is no graffiti. Of one kind or another. Either political or trivial. The rubbish here and in Santiago is prolific.

There are public bins provided – mostly near the centre. But as you move into the suburbs – the detritus finds its way into every pocket and pockmark of paved, cracked and unpaved streets.

And then there is the wind. That blew us of course from visiting the Penguins of Magdalene Island. There may be another chance next week.

When we return from Puerto Natales next Monday. There may be penguins before that. As always, Pookaverse will let you know what happens. Shortly before all of that. More Pisco Sours.

And a toast to all those Croats both living through this generation of Chileans or dead in the cemetery. We give you “Živjeli”.  From Pookaverse. It is Saturday night after all. At the edge of the world.

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4 Responses to “Saturday Night”

  1. Terri and Andrew Says:

    Left comment while viewing picture of sea. Should find it if click picture!!

    Andrew and Terri

  2. Anne Says:

    Sorry Terri & Andrew – this isn’t a reply – I just don’t know how this technology mularkie thingie works!!! Can’t work out where I am supposed to put my two-penneth-worth in so always go for the most recent picture area – and you beat me to it this time.

    As usual – sorry to have been so long in contributing. Thank you for the Christmas card – it has arrived safely – my first in fact (hopefully not my last!!!!) A bit discombobulating the latest entries – I work my way backwards and my little brain couldn’t cope with the fact that I left you somewhere in America and now you are in Patagonia (or some such!!) Having gone back – it now all falls in to place (thankfully – thought I’d done a bit of a time-switch thing).

    For some reason I thought the Magellan Straits were up the way – not down the way (so that was a bit confusing too!!) – and I did geography at A level so I should know better. Interesting to hear about the Europeans over there (don’t forget that other book I tried to get you to read – the one about all the Nazi’s that went over before they were Nazi’s to set up their branch of the Aryan race – that book also described it as a lot like Wales).

    Pictures looking good as usual – a bit worried that there don’t seem to be any checked trousers in any of them (but I guess you could be keeping them clean and nicely packed in the suitcase safe for your return?!!) Glad to hear you have found a great drink – are you going to be able to replicate it for us when you get back? (My sloe gin and rhubarb and ginger vodka are looking pretty good at the minute). Also good to hear that your colds might be clearing up – everyone has got something over here – and we are waiting for icy blasts next week (going to get really, really cold apparently).

    Thanks to good old JS (“now then now then”) work has been rather busy recently – extra referrals coming in and all that. Currently at my desk (but don’t tell the tax payer – it is my lunch break) between jobs.

    I think the Hobbit is out here next week – you do realise that I am going to have to go on my own – Rohan being the only sad muppet I know who was brave enough to mention that they would be going to see it. Oh well – I guess I could consider going in fancy dress on my own – no one would know me – I might get away with it. TV has been pretty rubbish as usual – but Strictly is hotting up – four people in the final this year – just waiting for the results of who left this week (on tonight). Old Kate Middleton being pregnant (and that poor nurse who killed herself after taking the hoax phone call) is the main news over here at the moment – that and Starbucks “volunteering” to pay some of the tax they owe as a good will gesture to the public!!

    Training is back on – we were rubbish last week – poor old Trish didn’t know what to do with us – we all had the giggles for some reason and were not able to focus at all!!! We are off to the Woolpack on Wednesday for the Christmas get together – me, Trish, Jan, Hilary and Rachel (see – she’d jump in your grave just as quick!!!). Not heard from Hilary for ages so we are hoping she is OK. I know there were changes coming up at work, amalgamations between the three forces – if she got the job I think it was going to mean a lot of travelling and lots of work – but she was enthused about the possible challenge.

    Cake is part made – bottom tier marzipaned – jewellery threaded – different coloured snowflakes made. Just need to sort out the top two tiers – the icing – the putting together and the finishing touches and I’ll be there!!! Wendover’s lights have been officially turned on (not sure by whom) and the festivities started with some children singing – they were the ones who didn’t make it to the local pantomime – and I think, in the bit that I heard, I can tell why!!!

    Will type before Christmas – otherwise have a good one.

    • pookaverse Says:

      Planning to see ‘The Hobbit’ (English with Spanish subtitles) on Saturday in Punta Arenas. Will buy you a ticket and expect to see you there with your furry feet. Show starts at 19:30 local time.

      If you leave Thursday you can make it.

      Don’t let Rohan down like you did for Star Trek XI – the Reboot. He didn’t put his ears on for a month.

  3. jose Says:

    Another fascinating blog complete with photos.
    second parcel just arrived, take care x

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