The Long Twilight Struggle…

Buenos Noches from Pookaverse. It has just turned 21:35 here in Punto Arenas and it’s time for an update. The post for the Torres del Paines National Park will have to wait. As well as the pictures of ‘that iceberg’. As well as the story of Luis and Pamela and their ‘hidden house’ and a new word in given by Luis which is the Spanish equivalent of “The Dog’s Bollocks”.  That may be your Christmas present this year after we have tried it out in the bars of Santiago. As well as the Christmas scenes we have been collecting for you. More to come. Always more to come.


Pookaverse has just returned from the local cinema after watching ‘The Hobbit – An Unexpected Journey‘. In English. With Spanish subtitles. In a cinema that holds approximately 56 people with about 24 in attendance. Before we get to the film.


At the front of the cinema standing either side of the screen swaddled in the Chilean flag are the two previous projectors used by this cinema before the current projector (unseen) was installed and is was used this evening. One from circa 1940 – the other on the right side of the 40 x 20 screen from the late 1950’s to early 1960’s.


Total Cost? 3500 Chilean Pesos per head. Or £9.07. 3D glasses included in the price. That’s right. Lets run over those numbers once again as it is a little baffling at first glance. £9.07 to see a 3D film. Glasses Included.  Who would have thunk it?


Your 3D glasses are handed out by the usher at the beginning of the film who shows you to your seat. And the glasses themselves resemble virtual-reality goggles. That’s right. None of your faux post-modern Buddy Holly ear-hangers here. All proper.


To take in the first part of another trilogy.  Where the source material is slight but the story is Big. You remember it from school? It is nearly 25 years since Rohan last read it. Characters that only get a a passing mention in the book and associated canon material. Such as Radogast the Brown. Is now a fully fleshed-out character in the film and fully realised by Sylvester McCoy.


In a decision that sometimes works and sometimes doesn’t. As certain other parts of the film do or don’t. That seem to be aimed more specifically towards children. Such as the grueling bonding that occurs between the dwarves and between Bilbo and Thorin.


Martin Freeman is an excellent hobbit but seems to have little to do in this section of the proposed trilogy. Possibly like the character arc in that book read long ago? Playing a second hand to the dwarf ensemble and to the CGI effects. This again is a mixed story. Orc Captain, Trolls and Goblins – Average.


Gollum however – is real. Almost hyper-real. As the film presents in 3D as  hyper-reality.

The difference in CGI quality attributed to the fact that Andy Serkis has yet again invested us, the hoom audience, in Gollum. Even more convincingly.


A process truculently accepted by the leads at WETA digital in the LOTR trilogy. And it is only when you see the results of a CGI animator and a soulless carnival of unconvincing expressions and bombastic caricature.  Probably the best thing about the film is the knowledge that us hooms get to see a new episode of the trilogy each Christmas for the next two years. And that isn’t half bad is it? Ok. Roger Ebert review terminates here. The Houyhnhnm’s care not a Tinker’s cuss. Woe betide a Tinker that Curses a Houyhnhnm. Even though the Magyars take Houyhnhnm’s more seriously than us in transients.


So. Final night in Patagonia.  Tomorrow is back to Santiago and the erstwhile temperatures. Here in Punta Arenas it has been sheets of rain. All day. It has just poured. Not a day to take the excursion to the Magdalena Island Magellanic Penguin Reserve. Fortunately we did that yesterday in brilliant sunshine and biting winds. Pictures included in this blog. Pookaverse hasn’t heard the sound a male Magellanic penguin makes as he stands outside his burrow waiting for his mate/a mate. It is one of the loneliest sounds either hoom has heard.


From Punta Arenas you take the car ferry at a steady 18mph/knots and it takes 2 hours to reach this nature reserve. Then, no running or flash photography permitted for this colony of around 20000 nesting birds. A modest ‘waddle’ by all account as numbers will surge throughout the summer months of January and February.


You cannot cross the roped off border of the path that is about 1.5 m wide and wends a steady 0.5km to the summit of the island and the lighthouse.

All the time. The pairs and their chicks. In their burrows. Watching. Sleeping. Or defending. If you get too close of course. Around them the Herring Gulls and Chilean Skuas. Raising their own young. And in the case of the Skua. Waiting for the penguins to make a mistake. To be careless. Or less than 24/7 diligent. So they can sneak away a chick or two. Or the sealions just offshore can sneak away a parent or two. As nature intends. And we think that human parenting is hard?

Imagine your chicks surrounded by all kinds of specimens wishing to do them harm? I know it may seem that at times. What with the media clowns picketing your consciousness. OK. Mass shootings aside. However. Go tell it to the Magellan Penguins on Magdalena in their long twilight struggle. Or whisper it gently. Just not too closely. The chicks are trying to get some sleep.


Tomorrow Pookaverse flies to Santiago. We have travelled the furthest part. South. All hooms and Houyhnhnms ar now on their way North. And returning ‘home’. It’s a long journey back. 11700km as the crow flies. However. We have some things to do first. Building an earthquake-proof family home in Costa Rica. Seeing the Panama Canal.


Having the Satnav confiscated in Cuba and an attempt to pass through US Customs and Immigration to get back into the USA for the second time in under three months. And for our final flight home. That’s the outline plan. The reality, as we have learnt is always different. We will, of course. As we always do. Let you know what happens…



3 Responses to “The Long Twilight Struggle…”

  1. Thompson Says:

    Love the combination of film criticism and penguin photos! Have a safe flight tomorrow (or is it today now?)

  2. jose Says:

    Aren’t penguins wonderful, I suppose the Skuas have to survive also, hope you didn’t see any penguins being nicked.

  3. Terri and Andrew Says:

    Thanks fr your great update and photos, safe travels
    Love Terri and Andrew xx
    Ps Andrew’s just told me he had a penguin for lunch!!

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