Finally back in London – if anyone could tell me what’s been happening on the Internet in my absence (apart from this), I’d be terribly grateful.
Archive for January, 2003
I’m in Texas. I’ve just had enough time between flights to catch a shuttle to the train station and buy a $2 ticket to downtown Dallas, where I’m deposited not 500 yards from Dealy Plaza and the scene of JFK’s assasination. I wander round the grassy knoll for a few minutes attempting to look suspicious before diving into a restaurant and wolfing down a plate of alligator and sinking a pint of Coors. And now? Back to Blighty. Get the kettle on…
It’s my last night in Santiago, and as I write people are gathering to mark the occasion – many of the folks I’ve met over the last few weeks are showing their faces, and it all looks set to be quite a send-off. We’ve purchased 6 kilos of prime Chilean steak, the bottles of Pisco are cooling in the fridge, and the BBQ pit is being readied. Sadly, however, I’m not there. Confirming my flight details yesterday I noticed that I wasn’t flying home on Saturday as previously thought, but tonight – now, in fact. I’m currently in the departure lounge at Santiago airport awaiting an overnight flight to Dallas while my new friends are digging into a feast fit for.. well, me. Bon bloody Appetit.
Once again I find myself back in Santiago, having just returned from Torres Del Paine National Park in the South of the country. The last couple of nights I treated myself to some unaccustomed luxury, but one again you’ll have to wait to hear the full details. As a teaser, I can tell you that I met the former head of the Chilean boy scout movement, and discovered a new kind of ostrich.
I am now in the South. It is incredible. Details will be forthcoming, but in the meantime you are able to delight in my tales from the North, including details of my first (yes, there?s been another since) encounter with real penguins in the wild.
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Hello again. Anyone worried about my absence these last few days need fear no more. I have returned from the sun-bleached North, and have great tales to tell of otters, sea-lions, dolphins, and yes… penguins. Penguins that like hot weather, penguins I now consider to be amongst my personal friends. Sadly I don?t have time to tell you about it all just now, but watch this space as all will be revealed quite shortly.
Midnight rolls around and finds me standing on a balcony atop a hill in the picturesque town of Vina Del Mar, gazing across the bay at the fireworks display in Valpareiso. The air is warm, I’m surrounded by nice people, and the champagne in my hand has been upgraded with the addition of a dollop of pineapple ice cream (it’s a local tradition). Life is good, but this being Chile, the night has only just begun. The clubs open at 2am, most are best accessed by car, so we get to see the previously hinted at native penchant for drunk driving in full affect – everyone is at it, and it’s absolute mayhem on the roads, a gigantic automotive piss-up. We pick our way through the chaos to arrive safely at our venue of choice, Conference Town, a downtown hotel where an outdoor stage has been erected to accomodate some of Chile’s finest techno DJs. It’s as if someone has organised a low-key dance festival in the grounds of the Swiss Cottage Marriot, but it works, although you’ve got to feel a little sympathy for the normal residents. We leave at 7am, and my first task of 2003 is to change a wheel on the car after we drive into a pothole and puncture a tire.
Still, boob tubes are in fashion here. Top stuff.