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Tuesday 18th May - Punta Arenas
By Claire
Thursday, 20th May 2004 19:24

I woke up very late and managed to flood the bathroom with the shower, and we missed breakfast, but it was a lot less foggy than yesterday. Still freezing and cloudy, but there was a little bit of horizon visible.

Punta Arenas is grey. Grey skies, pavements, dust, cars and buildings. There's a lot of concrete and very little prettiness. A lot of men in nice uniforms though, which can't be a bad thing. There are roadworks going on everywhere and that adds to the dust and mud everywhere. We found hats, gloves and scarves and were happily warmer. Then we found a restaurant and had a very nice steak and egg breakfast.

The first tour operator we asked for advice drew us a very detailed 12-day itinerary even though we only have ten days before flying back to Santiago. All the others said that we couldn't go and see penguins this time of year (I thought they liked the cold...) and every other tour seemed to go through Puerto Natales, a three-hour bus ride from here. Car hire was expensive and would take a couple of days to organise. We decided to go to Puerto Natales tomorrow and see what sort of things we could see from there. We bought flight tickets to get us to Balmaceda in time to fly back to Santiago, and checked bus times tomorrow. Mikey took me to a chocolate shop and bought me some chocolates.

Then we headed to the beach because I wanted to paddle but it was grey, and the sea was grey and brown, and there were a few to many headless dead things on the sand. It was also getting dark, so we found a supermarket and bought fruit and yoghurt for supper. I bought a weird green and purple bullet-shaped fruit called a pepino (which I thought was the word for cucumber) and we found Cadbury's Dairy Milk! And not at £8 a bar like in the airport!

Back at the hotel I tried both the chocolate and the hand-sized hard fruit thing. The chocolate was disappointing, harder and less sweet than it should be. The wrapper wasn't purple enough either. I'm going to mail Cadbury's about it. The fruit, on the other hand, was very pleasant. The texture of melon, the flavour of something like a cucumber (maybe I was right) or a pear. I'm going to try to find out what it is. I've invented an internet thing which is like google but it's for identifying things. You anser a lot of yes/no questions and eventually it'll either show pictures of stuff or suggest things: George Orwell; a Bernese mountain dog; Kidderminster. I haven't actually invented it yet, though. I figure that'd take quite a long time. I might ask the nice people at google (they could call it who?gle) cos they're the good guys and they let people take their dogs into work with them, apparently. My work let me take my rat in too, when he was going on holiday with Fred and George, is guinea pig friends. By 'let', though, I mean they didn't know...

Anyway, we had a bit of a picnic supper (and more chocolate - can you tell?) and watched rubbish on telly. Asleep by 11.

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